Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announce that General Educational Development, or GED, testing is now available at no cost to eligible Minnesotans through July 2016.

An $100,000 in additional funding from the federal Workforce Investment Act makes the GED test free through July. Each year Minnesota provides $125,000 through the Minnesota Department of Education to partially reduce the cost of the GED test for some Minnesotans. The average fee for a GED test is $120. The Minnesota Department of Education estimates that as many as 2,000 Minnesotans could benefit from this free test. In 2015, more than 3,600 Minnesotans took the GED.

Research shows that having a high school diploma, or GED, increases the earning power of individuals by 37.5 percent, which is nearly a $10,000 per year median wage increase.

The governor and lieutenant governor's 2016 Supplemental Budget proposal would invest another $120,000 to keep the test free for test takers in the year 2017. But for now, the GED test will be free at least through July 2016.