In today's economy, a college degree is becoming more and more important as jobs become less and less available. However, college degrees are becoming harder to harder to obtain for the average student in this economy, due to skyrocketing tuition costs.
Students can try lots of different things to make college affordable, such as pursuing scholarships or working a part time job. However, another option students should consider is utilizing distance learning for college. Distance learning is a guaranteed way to save money in college, and there are several ways that students can be sure to successfully achieve the savings they need.
For students who are looking to save the most money possible, they should consider a process called "accelerated distance learning". This process involves studying the majority of their college classes independently, and then taking a nationally recognized exam to verify college competency. Many students today use this "credit by exam" method to complete over 75% of their college degree, with the balance being accomplished through online classes. I used this method myself, and earned my entire degree for less than $10,000, the equivalent of just one semester at many colleges.
While not all students are looking for that dramatic of savings, some of the methods that make up accelerated distance learning for college can be used on a smaller scale to offer some savings for students.
Credit by exam is one of those methods. As was previously mentioned, credit by exam allows students to study independently for a college class, and then take a test to earn the college credit. For students looking to save money, this is a great option. There are several exam programs that can help students accomplish this, but the most common and most widely accepted is the College-Level Exam Program, or CLEP. Most colleges around the US give credit for CLEP, so this is an option that can work for most students. CLEP exams cover most undergraduate subjects, so students should pick their strongest subject and do some brush up study, then go in and earn the credits. Students who pass their CLEP will not need to take the corresponding class, saving them hundreds of dollars per class.
Online classes are another good option. Most colleges have online class options that are significantly cheaper than the standard live class. This is a good option when students aren't strong enough in a subject to be comfortable testing out of it, or for subjects where tests aren't available.
For new students considering their college options, it is important to consider their prospective college's policies on the use of credit by exam and online classes. Colleges with more generous policies in these areas will allow for greater savings for college students.
Distance learning for college, particularly credit by exam and online classes, is a great way for students to overcome increasingly skyrocketing tuition to earn that college degree that may be critical to earning the job they need. Every student should research how they can use these methods to graduate college with as little debt as possible in order to survive in our tough economy.