High School Equivalency Diploma

Welcome to Your Future Adult Education at IWCC

Consider Iowa Western for any type of learning you’re interested in, either for personal interest, career advancement, or certifications, high school diploma, or degrees. Our adult education services include:

  • High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)
  • Distance Education
  • Review of reading, writing, social studies, science and math skills
  • English as a Second Language
  • 21st Century Employment Skills
  • HiSET Testing
  • Career Pathways through our Education 2 Employment program (include link)

Now is the time to commit to your future. If you are interested to completing your high school education, enroll in our HiSET Adult Education Program and complete your High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), which has replaced the GED in over half of the United States.

If you qualify, you may enroll in face-to-face day or evening classes or online classes at our main campus in Council Bluffs or one of our satellite campuses in Atlantic, Harlan, Clarinda, or Shenandoah. (Link to respective pages for each campus??)

Redefine your success with a high school equivalency diploma.

Whether to attain your life-long dream, to achieve your educational goals, to be successful in your career, follow the arrows on right path at IWCC.

HSED Testing

  • Free practice tests are available online and in class
  • HiSET exam testing is only available by appointment. Instructor will assist students in creating an account and advising which test to register for.
  • Students must have instructor approval and qualifying scores on OPT’s to take HiSET final exams. A completed, signed verification form is required for the test examiner.

HSED Schedules

Iowa Western Campus

Kinney Hall

September 6-7, 2023
October 31- November 2, 2023
January 9-11, 2024
March 5-7, 2024
April 30- May 2, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules

Missouri Valley

October 3 and 5, 2023
January 16 and 18, 2024
April 2 and 4, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules

Atlantic campus

October 3 and 5, 2023
January 16 and 18, 2024
April 2 and 4, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules

Clarinda Campus

October 3 and 5, 2023
January 16 and 18, 2024
April 2 and 4, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules

Harlan Campus

October 3 and 5, 2023
January 16 and 18, 2024
April 2 and 4, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules

Shenandoah Campus

October 2 and 4, 2023
January 17, 2024
April 1 and 3, 2024

HSED Orientation Schedules


The HSED is a nationally recognized high school equivalency diploma program available in over thirty states. HSED is awarded by the Iowa Department of Education to those who complete all requirements for completion.
HSED classes provide an opportunity for adults to continue their education. According to the College Board, 95 percent of U.S. colleges and universities accept HSED graduates who meet their other qualifications for admission. Approximately 96 percent of U.S. employers accept the HSED credential as equal to a traditional high school diploma.

Both IWCC and our Education 2 Employment program offer numerous continuing educational opportunities to HSED graduates. In fact, our Education 2 Employment program offers free continuing education to Iowa residents who qualify.
High School Equivalency Test(s) (HiSET) is Iowa’s nationally recognized high school equivalency diploma (HSED) testing program that provides an alternative to other high school equivalency tests. It’s another way for you to get the credentials you need to continue your education or to succeed in the workplace.

HiSET involves a series of five tests (reading, writing, math, science, and social studies). Students must complete 40 hours of instruction, make a measurable skills gain on the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) post-test, earn a qualifying score on each of the five subject areas, and pass the final exam in each of the five subject areas to earn a HSED.
Your success depends on your learning abilities, your study habits, your attendance, and your motivation.

It is difficult to predict exactly how much time you will need to prepare for testing because the amount of time students need for successful review of the five subjects varies considerably.

All students must demonstrate that they are prepared to take and pass each HiSET final exam. This is done by taking a variety of assessment and an Official Practice Test (OPT) for each subject and earning a qualifying score. OPT scores determine whether you are ready for a final exam.

Therefore, students basically determine how long it takes them to complete all requirements for the HSED.
You register for the HiSET preparation program at the IWCC Adult Education Department located on the IWCC campus, in Kinney Hall, or at one of the preparation sites listed below. You must provide your photo identification and social security number to enroll. Participants do not have to be a resident of Iowa to complete their HSED. You may be required to schedule an appointment to register and to attend our program orientation prior to starting classes.

Please call the location where you would like to attend classes and ask about the registration procedure. During registration, you will fill out a few forms and learn program expectations as well as what opportunities are available to you in your pursuit of furthering your education.

The following locations provide HiSET instruction:

· Council Bluffs IWCC Campus

· Atlantic, IWCC Cass County Center

· Clarinda, Clarinda Campus

· Harlan, IWCC Shelby County Center

· Shenandoah, IWCC Page/Fremont Center

There is a $25.00 registration fee due at the time of registration. This fee is good through June 30th of the next year. Your registration process is complete once you have filled out the necessary paper work, provided a valid photo identification, and completed the CASAS entrance assessment in reading and math.
Please contact us regarding options if you are at least 16 years old. You will need official documentation from your high school that states you are no longer enrolled as well as your current official transcript and verification of your high school graduation date. You also need a valid photo ID. Depending on your age, you may need your parent/guardian’s consent. Individuals who are 16 may test if court-ordered to do so. Individuals 17 years of age and older who have not graduated from an accredited high school, received a high school equivalency diploma, and are not currently enrolled in high school are eligible to take the HiSET tests.

