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How we hope to give five kids college educations for under $50 grand.

Long time readers may recall that I had hoped to have Sam take some CLEP tests to help defray the costs of an undergrad degree and help prepare him for college as well as to help validate our high school work. I didn't know which CLEP test to start with but I feel good about American History so we started with the CLEP test for American History I (from time immemorial to 1877). We studied for about eight months and he missed passing by just a few points. Bummer.

However, I learned a lot from the experience and so did Sam and we decided to plunge ahead with CLEP American History II but this time we were going to stick with the recommendations of the this site and glean from the experiences of other on the CLEP Yahoo Group. But I'll admit it has still be slow going.

At the homeschooling convention, I heard a talk from the people at College Plus. They discussed what are the basic CLEP tests to start with (not surprisingly American History I wasn't one of them!) and they also discussed how their program with coaches and study guides helps students to successfully study and pass the CLEP tests and then bank those credits to apply to colleges to finish up degrees. You can read about their three part approach here.

More specifically, they work with Thomas Edison Stage College to finish the undergrad degree via distance learning although many of their students transfer to other colleges also.  Students who complete a degree primarily through distance learning pay about $15,000 for their degrees through College Plus.


I know that a lot of people will wonder if this is a wise way to go, after all a traditional college degree is what most people associate with getting a good job!  That may still be true; however it is tempered by an alarming amount of debt.  I talked with a psychologist who has two young social workers in his office who are earning about $30,000 a yer but have debts from student loans of over $50!.  Two of my nieces at the family reunion who are in their late 20s and 30s talked about still paying off their student loans! Of course in the Obama economy, having higher education is no guarantee of a job, and it may make a job hunt even longer!

As a side note, my EMT son told me yesterday that he is thinking of moving to South Carolina where they are hiring Fireman/Paramedics for a salary of close to $70,000 a year.  That is with paramedic and fireman training - no college degree required!

So for our family, College Plus looks very attractive.  Having already helped one student prepare for two CLEP tests, I know that the subject matter and the testing is rigorous. I also know it will require a lot of effort on the part of my kids  - this type of degree will surely be earned!  But along with the confidence and accomplishment it will bring them, perhaps the best gift will have been to earn it debt free!




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