Posted in financial aid, Free Tuition, working

Working During College: Yes or No?

I’ve saved this video for a long time, and I have watched it many times.  It’s my pleasure to share it with you.  It is probably my favorite Dave Ramsey caller of ALL TIME.  This first young woman featured here was homeschooled, attended private Christian College, worked like crazy…not only did she graduate debt free, but she and graduated with money in the bank.  What’s the secret?

For most students, the simple answer is HARD WORK.

Last summer, I heard about Jeff Selingo.  He was being interviewed for his latest book There is Life After College.  He specifically spoke about the topic of students working during college.  Mr. Selingo has researched this issue, and shares some comments here:

 

 

 

One reason high-school students and undergraduates used to work was to earn money to pay for college. But one byproduct of skyrocketing college prices is that a part-time paycheck pays a smaller proportion of the tuition bill. As a result, many students find it easier to just take out loans instead of trying to work to pay for their higher education.”

He’s right, it is easier.

College’s financial aid offices will present your teen with a “Financial Aid Package” that will include a Pell Grant (a gift from the Federal Government if you meet income requirements) and Scholarships (a gift from the college if you meet specific criteria) and the rest will be loans.  Loans will fill the remaining portion of your “need” for that year.

Financial Aid Packages are prepared EACH YEAR.

Need is the kicker. Need frequently includes living expenses and other costs that the college has estimated on your behalf.  Borrowing living expenses money is a surefire way to incur the absolutely MOST student loan debt possible.  The alternative? Work!


Part Time Work During College = Higher GPA

According to a report out of Boston University, “Four-year college students working 20 hours or less had an average GPA of 3.13, versus nonworking students, who had an average GPA of 3.04. But the benefits were reversed with too much multitasking: students who worked more than 20 hours a week had an average GPA of 2.95.”


Work and Earn…..and earn some more!

In addition to working to help off-set costs and build grit into your character, some companies will pay your tuition.  This is in addition to your regular wages.  Tuition assistance programs can pay for part or all of your degree, and of course, each company that creates a program will attach strings, which require careful consideration.

Common strings include holding full-time employment, pursuing a specific major, maintain passing grades, and so on. The human resources department at any company can provide detailed information about their program.  Still, every student should consider doing their work for a company with a tuition assistance program!  If you don’t, you’re leaving free money on the table.

Companies that offer TUITION REIMBURSEMENT

These companies will pay some or all of your tuition through tuition reimbursement!  In short, you pay for your courses, and when you’ve passed the semester, your company cuts you a check.  In other cases, the company sends a check directly to your school.Contact the company’s human resources department and ask about the details.  P.S.  you can do that BEFORE you apply for a job!

  • Aeropostale
  • Ann Taylor
  • Apple
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Best Buy
  • CarMax
  • Coca-Cola
  • Disney
  • FedEx
  • Ford
  • Gap
  • Harris Teeter
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Home Depot
  • KFC Restaurants
  • Kohl’s
  • Lane Bryant
  • Macy’s
  • Marriott Corp.
  • McDonald’s
  • Nike
  • Publix Grocery
  • Sheetz
  • Siemens
  • Staples
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • UPS
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Walmart
Posted in Breaking News, Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition, Science, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

*FREE Straighterline Labs, AP, and $3/credit classes through 6/3/17*

If you currently have an active Straighterline account – I want to share an unexpectedly great deal I just discovered today!

As you may know, there is a current Straighterline code through June 3rd for $50 off (enter code Homeschool50 at checkout.)  I used it for #2 son, but not #3, because #3 won’t have time to complete another class before summer break and I hate wasting time just as much as wasting money.

On a whim, I called Straighterline and asked what would happen to a class that I purchased now but we didn’t get to use.  They told me it would sit in our account FOREVER.  I wasn’t sure she understood my question, so I clearly explained that we were closing our account for summer vacation.  She assured me that purchased courses are in our a=jumpccount forever, will never expire, and will never disappear when we close our account.  So, in the fall, if I reactivate his account, it would be ready and be waiting for him to pick up where he left off!

What that means:  Active members (those currently paying the $99/month fee) should purchase one of the following courses using the HOMESCHOOL50 code before June 3rd or before your account membership expires- whichever happens first.   This short list contains the least expensive SL courses, that when the code is applied, brings the cost down to $0 – $9 each!!  That price is not per credit, it’s for the ENTIRE course PLUS the required e-book/textbook. The code can only be used one time per account.


Free Straighterline Labs

The student must purchase the lab kit on their own!

  • Anatomy & Physiology I Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Anatomy & Physiology II Lab (1 credit) $0
  • General Chemistry Lab (1 credit) $0
  • General Physics Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Biology Lab (1 credit) $0

AP Classes

Straigherline is an approved provider of 4 Advanced Placement classes.  Completion of one of these courses allows you to list the course on your homeschool transcript as Advanced Placement.  Taking an AP exam is optional and the responsibility of the student.