Individuals 18 years old and under must have an age waiver signed by their previous high school or school district showing they are not enrolled.
Yes, attendance is mandatory and plays an important part in determining if our program is right for you and if you are right for our program. Your success is our goal. Program orientation provides an in-depth understanding of the HiSET program, class placement based on CASAS pre-test assessment scores in reading and math, program progression, and education and career opportunities after earning the HSED.

Orientation also gives you the opportunity to ask questions, interact with other students, become familiar with the campus and available resources, and meet staff and faculty.
Attending classes offers face-to-face instruction by qualified and motivated instructors who deliver direct instruction, offer immediate feedback and evaluation of homework, and prepare students with practice tests and HiSET test orientation and strategies for success.

Attendance is mandatory in order to provide students with the greatest opportunities for success. Regular attendance also gives students the opportunity to ask questions, schedule additional help, and interact and learn from peers. Attendance is a strong indicator of success in the HSED program and in future education and employment.

Classes at the main IWCC campus meet four days a week for seven weeks and are available during the day or evening. Classes at the four off-site campuses meet two days a week for three hours for ten weeks and are available day or evening.
We do offer an online option for students to accelerate their studies and preparation for the HiSET final exams. CASAS pre-test reading and math scores must fall within the eligibility range to qualify for this program. Online study offers students independent study and rate of progress and flexible study times. Online learning is for students who qualify and who are highly self-directed and self-motivated.

Online learning is not for everyone. We recommend a hybrid combination of online and classroom learning for most students.

Online students are required to spend a minimum of eight hours a week studying through Essential Education, Khan Academy, and/or CANVAS. These learning platforms are free to students. Registration and testing fees still apply.

There is a limited number of seats available for online learning. Failure to spend a minimum of eight hours per week studying may result is deactivation and forfeiture of your seat.

Students must take the CASAS pre- and post-assessments, OPTs, and final exams with a certified Proctor at one of our campuses. Call the Adult Education Department at (712) 325-3266 for more details.
Tests are scheduled individually and the cost is $10.75 per test, which includes two free retests for each subject. You will need to pay with a debit or credit card. If an outside agency is paying for your test fee, they can purchase a testing voucher from the IWCC Bookstore for the price of $55.25. You will need to provide your agency contact name and phone/email so directions can be sent about how to purchase a voucher(s) for you.

Free test vouchers are available for students who qualify. Potentially, our program fees may only include our yearly registration fee of $25.00.
Yes, we are in compliance with access provisions of state and federal civil rights legislation for people with disabilities as defined by the ADA. Reasonable accommodations are available for individuals with current valid documentation. Accommodations may also be requested through CASAS and HiSET. Please allow approximately six weeks for approval if your qualify.
Exams are offered year-round and during interim weeks when classes aren’t in session. Days and times vary by location. Enrolled students may select the location and time that best meets their needs. Students with qualifying scores on their Official Practice Exams (OPTs) and certified instructor permission on verification forms pay for and schedule final exams online through the Educational Testing Services (ETS).

Iowa Western Community College has certified HiSET Proctors who administer the computer-based final exams.
You will need the completed Verification Form (signed by your instructor) that is provided by the program and documents the qualifying score in subject in which you prepared to test.

You will also need a valid, government-issued photo ID (Driver’s License, etc.). Calculators and scratch paper will be provided.
You must earn 8 out of 20 points for the minimum passing score for each individual final exam, but you need a total of 45 points (out of 100) to earn your High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). Your individual test score report also indicates whether or not you have achieved the score required to demonstrate college and career readiness.
You have one year from the date of your first test (if using the 5-test voucher). Final exam scores expire five years from the date of the first final exam if the test battery is not completed.
Our graduation ceremony is held in May at the Iowa Western Community College main campus. Our ceremony is complete with caps and gown and “Pomp and Circumstance.” Students who successfully complete the HiSET battery are invited to attend the ceremony and walk across the stage. Friends and family are also welcome to attend.

If you finish your HSED after the ceremony in a given year, you will be invited to attend the following year’s ceremony.
Diplomas and transcripts can be ordered through diplomasender.com. The first request for documents is free of charge, and subsequent requests for documents cost $15 and are payable by debit or credit card. Students who successfully complete the five final exam battery prior to turning 18 years old will be awarded their diploma in the year of their graduating class