Posted in HS4CC

CLEP Exam Fee Increase

So many of us use Modern States that we forget…. many other people pay for their CLEP exams! If you’re still paying for CLEP, the new cost will be $93 starting July 1, 2023. Don’t forget to add in a testing center fee (about $20) and any $$ you’re paying for “test prep.” If you’d like to keep your CLEP costs as low as possible, here are 5 things I did in our home that really made a difference.

Fancy “CLEP Curriculum”

First of all, there is no such thing. That said, I field emails every week about CLEP and curriculum. In my family’s experience of taking nearly 20 CLEP tests, one thing I will tell you for sure: the curriculum doesn’t matter. If your teen is going to test out of College Algebra using CLEP, it doesn’t matter if they learned Algebra through Easy Peasy, Teaching Textbooks, Khan Academy, Saxon, or a blackboard and chalk. The most important aspect thing is that they learned Algebra! It helps if you pick one brand and use it all the way through (it keeps gaps to a minimum because the scope and sequence line up better) but any curriculum done consistently can work. Don’t chase expensive brands or buy a bunch of brands because they have “CLEP” in the title- chase brands that give your teen a quality foundation through the lens of your family’s goals and values. THAT is the best curriculum. And sometimes, it’s free too.

Modern States Vouchers will give you a voucher that pays 100% of your CLEP fee and the proctor fee if you pass their quizzes with 70% or better. They also provide learning support, extra reading, videos, etc. if you need a little extra depth in some areas. The fastest way to get a voucher is to not need Modern States! Seriously, use curriculum to learn the content. Once you’ve done that, the voucher can be earned in a day or two. (Pro tip: If your teen fails their CLEP, they can get another voucher)

CLEP “Scholarships”

If you haven’t considered the cost savings of taking a CLEP, you’re missing out on the best “scholarship” your teen can get! Assuming your teen uses Modern States vouchers, your out of pocket cost for the exam is $0. As such, every time they pass a CLEP, it is potential college credit for a class they won’t have to take later! Many colleges that accept CLEP for college credit do so generously. Here’s an example of one university that allows you to bring in 30 CLEP credits and what that looks like in savings. 30 CLEP credits is equal to a full year (!) of college. I’ve mapped this out using a handful of CLEP exams any motivated student could complete during 2-3 years of high school. This university is very affordable even without CLEP, but look at this opportunity for a $7,890 CLEP “scholarship” when you plan well!

California State University Chico CLEP “Scholarship”

CLEP examsPassing ScoreCredits awardedIn-State Tuition Saved
Choose 1 World Language (ex. Spanish)639$2,367
American Government503$789
American Literature503$789
Analyzing Interpreting Literature503$789
United States History 1 & 2 (2 exams)506 $1,578
College Algebra503$789
Intro. to Psychology503$789
30 credits$7,890

Free REA Practice Tests

No question the best CLEP practice tests are found in the back of REA Guides. These guides have been around forever and have the best practice tests. I have several sources for low cost REA guides, but if you’re in a pinch, you can get them new for under $40 new.

  • Go to Hoopla is a digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks. You’ll be able to access the content from your phone or on your computer.
    • Create your username / password. This will give you a free account.
    • Select your library from the list. The list includes over 1,500 library systems (if your library isn’t on the list, you can invite them to join).
    • Search under ebooks using the term “CLEP.”
    • My library returned 17 titles!
    • REA Guides stay in your account for 21 days and then you’ll have to renew.
    • Be sure to read the “why” in the practice test answers- that’s the best part!
  • Homeschooling for College Credit Marketplace: Buy, sell, and trade your HS4CC items with other parents in our community.
  • Thrift store / Goodwill / Salvation Army/ Yard Sale- I’ve found at least 10 REA guides this way. Most were under $2.
  • New editions on Amazon. These include online prep which gives you the bonus of a diagnostic test.

College Choice

I understand that choosing a college is hard enough, but when you’ve narrowed it down to fewer than 3, take the time to check the college’s CLEP policy. All other things being equal, CLEP acceptance can make a HUGE difference in not only the cost, but also the time your teen needs to be at college. In the example above, a student bringing in 30 credits saved almost $8,000 in tuition, but they ALSO saved $18,258 by reducing their time on campus by 1 year, and they ALSO then graduate sooner which puts them 1 year sooner into their career. If their occupation pays $50,000 that’s an entire year’s salary they’ll be earning while their peers are in their last year of college. By looking at direct and indirect costs as well opportunity costs, the student in my sample saved $76,000. College choice matters!


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “CLEP Exam Fee Increase

  1. Even if passing the exam, I’m wondering if the grade of the CLEP exam will be recorded? If a student pass the exam with a grade lower than A, would that hurt the college GPA record? Thank you

    1. Very good question! When your student eventually enrolls in college after high school, their college will ask for their official College Board CLEP transcript. You’ll send that in, and for the exams they accept, your student can expect to receive college credit for each. None will generate letter grades or impact GPA , these exams are pass/fail.

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