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2 Smart Ways to Cut College Costs

The fall semester is starting soon and it’s time to think about returning to college. You know why you want more education but you’re not sure about the how.


College fees and tuition have increased over the past years, with the greatest increase being in public universities, according to an annual survey by the College Board. The College Board creates and administrates standardized tests such as SAT, AP and CLEP.



Your schedule is more jammed than ever and money may be an issue. Is it possible to cut costs, save time and still get the education you need?

The answer is yes – if you utilize a shortcut known as credit by examination or “testing out.” More than 3,800 colleges and universities offer credit by passing CLEP, DSST and ECE exams. You pass the test and get the credit, whether you’ve attended a class or not. These exams allow you to complete college credit for what you already know or to self-study and bypass classroom time.



The “Testing Out” Option

Some schools offer their own proficiency exams, which complete credit for those schools only.  For example, Excelsior College offers ECE exams. There are a few colleges that accept credit for ECE exams, but, generally, the credit completed by a school’s specific exam is not transferable if you transfer to another school.


How Many Credits Can You Get?

The number varies from college to college and sometimes even by department. But many schools allow you to complete up to 30 credit hours this way.


If you have a program or school of interest, ask admissions these questions:


·         Do you accept credit by examination?

·         Do you only accept certain exams?

·         What are the passing scores?

·         Is there a transfer fee for these credits?


The fees for taking tests are generally between $77 and $355. Many college testing centers administer the tests, even if you are not a student at that school.



The Self-Study Option

Suppose you don’t have the knowledge of the exam yet and would like to study at home instead. How do you get ready for such an exam?


There are companies that sell study guides for students who want to complete college credit by testing out and need to prepare for the test. Some of these guides are simply outlines and some are more in-depth. If you go to the website for a particular exam, the information about the tests also includes a bibliography. It may be that your local library has the books you need to prepare for the test.



You may be thinking, “This is too good to be true. What’s the catch?” Here’s one: self-study requires some discipline. With a little effort, it’s possible to study at your own pace, in your own space and save on class time. If you test out of an introductory course or elective, you can move more quickly into advanced courses and core classes.



This clearly saves you time – and money! You save the cost of sitting in class, not only in tuition fees, but in missed work to attend class, babysitting costs, gas, etc.



So complete college for you what you know – or will know with home study. It’s a smart way to get an education!



For more information, contact an iStudySmart.com Educational Consultant at 1-800-737-2222.

- Article by Sue Perkins, iStudySmart.com

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