Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Adults will be able to get online high school degrees _ paid for with scholarships _ through a new program being launched by the New Jersey State Library.

A look at the program:


Nearly one in eight adults 25 or older in New Jersey does not have a high school degree, according to the U.S. Census.

Some studies have shown that those who have high school degrees make more money than those who earn General Educational Development, or GED, certificates.

And for adults, it usually costs to get either kind of degree.


The New Jersey State Library is using grants from the state government and the Clinton Global Initiative to offer online degrees through six libraries that won competitive grants of their own: Camden, Elizabeth, Long Branch, Scotch Plains, Somerset County and Trenton.

Students are to be screened before they are allowed in. After they enroll at libraries, they will be allowed to do online coursework anywhere.

Because of the grants, the program will be free to them, but only 125 students will be part of the initial program.

The students will have up to 18 months to complete their courses, though they’re expected to take an average of about eight months. How long it takes depends partly on how many high school credits the students earned previously. As part of the program, the students will also earn certifications in a career area. Options include child care and transportation.


The program is being offered by Gale, a Farmington Hills, Michigan-based brand of Cengage Learning.

The company offers the high-school completion program through other libraries, including the Los Angeles Public Library and through employers, including Taco Bell.


Peggy Cadigan, the deputy state librarian overseeing the program, said the services reflect the changing nature of libraries in connecting communities with the services and information they need.

“This is changing lives,” she said. “That’s what libraries are for.”

The library hopes to offer the online degrees to more adults eventually.