Finley Foundation Gifts $100,000 to Empire College Foundation

Finley Foundation Gifts $100,000 to Empire College Foundation

General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

Good news for those thinking about studying for their General Equivalency Diploma! The Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation recently gifted $100,000 to the Empire College Foundation for the furtherance of the College’s free General Education Diploma (GED) preparation program for the public. The program was initially funded by a $250,000 donation to the Empire College Foundation from the estate of former Empire College board member, businessman, and civic leader Evert Person. The new grant from the Finley Foundation is estimated to perpetuate the program through 2021.

“We felt it important to use the original bequest in a fashion that would benefit the community and provide grants to students, thus creating a legacy that is in alignment with Evert’s, and his wife Norma ‘s, wishes,” says Empire College president Roy Hurd.

Training and materials, along with the cost of the four-part GED exam, are all provided at no cost for those whose current educational equivalency is at the eleventh or twelfth grade level. Classes are held at the Empire College campus Monday through Thursday, with a choice of morning and afternoon sessions.

Since the program’s inception in 2012, 171 individuals have attained their GEDs. With 17 to 25 percent of high school students in Sonoma County not completing high school during the past 6 years, along with higher unemployment rates and lower earnings for this group, the need for preparation programs for the GED is increasing. To further exacerbate the problem, effective July 1, 2012, the U.S. government cut off access to federal grants and loans to those without their GED, whether or not the applicants are able to pass college-level entrance exams.

"We thought it was important to help fill this educational gap for students who are seeking a smaller school environment with access to personalized attention,” says Hurd. “Taking the step to attain a GED when your previous educational experience or home life may not have been conducive to a positive outcome is huge,” says Hurd. “Because of this, as further support to those who are successful in taking on this personal challenge, Empire College offers educational opportunity grants ranging from $1,000-$2,000 toward one of our programs.”