  • Macroeconomics (Counts as an official AP High School Course) (3 credits) $9
  • Microeconomics (Counts as an official AP High School Course)  (3 credits) $9
  • Intro. to Psychology (Counts as an official AP High School Course) (3 credits) $9

College Classes for $3 per Credit or Less!

  • Introduction to Statistics (3 credits) $0
  • Accounting I  (3 credits) $9
  • Accounting II (3 credits) $9
  • Business Ethics (3 credits) $9
  • Business Law (3 credits) $9
  • Business Statistics (3 credits) $9
  • Financial Accounting (3 credits) $9
  • Macroeconomics (3 credits) $9
  • Managerial Accounting (3 credits) $9
  • Microeconomics (3 credits) $9
  • Organizational Behavior (3 credits) $9
  • Personal Finance (3 credits) $9
  • Principles of Management (3 credits) $9
  • Anatomy & Physiology I (3 credits) $9
  • Anatomy & Physiology II (3 credits) $9
  • Medical Terminology (3 credits) $9
  • Microbiology Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Pharmacology I (3 credits) $9
  • Pharmacology II (3 credits) $9
  • American Government (3 credits) $9
  • Cultural Anthropology (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Religion (3 credits) $9
  • US History I (3 credits) $9
  • US History II (3 credits) $9
  • Western Civ I (3 credits) $9
  • Western Civ II (3 credits) $9
  • College Algebra (3 credits) $9
  • PreCalculus (3 credits) $9
  • General Chemistry (3 credits) $9
  • Environmental Science (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Nutrition (3 credits) $9
  • Intro. to Psychology  (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Sociology (3 credits) $9

If you want help picking a class my post  Straighterline Dissected: What to Take should help a great deal!

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  Non-subscribers or inactive members can do everything in this post, but you’ll have to pay to restart your subscription fee ($99) so this is NOT a good deal unless you were already planning to enroll your student at this time. In addition, you should know about the pros and cons of using SL in your homeschool.  See this post to get started:  Straighterline Basics and explore manyStraighterline posts by clicking the Straighterline tab.   

Posted in Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition

Dual Enrollment Advice from Parents

I recently as the parents on Homeschooling for College Credit’s Facebook page to share their experiences with dual enrollment, and any advice they might have for parents considering it for their teens.

Dual enrollment is enrolling in a college credit course, usually through a college, and counting it also as a high school course.  Popular dual enrollment courses include English 101, College Algebra, United States History, and others.

Parent comments: 
Mark Mandel We are wrapping up Maecroeconomics with certell and have applied for dual credit through Colorado. It’s pretty cool program and well recommended.
Karen SidurFirst class just finished. We are trying to sign up for another but are waitlisted. They don’t make it easy that’s for sure.
  •  Jennifer’s comment:  at most colleges, dual enrollment students are the bottom of the pecking order, and preference will go to the college’s regular students.  My only advice is to try and register the first day you’re allowed, and even consider a second college to use as your “back up” provider.
Sarah Burns Weiser My daughter is finishing 7 credits at Messiah College. Very positive experience but expectation of a high level of writing skills. She had excellent preparation from a co-op class she had taken so it was ok, but would be a shock for people not prepared for the writing. The other students and professors were very welcoming and inclusive.
Heather JonesMy DD14 completed college algebra at the local CC. She was already familiar with the content, but had to learn time management and how to do quality work even when bored. I’m thrilled we could rent the textbook, rather than buying it, and hope to rent for future classes.
Kristy Hassler Huddle For us it was a huge success. It was his first semester and he did extremely well.
Mary Lynn StimpsonMy daughter just finished her 3rd semester of community college for dual enrollment (they call it concurrent enrollment at her college). She did really well and will graduate in may with her high school diploma and her associate’s degree at the same time. I highly recommend it if it’s not too stressful for your child. I don’t think the courses were much more difficult than high school courses. It’s much more economical than a 4 year college (which I hope she will transfer to complete her bachelor’s).
  • Jennifer’s comment:  Good point about dual enrollment having more than one name.  I’ve found dozens of different names, and usually a state tends to call it the same thing.  For instance, if you’re in Georgia, your state calls all dual enrollment “Move on When Ready” and if you’re in North Carolina, it’s called “Career and College Promise.”  If you can’t find “dual enrollment” for your state, it might be called something else.
Lori Trentanelli 17 yr old just finished Intro to Japanese. Big success, especially for a person who took her time sampling various foreign languages. She organized a study group, which plans to continue meeting.
Teresa CavenderI have 2 dual enrolled high schoolers.
On campus is much more engaging than online.
Spread out heavy reading/writing courses.
Apply/register early.
Get as much face time with professor (even with online courses, if possible).
Don’t get overwhelmed with the process /paperwork from registering. It boils down to a few documents, but the email and explanation can seem daunting!!
Don’t pass it up. It will save you THOUSANDS of dollars in the end. Like getting a scholarship without the essay. Lol!
  • Jennifer’s comment:  Thousands! That’s right.  In a handful of states, dual enrollment opportunities are FREE tuition, in a couple you even get free books and fees.  If this applies to you, the can mean your costs for 2 years of college = $0
  • For students that have to pay dual enrollment tuition, you’re paying the community college rate, which is typically 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of a typical 4-year college rate. In addition, your teen is living at home, so the living expenses associated with 2 years in a dorm are eliminated.
  • A far reaching benefit, but for those edu-nerds like myself, an important one:  you get a better return on investment (ROI) when you complete college credit in high school.  Every credit your teen earns early puts them in industry one year sooner.  For students in high paying professions like nursing, medicine, engineering, etc. that means an extra 1-2-3+ years of full salary ahead of their peers.

