The DeRosa family moves at the speed of budget. We’ve been on the “envelope system” for a decade, and borrowing for college doesn’t get a free pass. For us, paying for college “at any cost” doesn’t mean spending more, it means being smarter! Sometimes that means I have to slow down our college credit program or use something else, but even when we are on the tightest budget, there are still ways we can keep earning college credit!
Nearly Free Dual Enrollment
Free dual enrollment is a benefit for homeschoolers in many states. Whether or not dual enrollment is free for you depends on where you live. If you don’t live in an area with free dual enrollment, here are 2 colleges you should look at asap. As long as you make good course choices, your teen can take dual enrollment courses from colleges in other states (online) and transfer them back to their home college or future target college.
Husson University (Maine)
Private 4-year university
Program Name: Early College Access Program (ECAP)
Cost $0 for two courses per semester for a maximum of 21 credits over two years, 11th and 12th grades only. Full course catalog available assuming the student meets prerequisites and there is space. ECAP students get last priority. Excludes California students. **NOTE** not all students will be able to meet their homeschool eligibility requirement
West Virginia University (West Virginia)
Public 4-year university
Program Name: Access Early College
Cost $25 per credit, for high school grades 10-12 with 3.0 GPA, placement test may be required for some courses, 100 and 200 level courses only, 16-week semesters, on-campus course options for local students.
FREE Credit by Exam
CLEP exams are standardized exams your teen can take at home or a testing center. These multiple choice exams match well with most of the high school subjects you’re already using, so after a nice solid homeschool class, I strongly recommend your teen do some CLEP prep and take the CLEP exams! There is simply no downside to taking these exams since you can currently take them for free using a Modern States voucher. Take every exam possible, whether or not they end up with college credit later depends on where they go to college and what they study, but since there is no downside for taking the exam, if you don’t take CLEP exams, you’re leaving free college credit on the table!
- Learn a subject using homeschool high school curriculum
- Take the corresponding Modern States free online prep courses for every high school subject that matches up with a CLEP exam subject. See list
- Get your vouchers (coupon code) to register for your exams ($0)
- Do more CLEP prep to get ready for the exam day
- Take the test, repeat.
Saylor Academy offers 100% free college-level curriculum that anyone can use. The curriculum is secular. They offer a low cost final exam ($5 proctoring fee) that upon passing yields college credit. This type of credit is not accepted at every college, however, if you do choose one of their partner colleges, you can accumulate a lot of very low cost college credit and cut the cost of a degree for 50% or more. NOTE: If you like their program, I’ve mapped out a HS4CC high school plan that you can follow. When I wrote the plan, the proctoring fee was $25 per exam, so the old price was $275 for 30 college credits (11 exams). With the new proctor fee of only $5, the new price for 11 exams is only $55.
After High School
You should know that after high school graduation, free dual enrollment tuition goes away for EVERYONE no matter where you live! So, if you have the option to use your local free program, I encourage you to try and make it work. If you aren’t in your state’s Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook group, you’re missing opportunities to learn about local programs and free options.
Last year I started bringing you news about how your teen could work for a company AND have their FULL tuition paid for. Believe me- more companies offer this than you may think! Today’s post features an “essential” business that continues to boom through COVID and offers a way for your student to cash-flow their […]
“My son has his first in person class at the community college tomorrow… Should he avoid anything? We’ve never spent anytime in a public school setting.”