DEAR ABBY: I have worked the last 25 years serving in adult education, helping students complete their high-school equivalency diploma.

Big changes are impending in this very important educational service. Starting in 2014, the cost may go up. Until two years ago, the classes in our community were free. The testing cost $7.50, which paid for a printed diploma. Since then, the cost has gone up - first to $25 and then to $35.

Now the GED program has been bought by a for-profit organization and the costs will go higher than ever. Furthermore, it will no longer be possible to take the test using pencil and paper. It will all be done on computer.

Please encourage the thousands of adults who do not have their high-school degrees to make a life-changing decision for themselves and their families now!

- Joy in a Classroom Down South

DEAR JOY: Readers, the changes Joy has described will go into effect on Jan. 2, 2014. The costs of the tests will be determined by the state in which it is administered. It is currently between $0 and $250, and in 2014 will "marginally increase or decrease" according to which state you live in. Criteria for passing or failing the test will remain the same.

Readers, any of you who are not computer literate should start now. Do not delay. More information can be obtained by visiting

DEAR ABBY: Please settle a family disagreement. A scratch ticket is given to a friend or relative as a gift. If that ticket is a winner, is there an expectation that the winnings should be shared with the person who gave the ticket?

- Jeff in Massachusetts

DEAR JEFF: A gift is a gift. There is no obligation to share. Alexander Pope wrote, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast," but if you are hoping you'll get a cut of the money, don't hold your breath.