CLEP is a good option for anyone. CLEP is an even better option for the military. If you are on Active Duty (or reserve or National Guard), DANTES pays for the exams. Even better, in many cases, the exams come to you via on-base testing centers.
Where’s the cheap? Hey, free is absolutely the epitome of cheap.
Who is Eligible?
The following groups are eligible for the DANTES-funded exams:
- Military personnel (Army, Navy Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Army Reserve, Airo Force Reserve Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army and Air National Guard)
- Spouses and civilian employees (Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Coast Guard (active & reserve)).
Differences Between Military and Civilian Programs
When you actually want to end up using the units, you will need to request your transcript through the military. The military transcript now includes CLEP scores (and has since 1974). The cost is $30 (as of April 2014) for each transcript.
Unlike civilians, you might have access to free study materials. A visit to your base education center is definitely in order. DANTES provides reproducible copies of the study guides at no cost. Another stop, also for civilians, is your local library (either military or civilian).
A recent change, and a very cool one, is that some university-based testing centers are now piloting a new program. If you are eligible (via DANTES) for free exams, the university is also waiving its administrative fee as well. At this point, it is in the pilot stage, so you will want to ask whether your local university is part of the pilot.
What about Veterans?
While veterans are eligible to receive college credit for passing the exams, it is not nearly so cut-and-dried. You will want to check out the VA’s National Testing Program website.
The short version: You will need to pay up-front for the exam, but you can be reimbursed (if you are eligible for one of the GI Bill-type of programs). However, the VA has had so many different types of programs over the years, that you will want to ask before doing anything else. Better safe than sorry.
There are thirty-three CLEP exams available (as of April 2014) divided up into five content areas. They include:
- History & Social Sciences (American Government, History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877, History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present, Human Growth & Development, Intro to Educational Psychology, Introductory Psychology, Introductory Sociology, Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, Social Sciences & History, Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648, Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present)
- Composition & Literature (American Literature, Analyzing & Interpreting Literature, College Composition, College Composition Modular, English Literature, Humanities)
- Science & Mathematics (Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, College Algebra, College Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Precalculus)
- Business (Financial Accounting, Information Systems & Computer Applications, Introductory Business Law, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing)
- World Languages (French Language Levels 1 & 2, German Language Levels 1 & 2, Spanish Language Levels 1)
This is a very generous program (and you have certainly earned it), but it is limited. DANTES will pay for only the first attempt at a specific CLEP exam. So, for example, if you took and failed the American Literature exam, the next attempt will be paid for by you.
Also, if you fail, you must wait the six months before another attempt.
If you are looking for study guides to help you in passing exams, here is the Amazon search for you: CLEP Study Guides