Iowa Western Community College
covid-19Iowa Western's plan to reopen facilities, and keeping our students and staff safe.

College information and updates

Continuing Education Adult Basic Education & HiSET FAQ's

What is HiSET?
HiSET stands for High School Equivalency Test(s). HiSET is Iowa’s new high school equivalency testing program. Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Iowa Testing Programs recently created the HiSET program to provide you with an affordable, accessible 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.

Who “gives” the HiSET?
Iowa Western Community College has certified HiSET Examiners who administer the computer-based exams. Adjunct instructors provide instruction in Council Bluffs, Harlan, Atlantic, Clarinda and Shenandoah.

Can I do it all on line?
Persons seeking to meet the Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma requirements should be aware of companies that claim to offer a High School Equivalency program over the internet or through correspondence courses. Although testing for the HiSET is computer-based, the tests can only be accessed at a recognized Iowa Community College testing site where certified HiSET Examiners will administer the test(s). There is an online option for students to study and prepare for the HiSET tests. Reading and math scores must fall within the eligibility range to qualify for this program. Call the Adult Learning Center at 712.325.3266 for further details. 

How do I sign up for the HiSET program?
You register for the HiSET preparation program at the IWCC Adult Learning Center located on the IWCC campus, in Kinney Hall, or at one of the preparation sites listed. You may be required to schedule an appointment to register or asked to come at a specific time. It would be a good idea to call the location you would like to attend classes at and ask about the registration procedure. During registration, you will fill out a few forms and hear about the program’s expectations as well as what opportunities are available to you in your pursuit of furthering your education. There is a $25.00 dollar registration fee due at the time of registration. This fee is good through June 30th. Your registration process will be complete once you have completed the Reading and Math assessments. The following locations provide HiSET instruction:  

  • Council Bluffs, IWCC campus and IowaWorks office (OMNI Centre)
  • Harlan, IWCC Shelby County Center
  • Atlantic, IIWCC Cass County Center
  • Clarinda, Clarinda Campus
  • Shenandoah, IWCC Page/Fremont Center

How long does it take to get the High School Equivalency Diploma?
All students must demonstrate that they are prepared to take and pass the HiSET tests. This is done by taking a variety of assessments and a final Official Practice Test (OPT) for each subject with a targeted score as a goal. The score on this OPT determines whether you are ready to go in and take the real HiSET. It is difficult to predict how much time you will need to prepare for testing because the amount of time each student needs and has available for successful review work, varies considerably. Your success depends on your learning abilities, your study habits, your motivation, and how consistently you attend class.

When and where are the tests offered?
Exams are offered year-round. Days and times at these sites vary. Students will be able to select the location and time that best meets their needs but will need to be enrolled in and working with a program where details on registering and scheduling to test through Educational Testing Services (ETS) will be provided. 

Do I need to bring anything when I test?
You will need the completed Verification Form, provided by the program in which you prepared to test. You will also need a valid, government-issued photo ID (Driver's License, etc.).  

How much does the HiSET cost?
Tests are schedule individually and the cost is $10.75 per test - this includes (2) 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 on how to purchase a voucher for you.  

Once I start the testing process, how long do I have to complete the battery (5 tests)?
One year from the date of your first test (if using the 5-test voucher). Scores will remain valid through December, 2017.   

What is a passing score?
8 out of 20 is the minimum passing score for each individual test but you need a total of 45 points (out of 100) to earn your High School Equivalency Diploma. Your individual test score report also indicates whether or not you have achieved the score required to demonstrate college and career readiness (shows a level of performance similar to the minimum level required to succeed in college-level credit-bearing courses).

Is there a Graduation ceremony?
Our graduation ceremony is usually held in May at the Iowa Western Community College main campus. Everyone who successfully completes the HiSET battery, is invited to attend the ceremony. Friends and family are welcome to attend. If you finish after the ceremony in a given year, you will be invited to attend the following year's ceremony. 

What if I need an official transcript to apply for a job, college or the military?
Students will be able to order a transcript and diploma by going to . An official transcript will be mailed with the high school equivalency diploma the first time a student submits a request. The cost is $15 payable by a debit or credit card.