Army Recruiting High School Dropouts without GED

The Army is now allowing its recruiters to sign up high school dropouts who do not have a GED for the first time in years.

GEDs no longer required (Army Times)

Army recruiters now have a wider pool to find future soldiers in. The Army is reaching out to a slice of America̢۪s youth long ineligible to serve: non-high school graduates who don̢۪t have a General Equivalency Diploma.

When I saw the headline and read that introduction, my heart sank. Thankfully, I kept reading:

Recruiters can now go after that demographic through the “Army Educations Plus†option, the Army announced Tuesday. If an individual has been out of high school for at least six months, can pass a physical exam and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, he or she may be eligible for help getting a GED.

The program allows recruiters to enlist a high school dropout, according to S. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. But the enlistee must have the GED before shipping off to basic training. The Army will pay for individuals to attend a course to prepare for the GED test and will cover the cost of taking the GED exam. Before attending the GED course on the Army̢۪s tab, the person must enlist into the Army̢۪s delayed entry program, Smith said.

The regular Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard are each offering this option, as of Tuesday.

This is actually a smart policy. For a small resource investment, the Army increases its recruiting pool without lowering its standards.

The Army has always been a way for the poor to climb out of a bad situation and make something of themselves. This is a fine continuation of that tradition.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    This isn’t really anything new. The Army did this in the late 80’s when I was enlisting.

  2. Herb says:

    I think the Army is using good judgment with this program. I, as a former School Board in a suburb outside of a major Midwest city can tell you with no uncertainty, that to many kids that are labeled as “dropouts” and actually “push outs”

    Kid get labeled as “slow learners, goof offs, not very bright” and a host of other labels by members of the teaching staff and administrators as well. I have long contended that a lot of teachers just don’t know how to make a subject interesting and that if a teacher has a failing student in their class, it is not the students fault, it is the teachers fault.

    I have a personal young friend who, while in high school, suffered this stigma and almost droped out.

    Now, He is a member of the Air force about to be awarded a “top of the Class” kudos in a very highly technical and highly classified crew member course that is vital to the defense of our country and our troops serving overseas. As a High School student, he was just mediocre and was labeled as “just another country boy without much future.

    It just pleases the hell out of me to see him prove everyone wrong.