College for Less
Four years spent living on campus and attending university classes is the most expensive way a student can earn their degree. The average student student takes 5-6 years to finish his 4-year degree and along the way, a large percentage of students drop out or don’t complete what they started. A smarter, more cost efficient way to earn a degree is to unbundle credentials and education, from an experience. Look at each one separately instead of thinking that all three must be completed together. This gives our students the advantages of a real-world education that is affordable.
Credentials: A degree can only be issued by a college or university. Credits, taken in the right combination, earns a degree. This doesn’t mean all your credits have to be taken from the college that issues your degree. The rule that most often dictates how many credits students have to earn from the institution that awards the degree is called a residency requirement. For most colleges, this is 25% of the total credits in the degree, or 30 credits (one year). The other credits can be earned elsewhere and transferred in. This is not a seamless process. If you are trying to earn a degree from a college that is regionally accredited, ensure the credits you earn elsewhere are either from another regionally accredited institution, or accepted in transfer.
Credits can be earned by completing college classes and passing proficiency exams, then transferring in credits to your degree-granting institution. Community colleges are more affordable than universities. Other very affordable regionally accredited colleges that are worth investigating include: luna.edu ($105 for a 3 credit class), clovis.edu, campbellsville.edu, bryan.edu, liberty.edu and bluefield.edu. Credits can also be earned by passing a proficiency exam that is recognized by colleges, such as CLEP and DSST.
Education: This is what students are really after. Creating life-long, self-motivated learners is what most parents are striving for. Education can be found in many forms and from many sources. To think it only happens while sitting in a college classroom is old school. The Internet, public library, church, community education, self-study, leadership camps, and travel are just a few popular college-age options.
Experience: When talking to a high school student about “going to college”, the conversation quickly turns to the lifestyle or experiences he is looking forward to as a campus resident. Encourage your student to not take out loans for the experience. It is too costly and will compromise the experiences he can have once he graduates. Rather, include experiences that are both personally rewarding and professionally advantageous during the college years outside of a residential experience – internships, travel, intramural sports, part-time job, community organizations are just a few.
Think of it as college without boundaries. Unbundle the package and there are many more real-world experiences that students can include in an education that is truly affordable.
Get it all in a book: Credits Before College is an in-depth guide that will help you see the big picture, provides family activities and worksheet for your student to complete, links, and step-by-step guidance. It is the resource I wish I had when starting this process.
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© 2016 Cheri Frame. All Rights Reserved.
Credits Before College LLC