How I’m Receiving 30 Hours of College Credit For 15 Dollars

As usual, college tuition rates are rising. According to the College Board

…most students and their families can expect to pay, on average, from $172 to $1,096 more than last year for this year’s tuition and fees, depending on the type of college…

One of the best ways to offset the cost of college is simple: reduce the time you spend there.

Something called PSEO lets you do just that. It stands for Post Secondary Education Option. What you do is simple: take college classes at your local community college or even a nearby university during high school…for free.

Whoa, How Does it Work?

While you’re in enrolled in high school, you also enroll in your local community college. You take actual college classes with other college students. The credit you receive from the college is legitimate college credit and your high school counts it for your graduation requirements also. You can still take high school classes and this in fact what I do.

The state (or your high school depending on how you look at it) pays for it. All I paid this year was a $15 application fee. That was it.

Advantages:

  • College credit for free. Usually, there’s no limit to how many credit hours you can take. One of my classmates is going to graduate high school and have an associates degree!
  • Variety of courses. Colleges offer classes that many high schools simply can’t or won’t. Philosophy of World Religions anyone?
  • Different people. In a community college for sure, you’re going to be learning with people from all different backgrounds. Each one has something unique to offer.
  • You know what to expect in a college level course for the future. Not having busy work is a major relief!

Negatives:

  • Under the Ohio system, if you fail a PSEO class, then you have to pay back the tuition. Ouch. So clearly, it’s not a way to just slack off.
  • You’re responsible for transportation. There is no college school bus that comes and picks you up. You have to drive yourself to and from school, or have someone who can. This will mean using more gas.
  • You lose time with high school classmates. Personally, I saw this as a positive since there are some people you don’t want to see anyway. But you can control how many classes you take at high school and how many you take at college. For me, 2 high school classes have been enough to keep me “in the loop”.

How Do I Sign Up?

If you’re interested, first you need to make sure your state offers the program. I know for sure that Ohio and Minnesota offer the program and it appears from my Google searches that at least a few others do. To check yours type “YOUR STATE post secondary education option” or “YOUR STATE PSEO” into Google. If that doesn’t help, talk to your guidance counselor to see what options you have.

Overall, I think this a great program. Even if the credits earned don’t transfer for some reason, you’ve still gotten a head start in terms of knowledge and knowing what’s coming up ahead. Even better, you can feel in control of your education. I definitely feel like I’m forging my own path instead of just using the template of classes that high school provides.

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8 Responses to How I’m Receiving 30 Hours of College Credit For 15 Dollars

  1. Keith Lipke February 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Great post. I’d like it share this with my readers on my blog.

    Thanks!
    Keith

  2. John February 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Really good post. I had no idea that a program like that existed. I’ll be sure to pass it along to some of my friends that are still in high school.

    • Ryan February 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks! I’d really appreciate that.

  3. Michael February 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    So when they get to college, they are already half done? But, if your not in high school, you pay full tuition? Its a nice option, but I would prefer just improving the education in high schools, offering a competency test on graduation, and rewarding credits by examination. And what is the impact of these programs on college tuition? Considering they pay only 15$, it would seem that demand would increase and college tuition costs would go up.

    • Ryan February 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

      I believe it’s certainly possible for PSEO students to earn enough credit to be half way done when they reach a 4 year university, but you certainly don’t have to take that many courses. I have a friend who just takes one college class. Yes, you do have to be enrolled in high school or you’ll pay tuition.

      Advanced placement exams are similar to your competency test idea. I have a post on these coming up.

      I think the cost analysis is balanced out by the fact that taxpayers have paid their dues regardless. Whether I go to high school or the community college doesn’t really matter. In my case, I’m taking 2 high school classes and 3 college courses every quarter, so I’m splitting the available resources. Also, you have to take into account that the sooner a student graduates college, the sooner they can gain employment in their field and start paying back the “system”.

  4. Brian July 5, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Great article. Future bound college students, along with their parents, have to take a real hard “honest look” at the bottom line concerning their financial state. If a reduction in hours can be obtained, why not? It would be financially irresponsible to not do so. There is way to much “pressure” on our children in todays society to attend the best college.

    Thanks again.

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