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College Credit Options for Ohio High School Students

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Many of the homeschool moms I hang with who have high school aged students are disappointed with the credits they were able to get through the state College Credit Plus Program. 

College Credit Plus is the newer name for the state post-secondary program of dual enrollment for high school students. Their website describes it this way:

Ohio’s College Credit Plus can help you earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking college courses from community colleges or universities. The purpose of this program is to promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wide variety of options to college-ready students. Taking a college course from a public college or university College Credit Plus is free. That means no cost for tuition, books or fees if you attend public school in the state of Ohio. If you choose to attend a private college or are homeschooled, you may have limited costs. 

There are many reasons a family might want to put their high school student into a postsecondary program, and one of the biggest is financial.

More than 52,000 Ohio high school students took college classes during the 2015-16 academic year, earning college credit while meeting their high school graduation requirements and collectively saving more than $110 million on college tuition.
The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) today released details on the first full year of Ohio’s innovative College Credit Plus program, which allows college-ready students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.
Students from public, private and in-home schools took advantage of College Credit Plus. Because the program is funded with state education dollars, and tuition rates are negotiated with Ohio colleges and universities, there is little or no cost to the families of participating students.
The Ohio Education site is very clear on this for homeschooling families:

Ohio has never offered your home-school student a better start on a college education. A College Credit Plus student enjoys the opportunity to pursue more challenging classes and explore college interests sooner. Your child can earn anywhere from a few college credits to more than a year’s worth while still in high school. College Credit Plus can reduce your child’s time in college and greatly reduce your family’s higher education costs. 

I had been reluctant to participate in post-secondary programs before. I blogged about that here. These days there are so many high-schooled students on the college classes it's almost like going to a regular high school. Noah saw several younger friends on his college campus, and even had one in his Latin 2 class. So I don't think the worry of having young kids with older college kids is as much of a concern as it was a few years ago.

But homeschoolers are at the end of the line when it comes to funding. Public and parochial school students get the funding first and the homeschoolers get what is left over. While a few of my friends have received 16 or more credits for next school year, most received 10 or less. Eight seems to be the number I hear with the greatest frequency - which would be something like 2 1/2 course.

To any family discouraged by the lack of post-secondary credits, I offer two options- CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and AP  (Advanced Placement -both administered by the College Board.)


My family has been successful with CLEP Testing. Each CLEP test runs roughly around $100 including the cost of the test and whatever the testing center charges. If a student has just finished a course like Biology or is good with English and literature, it might be worth it to take some of the CLEP practice tests, or enroll in something like Instantcert for a few months and then take the test. That's a fairly inexpensive way for an independent learner to get some college credits banked.

AP is also a good option. Last year, Noah took an AP Course online. His course was through Dr. Stobaugh at For Such a Time As This. It was rigorous and I think it prepared him very well for college. Noah tells me that learning to write an effective opening paragraph and thesis statement last year for Dr. Stobaugh gave him an advantage over some of his classmates who are still struggling to master that skill - so for that alone, it was worth it.

But a student doesn't have to take the AP class to take the AP test, so this might also be a good option for a student who wants to earn some college credit but can't get enough funding through College Credit Plus.

The HSLDA offers a list of other AP classes that can also be accessed online. Student Athletes who wish to participate in college sports should pay particular attention to the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP courses as they have done the extra work of becoming NCAA approved!


In coming weeks I'll be blogging about each test separately.





#homeschool
#CollegeCreditPlus
#postsecondary

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