Q: How many CLEP credits can be transferred to a junior/community college or university?
A: There is no set number of credits since each college sets that number for themselves, but no matter what their number is, you should try to meet or exceed it.
A degree from a 2-year college usually consists of about 60 college credits. Since a CLEP exam is worth 3-9 credits, your cost and time savings can add up quickly. In some cases there is a list of exams that the college accepts (or doesn’t) and in other cases there may simply be a number. In every case, the exam has to apply to a degree program to “count” and can’t duplicate a course your student already took. For instance, if your teen takes French 101, they can’t also get CLEP credit for CLEP French.
On the low end, a college would restrict CLEP to the point of either not accepting the credit or capping it at about 15 credits. This represents 0-25% of the degree.
On the high end, even the most generous college will not allow you to exceed 75% of the degree, which is going to represent about 45 CLEP credits.
4-Year College / University
A degree from a 4-year college usually consists of about 120 college credits. Since all CLEP credit represents lower level credit (that earned in your first two years of college) it’s unlikely that even the most generous colleges will have classes that match up to a CLEP exam after the first 60 credits. This is more a matter of practicality than policy. In other words, once you get past the first 60 credits, there simply aren’t CLEP exams offered that meet the degree requirements for the upper levels.
Note: while CLEP exams are all lower-level credit, there are exams that you can take to earn upper-level 300/400 level college credit.
There is a layer of complexity to this question when the student intends to start at a community college and then transfer to a 4-year college. Those nuances go beyond the scope of this post, but the following posts will be especially useful to those who plan to transfer later.
Understanding transfer credit makes a big impact on the overall cost of college. Through resourceful high school planning, parents learn to understand how to make a college’s transfer policy work in their favor.
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 […]