Thanks to a partnership between Pima County and Pima Community College, adults can now take GED practice tests and exams for free with vouchers.

And it’s easy to sign up.

There is no application. There is no referral. You dont even need an appointment,” said Monserrat Caballero with PCC student and community engagement.

“You walk into any of our testing centers and say, ‘I want to take a practice GED test’ or ‘I think I’m ready for my test’ and we are here for you.

For 60-year-old student Arnold Montiel Jr. who wrote an essay for a different program to cover the costs of his tests vouchers were game-changing.

It came at a very wonderful time. It was during COVID. I had been furloughed at my job,” Montiel said, who received his GED last month. “And the tests are stressful enough, and then having to worry about financing them. If thats taken off the table, its a great deal.

He dropped out of school at 15 to help his mom care for his younger siblings.

But after a back surgery, he worried he couldnt work if he didn’t have a GED. Thats when he found Pima Community College.

Montiel is now the Senate Chair for his school and is pursuing a degree in social services.

14% of Pima County adults dont have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency, and this voucher program is one way to make continued education more accessible.

Caballero said a PCC representative will sit by a prospective student through the entire registration process and provide a folder filled with other resources including study groups, low-cost WiFi among others.

Montiel said although compliments don’t come easily in his family, he’s made his son and three grandchildren proud.

I do this so they can see that it can be done. And that they will have opportunities like I did, even if I did it late in my age,” he said.

The school is hosting another registration fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the PCC Downtown campus to help people sign up for classes starting in January. The deadline for those is Tuesday, Dec. 19.