Three Ways to Combat Sticker Shock

Earn college credits at a discounted rate

Cheap college credits - solutions to a tuition crisis. Helpful advice about programs offering college credits at discounted prices
Financial aid package left you a little high and dry? We’ve got you covered with a wide array of options when it comes to earning college credits at a discounted rate. Here are three of the simplest solutions to a tuition crisis.

AP and IB Classes: One of the cheapest ways to earn college credit is to grab them before you graduate high school. The vast majority of U.S. high schools offer either Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, and some schools offer a selection of both. Besides the cost advantage—AP exams cost just $86 per test and IB exams are $88—students who perform well on AP or IB exams can transfer their credits to almost any accredited college or university in the nation.

CLEP Exams: If you don’t have time to take a full class, skip straight to the exam. The College-Level Examination Program—CLEP for short—allows students to earn credit for introductory college courses for the low, low cost of $72 per test. CLEP exams are 90 minutes long and cover subjects such as literature, calculus, and business law. The catch is that CLEP scores aren’t as widely accepted as AP and IB credits. To find out if your school is one of the 2,900 colleges across the nation that accepts CLEP scores, go to

Summer School: If you can’t test out of a class or two, try taking it elsewhere. According to the College Board, the average public two-year school (i.e. community, technical, and junior colleges) costs 60 percent less than the average public four-year college and more than 90 percent less than the average four-year private college. By taking just one to two community college courses per summer, students can complete a full semester of college for less than half the price.


This article was written by Christina Couch

Christina Couch is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of Virginia Colleges 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students of All Ages (Palari Publishing, 2008). Her byline can also be found on,, and, and in Wired Magazine.

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