As I wrote in one of my earliest blog posts, too many students are focused on the cost of their entire degree rather than drilling down to the most meaningful number: the cost per credit. Just like the human body is made up of cells (not just limbs), degrees are made up of credits.
Here’s an example. Most students simply look at the degree plan their academic advisor hands them and say “hmm, looks like I need an English course.” But in fact, what you actually need are three English credits…and a glance at your school’s academic policy book usually reveals several ways to earn them:
- The English 101 course offered by the college: $3,000+ (the most expensive option)
- Prior Learning Assessment: $500-$1,000 (lets you create a portfolio to demonstrate that you already possess college-level mastery)
- CLEP or DSST exams: $80-$100 (a 3-hour subject test to prove you already possess college-level mastery)
In today’s student debt crisis, you should be weighing all of these options and determining how to earn your credits for the lowest possible cost. Unfortunately, colleges don’t make this kind of analysis easy because they want you to buy your credits in the expensive “classroom” format.
That’s why I created the DIY Degree Cost-Per-Credit Calculator. Before you take a class or or sit for credit-by-examination tests like CLEP, use this tool. It will tell you the cost-per-credit of your intended action, as well as how much higher or lower that cost is than CollegeBoard’s national averages. Use it to calculate the fastest/least expensive paths toward earning your degree at any school in America!
Note: Input numbers only. No dollar signs or commas please.