So how is it possible to save money on college tution? Is there an easier alternative to loans and grants? I have student loans and grants, though don’t want to fall subject to heafty pay back fees, what can I do? I am planning for college, though don’t know where to start? I want a degree though don’t want to spend four or more years earning it, how can I speed up the process? These are all questions many people have in regards to secondary education, however, many people do not realize that the answers are right in front of them!

Here are some tips and tricks to help ease your mind. Did you know that, you can opt out of taking a class and still earn credit for that class? That’s right, you save money and time. Many universities offer what is called a “Portfolio”. This is where a student requests this from administration, and does up a 500 or more word portfolio pertaining to the class.

Upon submission of the work, it is reviewed by the professor of the class and administration, and if it is agreed upon that the information is suitable enough, the work is accepted, and the student can “opt out” of taking the class. The student will recieve credits for the work, or however many credits were going to be awarded for the class. You don’t have to pay for this feature, and if the work is suitable enough, you don’t have to pay for the credit hours of that class either. Thus saving the student time and money.

Another great way to save money and earn college credit, is by simply taking CLEP tests. What is CLEP testing you ask? The CLEP organization, is a regional institute that allows students to take tests regarding anything, and either earn a certification or college level credits or both. Here is how it works. Depending on what you are going for, you can request to take CLEP testings, through the adminstration of the university. You do have to pay an upfront cost of anywhere from $65.00 to $100.00. The administration then refers you to the CLEP organization, and you set up an interview.

You must specify what you would like to take a test for. Remember this can be anything, from healthcare to engineering. The CLEP organization will then give you a study guide for the test, make sure you study it!! There is a test date scheduled and a destination where the test will be taken. Usually the location is at a regionally accredited university, otherwise, the test will not be considered by your school for credits and/or certification. You then simply sit for the test. Right after you are finished, your score will come up either on a computer screen or in print. You must get a good percentile to pass, though this varies on what you are testing for. For example, if healthcare, a good percetage is a 75% and higher.

Depending on what your score was, you may be eligible to sit for a certification exam. The CLEP organization will then review your work and submit it to your university. The administration are those who decide how many credits to give you for the test. This can vary between 10 to 7, or as low as three college level credits. If you decide to certify in something, you may also be able to take your certification and turn that into credits also. Remember, the tests MUST be taken at a fully accredited university, in order to be considered for credits and/or certification.

You can do this as many times as you wish, in regards to any class you take, simply request an “opt out” after testing, and still recieve the credits awarded, and the best part is, you won’t be required to pay for the class or per credit hour, on that class! Thus saving time and money. You must talk with the administration of your university, for further details. Many universities offer this as part of their criteria, and not a separate source, only if requested.

In addition, if you have access to the internet, simply surf the web, on subjects and learn from that. This can be applied for both “Portfolios” and CLEP testing. Keep in mind that, not only are you saving money, though you are saving time. In other words, you can get your degree a LOT faster than specified when you enrolled (spend two years for that coveted BS instead of four) ! The CLEP organization is also known as the “experience by life degree generator”, and no this is not some diploma mill either.

One more piece of advice, did you know that you can take classes from some major universities, totally free of charge!? Many places such as MIT and BerKley offer this to anyone around the world. The con to this is, the classes are not degree or credit bearing, though this is a great way to study for that up and coming exam! Here are some sources: This is widely known as “open course ware”.