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10 Famous people who have a ged or Hiset diploma

Updated: May 16, 2018

adult students graduating with their GED / HiSet diploma
Graduating with their GED / HiSet diploma

It's never too late to get your high school diploma. MCAS offers free preparation courses for your HiSet (similar to the GED).

“Few of our failures are fatal,” Tim Harford writes in his new book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure. "Success comes through rapidly fixing our mistakes rather than getting things right the first time." Below is a list of famous and successful people who didn't graduate the "old fashioned way" but rather with a GED / HiSet.

Jim Carrey

Age Dropped Out: 16

Reason: The comedic actor was not only a class clown but a straight-A student as well. But times were tough for the young Canadian, who was forced to drop out to find a job to help support his family. He worked as a security guard and janitor before deciding to try his hand at comedy.

Christian Slater

Christian earned his GED credential to set a good example for his two young children. He took a class (with much younger students) to prepare for the battery of tests. Below, he discussed earning his GED diploma with Ellen DeGeneres. He breaches the topic at 1:48 minutes into the video.


Eminem attended Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan, where he failed the ninth grade three times and eventually dropped out at the age of 17. Despite being a poor student, Eminem always had a deep affinity for language, devouring comic books and even studying the dictionary. “I found that no matter how bad I was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at some times, I always was good at English … I just felt like I want to be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull ’em out.”

Nicholas Cage

Left high school early but made earning his GED a priority before he pursued a career in acting.

D.L. Hughley

D.L. Hughley grew up in South Central Los Angeles and had a rough upbringing, getting kicked out of high school and becoming a member of the notorious Bloods gang. After his cousin was shot, D.L. Hughley turned his life around, got a GED and a job and, after prompting by his wife, LaDonna, tried his hand at stand-up comedy.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton’s bio includes this sentence: Her childhood was spent in palatial dwellings in the priciest neighborhoods on both coasts and featured a brief flirtation with the educational system, including high schooling at the ultra-exclusive Dwight School, from which she dropped out and ultimately earned her high school GED.

50 Cent

50 Cent dropped out as a sophomore in high school after he was expelled for drug possession. He earned a GED while at boot camp.

Charlie Sheen

Year Dropped Out: 12th Grade

Reason: Just a few weeks short of graduation, Sheen was expelled from Santa Monica High School for never coming to class and having incredibly poor grades. Had he made it, Sheen’s coaches say he could have gone on to play baseball in college, but it looks like he’ll just have to stick with portraying athletes in movies like “Major League".

Jay Z and Beyonce

Jay Z and his wife Beyonce topped the Forbes list of highest earning couples recently. The Knowles-Carter family has a reported combined net worth of over $600 million.

Jay Z has successfully transitioned from being just a rapper to a bonafide business mogul. He signed a 10-year, $150-million Live Nation deal in 2008, and his “Watch the Throne” world tour brought in $1.4 million per night in the U.S., while Beyonce’s ” The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour” grossed an average $2 million per night, according to Forbes.

Then there are their other interests. Jay Z briefly owned a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets but dumped his share because he started his sports agency: Roc Nation Sports, which represents star athletes like Kevin Durant and Victor Cruz. Beyonce has several fragrance collections and a clothing line, House of Dereon. The couple also manages a handful of lucrative endorsement deals for major companies including L’Oreal, Dell, and Budweiser.

Jay Z attended several schools in Brooklyn and reportedly last attended Trenton Central High School in Trenton, N. J., where he did not graduate. Reports vary on whether Beyonce obtained a high school diploma. Some claim she received a diploma via homeschooling while working with the successful girl group Destiny’s Child.

Two years ago, rumors swirled that Beyonce was getting a GED when she was photographed entering an Alternative Education Complex in New York. Neither has attended college.


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