Aug 20, 2019

2019 Results Released as Louisiana Leaders Explore Expansion of Early College Credit Opportunities

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 credit-by-examination program that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of college-level materials in introductory subjects and earn college credit applicable at postsecondary institutions nationwide.

The results come as state leaders explore ways to expand access to early college credit opportunities to all high school students. One such initiative is the newly created Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force, which will study how high school students can simultaneously earn credits that apply to both their high school diploma requirements and graduation requisites at select postsecondary institutions in Louisiana.

"We are proud Louisiana is a national leader in CLEP," said State Superintendent John White, noting the 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. "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  shortening the time it takes to obtain a college degree, increasing the likelihood of their degree completion, and saving millions of dollars in college costs."

The 2018-2019 CLEP data show:






Tests Taken






Tests Passed






  • The number of Louisiana high school students earning college credit increased by 51 percent since last year and 558 percent since 2015. CLEP is scored on a scale of 20 to 80, with a 50 being the lowest score for which course credit is granted. In 2018-2019, a record 8,084 students earned credit, up from 5,346 students in 2017-2018 and 1,229 students in 2014-2015.
  • The number of CLEP tests taken increased by 52 percent since last year and 521 percent since 2015, making Louisiana a national leader.In 2018-2019, 18,102 CLEP tests were taken, up from 11,886 in 2017-2018 and 2,916 in 2014-2015.  According to College Board, Louisiana is No.1 in the nation for the number of CLEP exams administered to high school students.
  • Louisiana high school students collectively earned over 16,000 credit hours in 2019 and saved at least $7.7 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 2018-2019 is awarded just 3 credit hours, Louisiana high school students could expect to receive over 24,000 credit hours. If the average tuition is about $318 per credit, as reported in the College Board's 2018 "Trends in College Pricing" report, that's a savings of nearly $7.7 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.

CLEP is one of several ways high school students can earn college course credit before graduation. Other examples include Advanced Placement, a credit-by-examination program made available to students who participate in high school courses with college-level curricula, and dual enrollment, a program that allows students to, at once, enroll in both a high school and a college and earn credit.

The latter opportunity is the focus of a new state-level task force. Created during Louisiana Legislature's 2019 regular session, the Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force will review existing laws, policies and efforts regarding early college credit opportunities, coordinate efforts among the various agencies and organizations involved in this work, and ultimately submit a written report of findings and recommendations to the Senate and House committees on education by October 2020.

The group held its inaugural meeting July 24, and the next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9.

"A high school diploma in today's economy is no longer enough. In order for our citizens to get their first job or enter into a college or university, they need much more," said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. "We are actively collaborating with the Department of Education, through our Dual Enrollment Task Force, to expand opportunities for students to earn college credit before graduating from high school. Our message to students is no matter your zip code, no matter your race or place, Louisiana is ready to develop your talent so you can learn, earn, and prosper." 

"I cannot overemphasize the significance of dual enrollment, particularly for our rural communities," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. "I applaud Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed for heading the dual enrollment task force and the members for working on making these courses more affordable and accessible for all students.  Our vision is to make it possible for every eligible high school junior and senior in Louisiana to take two dual enrollment courses every year free of charge. This will be key in helping increase the number of high school students who pursue a postsecondary degree and ultimately help those students increase their earning potential." 

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