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Credit: Phillip C

College can be an expensive investment. With many students graduating with larger student loan balances, finding ways to reduce the cost is valuable to many people. One option for some students is CLEP exams.

These exams test your knowledge in several subjects ranging from accounting, English, History, and even foreign languages. These nationally recognized exams are overseen by College Boardand administered at local colleges. If you feel comfortable in a subject, you can take the exam, get credit for the classes, and pay only a fraction of the costs of taking the class on campus. A CLEP exam at my university is $80.

To show how much can be saved; I used the tuition prices of my university and compared it to ‘clepping’ 5 elementary courses (3 credits each). The totals don’t include room and board, which would increase savings even more.

CLEP In-State Out-State
 $400.00  $   3,264.00  $ 8,874.00

Here’s the amount of savings:

CLEP v In-State  $2,864.00
CLEP v Out of State  $8,474.00

I think this is a wonderful option for some people. I’ve taken exams through CLEP and it does save money. The only drawback is that you have to send a transcript of your scores if you decide to transfer schools. If you’re trying to reduce your college expenses, then this might be a viable option.

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BusinessWeek is continuing its coverage of college students and the credit card companies hoping to get more customers on its rolls. Jessica Silver-Greenburg did a fantastic job with this series as it tries to be balanced and neither present students as victims nor completely at fault for the heavy pushing on them.  Here’s the snippet I found interesting:

Activists groups are adopting the credit card industry’s own practices to try to stop students from drowning in debt. Instead of credit card applications, these marketers are handing out information booklets outlining credit traps and unfair practices that can victimize students. Instead of Frisbees and T-shirts, these marketers are passing out lollipops that read, “Don’t be a sucker.” Led by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the counter-credit card marketers set up tables on 34 campuses across the country. It was a guerrilla marketing campaign, funded by the Ford Foundation and organized by U.S. PIRG, to reform the way that credit card companies market to college students. 

I hope you read the rest of the article. Leave a comment on what you think.

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