If you’re a middle-income parent, putting your child through college may mean taking on substantial debt. How much debt? In many cases, nearly twice the amount you’d make in a year.
In fact, according to a study from the Wall Street Journal, many parents are borrowing up to six-figures to fund their kid’s post-secondary dreams.
The cost of a college education has grown exponentially in the last ten years, but so has the financial reward one gets from earning a college degree. So, where does that leave parents who want to help fund their child’s college education? Figuring out how to pay for college is one of the biggest sources of stress for parents. Thankfully, there are many ways you can fund your kid’s college education that doesn’t include draining your finances. And it’s through a little known program called Credit-by-Exam (CBE).
The Parent Plus Loan Trap
Why are parents taking on over $100,000 in student loans? The answer can be found in a program called Parent Plus. The Parent Plus program is a federal loan program parents can use to help their children pay for college. It’s important to note that Parent Plus loans come at a higher interest rate than standard student loans and has a higher limit you can borrow. That can spell trouble for the uninformed borrower that wants to pay for all or most of their kid’s college costs. Some schools are more expensive than others, and you can quickly find yourself under a mountain of debt if you’re not careful with the amount you borrow. Parent Plus loans can put a severe strain on your finances.
And the schools carrying the highest amount of Parent Plus debt may surprise you: art schools, HBCUs, and small private colleges typically carry the most Parent Plus loan debt.
At Spelman College, a historically black school in Atlanta, parents borrowed an average of $112,000. That’s much more than any school in the country! Paying back a loan of that amount can mean payments of over $1,200 a month, which rivals most mortgage payments.
At other colleges, parents typically took on loans worth $50,000 or more. Some colleges required amounts between $25,000 and $50,000. This information, collected by the U.S. Education Department, paints a complete picture of the financial strain many parents undertake in helping their kids pursue their post-secondary dreams.
Helping finance your kid’s college can quickly become burdensome, but it does not have to be if you know your options. Enter Credit-by-Exam.
Save on your child’s college expenses with Credit-by-Exam.
There’s a lot of opinions on how to save money on your kid’s college tuition, but one you probably haven’t heard of yet is Credit-by-Exam.
Credit-by-Exam is a program that allows students to receive college credit by taking – and passing – exams on core subjects. Since students can take these college-level replacement exams instead of sitting for a class, it can save parents thousands of dollars on college tuition.
Different Credit-by-Exam tests include…
- CLEP (the most common exam)
- DSST (for military members and their families)
- UExcel (for nursing students).
One of the most popular Credit-by-Exam tests among college students is the College Level Examination Program or CLEP.
The College Board runs CLEP exams. Any person of any age can sit for an exam and, if they pass, receive college credits for that course.
The CLEP exams are like high-school AP exams; only your child can take it at their own pace without sitting for a class. That means they can take CLEP exams whenever they’re ready, not just at the end of the semester.
Currently, CLEP offers exams on 30 subjects at more than 1,800 testing centers, and they cost just $85 each. Not only that, CLEP credits are accepted at over 3,000 accredited colleges and universities.
And you don’t have to wait until your child is enrolled in college to start saving with CLEP exams. The low cost and flexible timing make the tests perfect for high schoolers. With Credit-by-Exam, your child can earn both high school and college credits and graduate earlier for less money. If your child plans to work while attending college, they can earn credits for their prerequisites and take tests around their busy work schedules.
The College Board reported that students who earn 15 CLEP credits toward a degree could save between $5,000 and $17,000 on tuition, depending on their college. Not only does Credit-by-Exam help you save thousands on your child’s college expenses, but your child will also have the opportunity to graduate quicker, start their career earlier, and start earning money sooner.
The Smart Way to avoid college debt
In most cases, CLEP test-takers would have to study on their own to make sure they have the required knowledge to pass the exams. CLEP exams can be more difficult than sitting for a regular college course for this reason. That’s where Smarter with Achieve can help.
Smarter with Achieve helps Credit-by-Exam test-takers study to pass CLEP, ECE, and DSST exams. We offer expert exam guidance that prepares your child to take and pass college-level replacement exams.
Our Prep Course Plan ensures that your child’s school of choice accepts Credit-by-Exam and verifies how many credits the school will accept. Then, our online prep courses help your child prepare and pass CLEP exams and earn college credits.
Chat with an advisor today. We’ll walk you through the smart way to pay for college and avoid the Parent Plus Loan trap.