Thinking about earning college credit in high school? In this post, I’ll do a quick summary of what each kind of college credit costs if you’re STILL in high school, and how you can save money on the process.
First things first, college credit your teen earns in high school (or earlier) is always SELF-PAY situation. High school students are not eligible for financial aid programs until after high school, but there are a few ways you can keep your costs very low and in some cases even free!
One serious advantage of earning college credit BEFORE high school graduation is that it will be VERY low cost. Once your teen graduates from high school, you’ll pay full price tuition- but you can use financial aid. While some students receive scholarships, for many students, they plan to borrow their college costs. For those who want your family to avoid student loan debt, a huge way to do that is to rack up as much college credit BEFORE COLLEGE as possible!!
AFTER high school: average community college student pays $300 per course.
AFTER high school: average in-state university student pays $1,000 per course.
AFTER high school: average out of state university student pays $1,500 per course.
AFTER high school: average private university student pays $5,000 per course.
Credits and courses below are sorted based on transferability, not cost. Note that the COST or QUALITY of courses have nothing to do with how well or where a course transfers and whether or not it will apply toward a degree later. A resourcefully planned homeschool program can earn college credit that will absolutely transfer into your target college. Parents who pay college tuition for their high school student (as opposed to parents who get it for free) should expect to pay no more than $300 for a college course. Parents who use non-traditional (non-college) credit by exam can currently accumulate unlimited college credit through CLEP exams for free. Parents who use non-traditional (ACE) credit will pay about $30 per credit when averaged over several courses.
In short, college credit can be the same or lower cost than your regular homeschool curriculum, but can save tens of thousands of dollars later!
Excellent transferability means that nearly every regionally accredited
college in the country will accept these sources of credit at
schools where transfer credit is allowed. Assume that the provider is
regionally accredited or equivalent. In some instances, state laws and
articulation agreements guarantee transfer of these credits. Pursue
credit in this category with confidence.
College-Based Dual Enrollment $0 in states with free dual enrollment for homeschooled teens. For states without that benefit, expect to pay full price tuition.
Arizona State University’s Earned Admission Program $25 to register. Optional $400 per course if you want college credit (up to 1 year to decide/pay).
Out-of-State Dual Enrollment List (2021) Average $110 per credit / $330 per class
Summer School Average $500-2000 per course
Winter Break, Minimesters, Accelerated Terms $0 in states with free dual enrollment for homeschooled teens. For states without that benefit, may be full price tuition.
Outlier (legitimate credit laundering) $400 per class ($133/credit)
Good transferability means at least 1,500 regionally accredited
colleges accept this credit regularly and are familiar with this
resource. You can generally find a specific college’s acceptance policy
for credit in this category on their website or catalog. Credit in
this category can be pursued with confidence, though limits usually
DSST/DANTES Exams $85 + testing center fee approx. $20 per exam
Limited Transferability: ACE CREDIT
Limited transferability means fewer than 1,500 regionally accredited
colleges accept this credit regularly. Colleges may be unfamiliar
with this resource, and credit in this category may require a special
review from the college before a decision can be made. Pursue credit
in this category if credit-earning isn’t the only priority, if the price is
free or very low, or if you’ve researched ahead of time with certainty
that your target college does accept this credit.
ALEKS Corporation—McGraw Hill (ACE) $20 per month, unlimited self-paced
Saylor Academy (ACE & NCCRS) $0 per course, $25 proctor fee per final exam
Sophia (ACE) $79 per month, unlimited self-paced
Straighterline (ACE) $99 per month plus course fee $59 per course, self-paced
Study.com (ACE) *College Accelerator Plan is only plan that yields college credit $199 per month, unlimited self-paced
GED Exam (ACE) price varies based on state of residence. $10-30
The Institutes for Statistics Education (ACE) $600 per course
Limited to Improbable Transferability: NCCRS Credit
Improbable transfer means it is unlikely that any regionally accredited
college will award credit for this option. Credit in this category
should not be assumed. Award high school credit instead.
Coopersmith Career Consulting (NCCRS) $50 per credit / $150 per course
Davar Academy (NCCRS) $80 per course
OnlineDegree.com (NCCRS) *ages 18 and older AND high school diploma or GED $0 per course, $9 proctor fee per final exam
You may enjoy reading…
I am thrilled to share with you this homeschooling success story of how Sara used CLEP in her homeschool with her son Sean during 11th (and now 12th) grade. She posted her celebration inside our Illinois HS4CC Facebook group and gave me permission to share it with you here. I know you’ll find it as […]
HELP! Is my teen is applying to college soon, and I’m not sure if she should select the box for a freshman application or for the transfer student application? Earning college credit in high school can lead you to wonder if your teen is an incoming freshman or a transfer student- good question! Your student […]
Trying to decide which EA course to start with from ASU’s EA Course lineup?
When Modern States first announced their CLEP voucher program, I was a little bit (lotta bit) skeptical about sharing information about the program. I’ve seen a lot of fly-by-night CLEP prep programs come and go – so I am very guarded about “new” CLEP prep programs. But here we are years later, and they are […]
Special thanks to HS4CC parent Rob B for this lead! Husson University in Maine (yes, regionally accredited) allows high school students to take 2 free online courses per semester. ANY STATE except California. Details below.