Savvy parents and students know that there are more ways to tackle college costs than a bevy of scholarships and Grandma’s birthday checks. The even savvier student knows how to save money and earn college credit before he/she ever applies to college. Wait! What???
Credit by exam
It’s true. Colleges across the nation recognize that today’s student ─especially the home schooled student─ acquires knowledge and accomplishments in a variety of ways including; general academic instructions, significant independent study, volunteer work, community clubs and leagues, and extracurricular work. Many communities offer sports, music, and visual arts programs by which students can gain experience doing what they love and get college credit for doing it. The College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, allows students to receive college credit at a fraction of the normal on-campus cost. By taking (and of course, passing) a CLEP test, students can minimize the time it takes to graduate and seriously reduce their college costs.
What Do CLEP exams cover?
CLEP offers 33 exams in five subject areas, covering material taught in courses that you may generally take in your first two years of college. By passing a CLEP exam, you can earn 3 to 12 college credits. Exams cost $80 (some colleges, e.g., Texas A & M, add additional charges). Consider this:
- An average college course costs $700. A CLEP exam costs $80. You do the math.
- CLEP can lower the burden of college loans by eliminating the cost for one or more courses.
- A satisfactory score on any of the 33 CLEP exams can earn a student up to 12 college credits.
- Students can skip general introductory courses and move on to more advanced classes, or explore new and challenging academic areas.
Do your homework.
Currently, 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP. There are 1,800 test centers across the nation. Each institution sets its own CLEP policy, so do your homework and check the CLEP college credit opportunities on the college campuses that you are most interested in. In other words, each institution determines the exams for which it awards credits, the minimum qualifying score required to get credit, and the amount of credits that will be granted per exam.
Here is what a few Texas Universities are saying about CLEP:
Houston Baptist University:
HBU CLEP Policy: HBU awards credit by examination as stated in the current year HBU Catalogue. HBU students taking CLEP exams must obtain pre-approval to take each exam whether it is taken at HBU or another institution. Complete the “Request for Approval To Take CLEP Exam” Form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar PRIOR to registering for a CLEP exam. HBU students will not be able to receive credit for CLEP tests if they have over 63 credit hours. CLEP credit will be awarded in the same term in which the exam is taken.
Texas A & M University-College Station (from the Texas A & M University Undergraduate catalog)
- CLEP exams are offered for students who want to earn college credit. Any of the tests offered by the CLEP program may be taken at our center, but only some of the tests earn credit at Texas A&M University.
- Texas A&M students: The total fee for the CLEP exam for is $115.00. There is a $35.00 registration fee, due at the time of registration. There is an exam fee of $80.00 which you will pay at collegeboard.org.
- Not a A&M student: The total fee is $130.00. There is a $50.00 fee due at the time of registration. There is an exam fee of $80.00 which you will pay at collegeboard.org.
- CLEP exams are 90 minutes in length.
- You will receive an unofficial score report at the completion of your exam. Official scores will post to your student record approximately a week from your exam date. If you are eligible to receive course credit based on your exam score, you will need to follow the steps listed on http://www.howdy.tamu.edu under My Record/Credit by Examination. Your scores must have been posted on your student record before you can accept credit.
At Baylor, credit can be earned for a course by taking any of several examinations that test for the content of that course. Individual academic departments select the exams they will accept and they set levels of performance required for credit.
Semester hours of credit are awarded through credit-by-exam, but a letter grade is not assigned. Your scores will be sent to Baylor in the summer, so you don’t have to worry about sending them in before then.
The CLEP Subject Examinations measure achievement in specific subject areas. These exams require college-level knowledge and critical thinking ability; sufficient preparation is required to do well. CLEP tests are given at most colleges and universities nationwide. You can view a list of test centers from the CLEP website at http://clep.collegeboard.org.