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CLEP – Money-Saving College Credit

With the recession still in full swing, many Americans find themselves out of work. And with the job outlook looking bleak, many of these unemployed people are deciding that it’s a prime time to further their education. Gaining a college degree is a productive way to spend their time of unemployment, and such a degree will improve their job outlook in the future.

But potential students should realize that there are many paths to the college degree. Particularly when money is tight, it’s important to find the most cost-efficient path to the college degree. While many people choose to attend community college in order to avoid the tuition rates of universities, they are overlooking an even more cost-efficient way to earn college credit. This little penny-pinching gem is known as The College Level Examination Program or CLEP.

CLEP allows a student to study independently for an exam and then take a college-level equivalency exam in order to earn college credit in that particular subject. Currently, CLEP offers 33 exams in subjects ranging from “College Composition” to “Introductory Business Law.” With such a wide variety of subjects to choose from, the student should find it easy to earn CLEP credit in an area that aligns with his degree plan.

You may be wondering, “How is CLEP such a money-saver?” Well, CLEP exams cost only $72 ($77 as of July 1, 2010) each. Of course, this is substantially lower than the cost of tuition and fees in an equivalent college course. However, the savings don’t stop there. For a typical college course, a student faces the expenditure of much more money on required textbooks. With CLEP, the student determines how and when she studies.

Some students prefer to pick up a used textbook, and study for the CLEP exam on their own. Other students favor a group CLEP study arrangement. Still others like the ease and convenience of CLEP test prep programs. Many of these test prep programs are now offered online. So, the student is able to take advantage of a convenient CLEP study program from the comfort of her home.

So, how does a student get started with CLEP? First, he needs to visit the CollegeBoard’s website ( collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html ) and browse the course descriptions. Then, the student needs to determine whether or not her college or university accepts CLEP credit. There is a link on the CollegeBoard’s website (click CLEP College Search) that allows the student to search for colleges that accept CLEP credit. Next, the student will register for a CLEP test. Then, it’s time for lots of studying in preparation for the test.

After successfully taking and passing a CLEP exam, the student will realize the cost-saving value of CLEP exams. Not only has the student saved a significant amount of money by taking a CLEP test, he has saved a considerable amount of time as well. The student is now much closer to achieving her dream of a college degree and a more financially stable future.