Make Higher Education Affordable By Earning College Credits Now

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Are loans the only affordable way to obtain a degree? Who wants to dig themselves out from insurmountable debt right after graduation? Thinking about rising costs of college tuition can be daunting for students embarking on their postsecondary education.

Options are available to earn college credit early and save money in the process.  Students in Ohio may enroll in the CCP program to earn high school and college credits concurrently and graduate college early.

The program is available to public, private and home school students in grades seven through 12. There’s no cost for tuition, books or fees, and classes may be taken on a high school or local college campus, depending on available options in the area.

Chatfield College is just one school to offer the dual enrollment program. The private liberal arts associate’s degree college, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers CCP at both of the school’s campuses in Cincinnati and Brown County, Ohio, as well as at partner facility Southern Hills Career and Technical Center in Georgetown, Ohio.

“It’s an amazing program,” Chatfield College President John Tafaro said. “The Ohio Board of Regents wanted to make college accessible and affordable and they sure did.”

With CCP, students can complete their freshman year of college or beyond by taking up to 30 credit hours per year, of which the state will pay for 15. Credits may be applied to the institution where students take the classes, or may transfer to other Ohio public colleges and some out-of-state and private institutions.

“It’s a great way to show up with free college credits and some confidence of having finished a college course,” Tafaro said.

However, CCP may not be right for every student. “It’s not a good idea to do it just to save the money, and you have to be committed,” Tafaro said. “These are college classes, not high school classes that are beefed up for college credit.” Students must be prepared for the rigors of collegiate material, alongside traditional aged and adult learners. School districts may seek reimbursement for a failing grade, which will appear on both high school and college transcripts.

To learn more about the CCP program at Chatfield, click here.

Other alternatives to earn college credit include AP and IB classes. The College Board’s AP classes are college- level courses offered in high school. Students take the AP test at the completion of the course. Based on the score, college credit may be earned and applied to more than 2,600 colleges worldwide. Similarly, IB courses are advanced courses in which a test is taken for college credit. Though not as widely recognized as AP, IB courses are offered in nearly 900 high schools with almost 1,700 universities accepting IB credits worldwide. There is a fee for both tests and minimum scores must be achieved for college credit.

The College Board’s CLEP program helps students receive college credit at a fraction of the cost by testing out of various subjects. CLEP is a good option for adult learners, veterans and military personnel. Getting a jump on college before arriving there is possible. Depending on the college or university, there may be programs specific to that school.

At Northern Kentucky University, several programs are offered, including Credit for Prior Learning, Military Credit, and School-Based Scholars (SBS), a dual credit program offering college classes to high school juniors and seniors at a reduced rate. Similarly, Cincinnati State has a host of ways to earn college credit based on workplace credit and experience such as their Applicable Work Experience and External Formal Training Program. Help is out there and researching what’s available at each school can save big in the long run.

Sara Gadzala, Contributor

Content originally published in the College Connection, an Enquirer Media Specialty Publication, on October 9th. 2016.

 

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