Parents and teens have to decide which subjects make sense, and choose carefully.  You can’t duplicate credit, so taking US History as a dual enrolled student means you can’t also get AP credit for US History – you have to choose.

Posted in AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, Curriculum, Distance Learning, Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition, Self-Paced Learning

DIY Credit-Rich High School: SAYLOR

There are so many ways to inject college credit into a high school.  Today I’m going to feature Saylor Academy.  What I like about Saylor Academy, is since they started offering free open courses, I knew that they’d eventually build a large enough catalog to be useful to hundreds of thousands of homeschooling high school families.  When they started offering a college credit exam option, these guys quickly climbed to the top of my favorites list!

Saylor Academy describes themselves as

“We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working since 2008 to offer free and open online courses to all who want to learn.  We offer nearly 100 full-length courses at the college and professional levels, each of which is available right now — at your pace, on your schedule, and free of cost……Our learning materials are curated from a trove of free and open online resources by expert educators (learn more about our course design philosophy). We focus on designing a self-paced learning experience that comes as close as possible to what you would learn in the college classroom. Our certificates are free, our courses available to you any time, and the deadlines under your control. “

For what Saylor offers, they hit a home run.  Seriously, as we get into this, you’ll see that they offer the LOWEST COST COLLEGE CREDIT on the planet.  There is no lower cost option.  (CLEP?  Nope, Saylor costs a fraction of a CLEP exam)

I’m obsessed with college credit cost, so I promise you there isn’t a better deal to be found. -Jennifer

That said, Saylor’s option isn’t a perfect fit for all students.  The big-picture is that the product is A+ and the price is right, however there are finer distinctions that will rule out this type of program for some parents and some homeschools.   I prepared a thorough FAQ inside the 8-page curriculum that should help you assess some of those important points, but if you have questions about the utility of the credit, you can comment below, and I’ll do my best to help.

Is it rigorous?  Frankly, it’s very hard curriculum.  It’s a LOT of college-level reading.  So, for that reason, I stop short of saying “hey, everyone should use this!” and I’ll tell you that NONE of my 4 sons have the academic chops to handle the plan I wrote.  That being said, my kids are average, and this program is for above-average students.  To start this in 9th grade, your 9th grader should be reading at the 12th grade level (give or take) and be exceptionally self-motivated.  They should also be able to handle their computer work on a screen, be allowed to follow links (without wandering over to Facebook…..) and trusted to complete the assignments on the page.  There is no 3rd party teacher, so if your teen doesn’t have self-discipline, this isn’t a good fit.

Who is this for?

If your state doesn’t offer free dual enrollment…..  many don’t.


If you’d rather not use dual enrollment….. for a number of social reasons or potential academic consequences.


If earning credit by exam isn’t a great fit….you don’t live near a testing center or the testing fees are too high.


If you’d rather have your teen take their exams at home…..especially for teens who experience anxiety in an unfamiliar testing environment. 


If your budget is getting in the way of college credit…..your teen can take the entire course for free and decide at the end whether or not to attempt the exam for $25.  


If you move/travel a lot and don’t want to carry books…… Saylor uses online reading.


If you don’t want to buy books…..all reading is linked inside the assignment, there is nothing to purchase for the course, not even labs.


If you don’t know where to get curriculum…..finding college curriculum that is aligned with CLEP or AP exams is a difficult task.  Most products are strictly test-prep.  This is actual curriculum.


If your teen’s placement exams weren’t high enough to enroll…..dual enrollment sometimes asks exam scores reach a benchmark before being granted permission to enroll, but no placement exams are used for these courses.

There is no registration, no placement exam, no application, no age restriction.  Click and learn.

Keeping in mind that Saylor Academy is a secular organization, Christian parents may want to substitute some courses that fit better with their worldview. A similar, and free, option is  Easy-Peasy, the all in one online Christian curriculum that is completely free to use.    (Note that Easy Peasy doesn’t have college credit options, but the parent can use their products as the foundation and follow up with AP or CLEP exam prep later).

8-page Saylor Academy High School Program