Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) has received two grants to pay for the new High School Equivalency Test or HiSET that replaced the former GED tests.

The Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant Advisory Committee and the Prairie Meadows Board of Directors have approved a $17,500 grant for DMACC’s High School Equivalency Testing Project. In addition, ACT has awarded $5,000 to the college to assist with HiSET at the DMACC Center for Career and Professional Development at Southridge.

Starting this past January, the state of Iowa, along with several other states, began using HiSET in place of the GED test. It is similar to the GED with reading, social studies, science, writing skills and math tests.

"These grants remove the financial barrier that may have prevented some students from taking the new high school equivalency tests," said DMACC Program Development Executive Director Rick Carpenter.

In January, 17-year old Drake Stewart of Polk City became the first person in the state to take the new HiSET. Stewart took the writing exam at the DMACC Ankeny Campus. It was one of the five tests that need to be successfully completed to receive the high school equivalency degree.

Carpenter said more than 30,000 students have received their high school equivalency from DMACC over the past 30 years.