High School Equivalency (HSE/GED)
Elgin Community College is a community partner and offers high school equivalency (HSE/GED®) preparatory classes, ESL classes and transition services for community members. Many of our students also take advantage of ECC’s workforce development services.
ABE & ASE Class Offerings
- Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes: Instruction in reading, math, writing and computers and focus on improving basic skills.
- Adult Secondary Education (ASE) classes: Cover secondary level skills in the same areas, as well as science and social studies, including the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions.
Before you can get started with classes to complete high school equivalency (HSE) in Illinois, you’ll take the HiSET® high school equivalency placement test; an assessment of academic skills, to help determine appropriate placement and success in classes. The HiSET® test is paper-based and administered on most Mondays at Elgin Community College. Learn more about the HiSET® HSE placement test
All ABE/ASE classes are free of charge. Students attending ECC on certain types of visas are not permitted to enroll in the free adult education program. You cannot be currently enrolled in high school to ABE classes.
Sign-up for classes using our online form and we will contact you to complete the process.
HSE stands for high school equivalency.
GED® stands for General Educational Development.
Illinois has now approved two exams in addition to the GED® exam. The two new exams are called TASC™ and HiSET®. These three exams are approved for high school equivalency in Illinois.
We offer HSE (GED) preparatory classes, ESL classes and transition services. Many of our students also take advantage of ECC’s workforce development services.
ABE stands for Adult Basic Education and ASE stands for Adult Secondary Education. We offer both ABE and ASE classes to help prepare students for the HSE exam.
ABE classes include instruction in reading, math, writing and computers and focus on improving basic skills. ASE classes are more advanced and cover secondary level skills in the same areas, as well as science and social studies, including the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions.
ARW stands for Adult Reading and Writing and AMT stands for Adult Math. We offer ARW and AMT classes to help students prepare for the HSE exam.
Many factors affect the amount of time it takes to prepare for the HSE exam. It depends on the individual student’s skills, motivation and available time for classes and studying.
Sign-up for classes using our online form and we will contact you to complete the process. If you are 16 or 17, you will need a letter of separation from your high school. If you receive public assistance, bring your DHS medical card or your LINK card. You cannot be currently enrolled in high school to attend adult education classes. Students will take a placement test that could take up to five hours, depending on your wait time and testing time. Students will also attend a mandatory orientation at a later date, which will last up to two hours.
At the orientation meeting, you will learn more about our program and how to register for classes.
HSE preparatory classes follow traditional school semesters with classes starting in the fall, spring and summer, but you can begin the enrollment process at any point throughout the year.
All of our HSE preparatory classes are offered free of charge.
All classes will be delivered online during the fall 2020 semester. Classes range from 12 to 16 weeks long and are offered in the mornings and evenings.
ECC offers a variety of HSE preparatory classes, including reading/writing, math and computers. Science and social studies, including Constitution material, are integrated into the highest level reading/writing classes. Staff will recommend classes for you based on your placement tests and your progress with the material. You may not have to take all of the classes offered.
ECC offers an online HSE preparatory course for those who qualify based on reading and math placement test scores. This class is only offered at the highest level for more advanced students.
Yes, we offer HSE preparatory classes in Spanish.
Regular attendance is required and very important to your success with the HSE exam. Please be aware of each instructor’s attendance policy and be sure to communicate with your instructor if you are not able to attend class.
You are not required to take HSE preparatory classes in order to take the HSE exam in Illinois, but many students feel more confident after studying in our classes.
HSE preparatory classes are a great way to study for the HSE exam and for college. Our classes are designed to prepare you for all three HSE exam options. By completing an HSE preparatory class at ECC and passing the HSE exam, in-district students will receive a tuition waiver for a three-credit-hour class to continue their studies at ECC. This waiver must be used within one year. The college holds a graduation ceremony each May for our HSE graduates, during which up to three, two-year, merit-based scholarships (tuition only) will be awarded. Each scholarship provides up to $1,000 for four consecutive semesters, not including summer, beginning the fall after graduation. To show you have passed the HSE exam, please bring your official transcript to the front desk in Building K.
This is no longer true. To test in Illinois you must be at least 17 years old and a resident of Illinois for at least 30 days. Additionally, you cannot be currently attending high school, a high school graduate or have previously passed the HSE exam.
High school credits do not count towards the HSE exam, but the knowledge you gained will. You will have to pass all the test subjects and the Constitution test to pass the HSE exam. ECC does not require high school transcripts from students to take HSE preparatory classes.
HSE exams can be taken in English or Spanish. Be sure to specify your preference when registering.
The subjects covered on the HSE exam are language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The Constitution test is an additional requirement in Illinois.
If you passed the Constitution test in an Illinois high school or another institution (other than a junior high), you most likely will not have to take it again. You will need to obtain a letter or transcript from your high school or other site showing that you passed the Constitution test. You will need to take that document to the Regional Office of Education (ROE) in your county. If you passed the Constitution test in junior high or in another state, it will not count towards the requirement for Illinois.
Deliver proof of passing the Constitution test and pay applicable fees to the Regional Office of Education in your county. After completing these steps, you will receive your official HSE certificate and transcript from the Regional Office of Education.
ECC holds an HSE graduation ceremony every May. You will be invited to attend if you complete an HSE preparatory class at ECC and bring in a copy of your official HSE transcript to the front desk in Building K.
Usually yes, if you are academically ready, but this depends on the specific college courses considered. Please contact the ABEC Transitions Coordinator for further information at 847-214-6928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elgin Community College
Illinois Community College Board
James R. Thompson Center
ATTN: Cook County High School Equivalency
100 W. Randolph Street, Suite 2-010
Chicago, IL 60601
Regional Office of Education #16
2500 North Annie Glidden Road, Suite C
DeKalb, IL 60115
Regional Office of Education #19
421 North County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Regional Office of Education #31
28 North First Street
Geneva, IL 60134
Regional Office of Education #44
2200 North Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL 60098
Approximately $612,638 (36%) of the Illinois Adult Education and Literacy Program cost at Elgin Community College is federally funded under Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.