CHICAGO (CBS) — A state senator from Chicago wants to help homeless youth get high school equivalency certificates, also known as GEDs, by allowing them to take the exam for free.

Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) has sponsored legislation to allow regional school superintendents to waive the fee for the GED test for young people who are homeless.

“Unfortunately, the way the economy is going, we have more homeless people, and they have kids who are going to go to school, they’re barely making ends meet, and these tests are important for these young men and women,” he said.

Silverstein noted most jobs require at least a high school diploma, and many homeless youth can’t afford to pay for a GED test.

“If they don’t have the resources, I think those fees should be waived,” he said.

The senator said school districts would have to pay for the cost of the exam if the fee is waived. The fee typically ranges from $120 to $150 per student.

“I think that’s not too much to ask,” he said.

The proposal was advanced by the Senate Education Committee on an 11-0 vote, and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.