High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)

Iowa Lakes Community College offers free HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) classes to assist students in completing the five HiSET discipline areas in both English and Spanish. The discipline areas include Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. The HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) offers students the same High School Equivalency Diploma from Iowa as GED® has in the past. 

Iowa Lakes offers the following instructional options: 

HSED Online

HSED online is beneficial for students who have transportation, work schedule, family, or health issues that prevent them from attending face-to-face classes. HSED online is designed to allow AEL Instructors to communicate and monitor progress towards completion in an online format for all five exam discipline areas. Students must complete all required coursework to stay enrolled. Students should note that all assessments, tests, and exams must be completed on either the Emmetsburg or Estherville Campus of Iowa Lakes Community College. Students interested in HSED Online should work with an AEL Instructor to determine if this is their best option for completion.  

HSE Hybrid

HSE Hybrid is an 8-week program held on at one of the campuses of Iowa Lakes Community College with a blended format of face-to-face and online delivery methods. Students will receive instruction in all five discipline areas. Please note that class locations, times, and availability may vary by campus location. Students should work with an AEL Instructor for our most recent schedule of classes.  

Spanish HSE

The Spanish HSE is a high school completion option for fluent Spanish speaking students. Students will receive instruction, in Spanish, in all five discipline areas. This class is held face-to-face on the Estherville Campus, and attendance is mandatory.  

High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) Qualifications & Requirements
  • High School Equivalency classes are for adults 16 years of age or older.
    (Please note that while a 16-year-old may attend classes to prepare for the HiSET exam, access to the actual exam is only available to adults 17 years of age or older.)
  • Provide proof of High School Withdrawal
    Potential students of high school age will be required to show proof of high school withdrawal. Students attending the HSED classes at Iowa Lakes may not be enrolled in High School and the HSED Program simultaneously.
  • Complete the Request for Admission to Test & Age Waiver Form
  • Attend an HSED Orientation
  • Complete an Application
  • Complete a Reading and Math(CASAS)Pre-Assessment
  • Select an Instructional Option
  • Attend and Complete Required Classes and Exams
Additional Information
  •  Practice scores on Official Practice tests are required before registering for any Official HiSet Exam.
  •    Students may not complete the HSED course requirements in less than one month.
  • The AEL Program does not guarantee students will complete HSED requirements within any specific timeframe.
    • Students must register and schedule their HiSET exams through  opens in a new windowwww.hiset.ets.org. Students can pay for one test at a time.
    • After completing HiSET requirements, graduates must request their High School Equivalency Diploma and Transcript by visiting  opens in a new windowwww.diplomasender.com.
    • Every AEL Student who completes the HSED Program is eligible to receive a $500 scholarship to continue their education at Iowa Lakes Community College. Students must complete a scholarship application by the required date to receive the HSED scholarship.
    • A graduation ceremony held each spring recognizes those who complete the HiSET exam during the program year.
    •  In January 2018, the Iowa State Board of Education adopted an administrative rule change establishing alternative pathways for an Iowa to earn a high school equivalency diploma. Please check with AEL staff to determine your best option.
    • Beware that there are sites that claim to offer GED or HSED completion, and these sites are not valid. In the state of Iowa, students can only obtain your HSED from an official AEL program.
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Contact an HSED Instructor near you! 
Diane Jackson
Adult Education and Literacy Instructor
712-580-8641 Ext: 8641 | djackson@iowalakes.educreate new email
Spencer Campus
Dennis McDonald
Success Center Instructional Assistant
712-336-6564 Ext: 6564 | dmcdonald@iowalakes.educreate new email
Spirit Lake Campus
Nancy Ramos
Adult Education and Literacy Instructor / Career Pathway Navigator, Emmet County
712-362-7965 Ext: 7965 | nramos@iowalakes.educreate new email
Estherville Campus
Dr. Laurie Schmidt
Professor, Success/Advising Center
712-852-5275 Ext: 5275 | lschmidt@iowalakes.educreate new email
Emmetsburg Campus
Jeanette Walker
Success Center Instructional Assistant
712-295-8521 Ext: 8521 | jwalker@iowalakes.educreate new email
Algona Campus