Aug 13, 2018

Louisiana Students Save At Least $4 Million in College Tuition Costs by Demonstrating College Skills

BATON ROUGE, La. -- More Louisiana students than ever before achieved scores that earned them college credit on College Level Examination Program (CLEP®) exams, according to data released today by the Louisiana Department of Education. CLEP is a nationally recognized credit-by-examination program that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of college-level materials in introductory subjects and earn college credit.

"We are proud Louisiana is a national leader in CLEP," said State Superintendent John White. "Not only are more students accessing opportunities for postsecondary success, but they are achieving credits toward their college degrees before even graduating high school. At the same time, they are saving millions of dollars in college costs. Our educators should be applauded for supporting student achievement in high school and beyond."

The 2017-2018 CLEP data show:

  • The number of Louisiana high school students earning college credit increased by nearly 23 percent. CLEP is scored on a scale of 20 to 80, with a 50 being the lowest score for which course credit is granted. In 2016-2017, 4,349 students earned credit. In 2017-2018, that number climbed to 5,346 students.
  • Louisiana high school students collectively earned over 16,000 credit hours and saved at least $4 million. With a passing score of 50 or higher, students earn between 3 and 12 credits of college-level coursework before leaving high school, depending on the guidelines of the specific postsecondary institution. The more credits earned early on, the more money saved over time. If each passing score in 2017-2018 is awarded just 3 credit hours, Louisiana high school students could expect to receive over 16,000 credit hours. If the average tuition is about $250 per credit, that's a savings of more than $4 million. But that's a modest estimate; these amounts are likely much higher, as many of the American Council on Education's recommended credit amounts for each subject are higher than 3 credits.

The gains build upon dramatic increases Louisiana has experienced in recent years. In 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, the testing volume swelled by more than 100 percent and 37 percent from the previous year, respectively, and the pass rate increased by 130 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

The results released today, which come days after Louisiana announced the number of students earning college credit through Advanced Placement reached an all-time high, demonstrate a commitment by the state to count college credit opportunities in the school accountability system and by school systems to better prepare students for life beyond high school.

St. James Parish is among the school systems to encourage students to participate in CLEP.

"We have begun to strategically identify higher performing students who may want to earn college credit by passing a CLEP exam," said Molly Davis Stadilis, principal at Lutcher High School in St. James Parish. "This past year, students were provided a choice based on their strengths and comfort level with the content and were encouraged to predetermine if the college they choose to attend will accept the CLEP test taken. They were provided information and study materials for their test, and ultimately, many of them graduated with credits toward their college degrees. We celebrated these students' accomplishments by presenting them with a special award at high school graduation."

# # # # # #