In this challenge, I wanted to know exactly what it would cost my family to take 4 courses in 1 semester using any of the popular college credit options in the Homeschooling for College Credit. I’ve compared costs for ASU, dual enrollment, Study(dot)com, Sophia, CLEP, and several others.
It’s a bit challenging to pin down “exactly” what it costs for any one person to earn college credit. Some families have access to free courses locally while others may pay a small fortune. Keep in mind if YOUR state offers FREE dual enrollment, that is usually the best value and usually has excellent likelihood of transferability. The options below are open to teens from ANY STATE.
Why 4 months? I settled on 4 months because that is the length of a typical college semester. In semester-based classes, cost doesn’t change when you go faster or slower- you’re simply paying for the class. However, many college credit options are subscription based, so you pay per month. In those cases, going faster is cheaper. In my family, I found that individual classes that were super simple and could be completed really fast (2 weeks or less) but the other classes that required homework took longer (4 weeks) sometimes much longer (6 weeks). 4 classes in 4 months is a good average. Your family may need to go faster or slower based on the zillion other variables of your homeschool.
Why 4 classes? It is actually more accurate to compare the cost when taking multiple courses vs just one course. This is true because in monthly subscription models, taking more than one course per month brings the cost (way) down. I know people who can complete a course in 1 week! While it might be “possible” it’s certainly not “typical” so I used averages. Since an “average” college student would take 4 classes in a semester, that’s the number I used here. Your family may want to move faster or slower in your homeschool.
Basic 100 and 200 level college courses are assumed
Cost is not the only factor to consider when choosing a college credit option. A student’s learning style, availability of topics, personal preference, and plans for after high school are all important factors. If you’re not sure what works for your teen, remember that you’re not locked into any single option. Unlike after high school when you’re an enrolled college student, a high school student can create a patchwork quilt of a variety of college credits from any number or providers. If you don’t like one, choose something else next time!
A note about paper trails. Enrollment through a college (dual enrollment) almost always creates a paper trail that requires your teen to disclose their grades later when they apply to college. This paper trail means your teen’s success (or failure) is part of their permanent record. It is a huge advantage when teens can attempt to earn college credit without any risks. The options below (except for two: Outlier and TEL) allows your teen to attempt college credit risk-free. To speak plainly, if your teen fails, it won’t be held against them later.
TIME: 4 months (16 weeks)
GOAL: Complete 4 courses (12 college credits)
|Arizona State University (Universal Learner)||Excellent||semester or |
|$425 per course||$1,700|
|University of Pittsburgh (Outlier)^||Excellent||semester||$400 per course*||$1,600|
|TEL Learning (choose from 9 universities)^||Excellent||self-paced||$200 per course*||$800|
|Advanced Placement Exam||Good||N/A||$94 per test||$376|
|CLEP||Good||N/A||$89 per test + $20 proctor fee (estimate)||$436|
|CLEP with Modern States voucher||Good||N/A||$0 per test + reimbursable proctor fee||$0|
|DSST Exam||Good||N/A||$85 per test + $20 proctor fee (estimate)||$420|
|Sophia||Limited||self-paced||$79 per month*||$316|
|Straighterline||Limited||self-paced||$99 per month + $59 per course*||$632|
|Study(dot)com||Limited||self-paced||$199.99 per month||$799.96|
|Saylor Academy||Limited||self-paced||$0 per course + $25 proctoring||$100|
|UExcel Exam||Varies||N/A||$110 per exam (most) + $55 proctoring||$660|
|TECEP Exam||Varies||N/A||$50 per credit (free proctoring)||$600|
*coupons and discount codes are often available
During September and October, I’m going to highlight affordable dual enrollment programs each Sunday. To make the cut, a program must be open to students from any state, available online, and charge less than $100 per credit. Today’s program is called “Early Start” and it is offered through Indiana Institute of Technology.
Taking a CLEP Exam Using Modern States – STEP by STEP instructions
In the coming weeks I’m going to highlight affordable dual enrollment programs. To make the cut, a program must be open to students from any state, available online, and charge less than $100 per credit. Today’s program is called “ORU Advantage” and it is offered through Oral Roberts University.