Before College: Earning College Credits in High School is An Excellent Way to Make College More Affordable!

A big part of your Pre-College Finance Plan should include your children going to college while in high school, because this can generate big savings by quickening postsecondary completion after they transfer the credits they earn into the postsecondary institutions they choose to attend.

Here’s are three ways to go to college while in high school . . .

Dual Credit Courses

High school students successfully completing dual credit courses earn both high school and college credits. The vast majority of dual credit courses are taught in high schools. Another 17% are offered on college campuses and 8% are accessible online. Over 88% of all high schools offer such courses, and more than one-third of high school students (mostly juniors and seniors) take them — with 92% leading to credits accepted by community colleges and 64% resulting in credits that apply in 4-year colleges.

Dual credit courses generally cost less than equivalent courses taken while in college — in fact, some dual credit courses are free.

It’s usually best to use dual credit to fulfill core or “general education” requirements that’ll transfer into most college degree programs.

Advanced Placement Classes

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a product of College Board — creator of the SAT test. AP courses help approximately 2.8 million students complete 38 entry-level college classes including, but not limited to, biology, English, and U.S. history. These can generate college-level credits and help students qualify for higher-level classes as college begins.

AP courses are designed to prepare students to take AP exams. Scores of at least 3 on a 1 – 5 scale qualify students for college credits. The exams cost $95 per course, and students may get $33 of this waived if circumstances merit. That’s much less than tuition and fees than college students 3-credit courses, which average $1,056 at public 4-year colleges and $3,765 at private 4-year institutions.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

Fewer high schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program than dual credit and AP classes. IB’s a 2-year program for 16 – 19 year olds offering a core curriculum and 6 different sets of courses in the arts, individuals and society, language acquisition, language and literature, mathematics, and science.

As with AP, passing scores on IB assessment tests lead to college credits. While IB courses are generally free, IB tests cost $10 to $170.

Dual credit, AP, and IB offer your children ways to pay less for college-level credits, start taking courses within their majors more quickly, and hasten their progress to college degrees — thereby cutting costs such as room and board by shortening their time in college. Don’t ignore these options if they’re available!

College Affordability Solutions uses 40 years experience in postsecondary finance to provide both students and parents no-cost counseling on ways to manage, reduce, and pay college costs. Contact us at (512) 366-5354 or collegeafford@gmail.com to arrange a consultation.

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