Adults can earn their degree this summer.

The Aiken County School District’s adult education department is offering summer programs available to participants at no cost, said the department’s director, Pat Keating.

The department will offer classes that can lead to diplomas and GED certificates. Instruction for English as a second language, also known as ESOL, is also available.

“This is the first year of continuing services and assessments for the GED that will be free,” Keating said. “The test before would have cost $150.”

The Byrd Learning Center in Graniteville at 1 Willis Circle will offer two sessions on June 16-26 and July 7-17.

The location will offer GED/WorkKeys and the High School Assessment Program, also known as HSAP. WorkKeys is a skills assessment program.

Our Lady of the Valley at 2429 Augusta Road, Gloverville, is providing GED and WorkKeys classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those programs will continue through the third week of August.

ESOL classes are available at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 104 Newberry Street. That program is offered Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is currently underway and will continue through July 3.

Although the majority of participants are Spanish speakers, the ESOL program has attracted those who have another first language.

For more information, call the adult education program at 803-641-2476.

The office is closed on today, but will be available on Monday.

The high school diploma classes are for those with different needs, Keating said.

Those who are one or two credits short of graduation can earn them this summer to meet the 24-credit requirement.

Since 1990, the HSAP battery of tests have been a graduation requirement, even for those who have completed the 24-credit requirement. The S.C. General Assembly ended that prerequisite this year to take effect in 2015.

However, students who did not graduate this month because of HSAP may prepare for the tests and take them this summer.

They also have the option of petitioning for a diploma prior to December 2015.

Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.