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3 tips for making college affordable

February 5, 2016

by Shawn Blenker, Director of Admissions

College is a valuable investment, but recently there’s been a great deal of discussion about student loan debt and the increasing cost of a college education. At NNU, not only do we offer every federal opportunity available to your student in addition to internal scholarships, but there are other things you and your son or daughter can be doing now to help make college more affordable. Here are three things you can do to make college more affordable:

1. Concurrent Credit
Most high schools have partnerships with local colleges that position students to earn credit toward both high school and college graduation. Typically, the price for these college credits will be some of the most affordable credits a student will ever earn. Some school districts even go one step farther and send their students to a local community college to earn dual credit. Students in this environment are given the opportunity to earn college credit and grow acclimated to the college learning environment with the continued support of their family at home.

NNU’s concurrent credit program allows students to earn college credit while taking classes in their high school. Students can earn up to an associate degree, or the equivalent of two years of college credit. Each student needs to coordinate with their high school to ensure that NNU courses can be counted toward their high school diploma. If concurrent credit is not available at the school, students can enroll in NNU Online for dual high school and college credit if their high school allows. These students also have the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit. If you are interested, we offer an extremely flexible delivery system and, at $315 per credit, another opportunity for students to begin driving down the total cost of a college degree. You can register for courses online.

2. Test for credit
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Advanced Placement (AP) courses that have been around for decades. Just like concurrent credit courses, AP courses are a very efficient way to earn college credit. High schools offer AP courses that count for high school credit. At the end of the course, students have the opportunity to take an additional test for college credit scored on a 1-5 scale. Every college/university has their own policy concerning what score students need to achieve to receive college credit. At NNU, a score of three or higher will earn credit for most classes other than sciences which require a four or five. Depending on the AP course, students may receive up to six credits for an AP exam.

Additionally, students can earn up to 18 credits using the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). CLEP tests may be used to receive college credit before or after enrolling at a university. For more information about CLEP exams visit collegeboard.com/clep. To schedule a CLEP test at NNU’s Center for Academic Success and Advising (CASA), email studenttesting@nnu.edu or call 467-8463. NNU will also accept International Baccalaureate (IB), Dantes (DSST) and credit by examination. A maximum of 25% of the total credits required for a degree may be earned using a combination of these various exams at NNU.

3. Finish Strong
The two previous points focus on earning affordable credits for college while in high school, but one of the best things your child can do to make college more affordable happens every day of his or her high school career. The top determining factor for any scholarship is the combination of GPA and test score (ACT or SAT) a student receives. Universities all over our country, including NNU, reward students for their efforts on standardized tests and in the classroom.

Encourage your children to finish their high school career fully engaged and take standardized tests more than once. NNU super scores the results, meaning we combine the highest scores from each section of either the ACT or SAT regardless of test date in order to give students the highest possible composite score. With our scholarships being renewable all four years of the traditional undergraduate experience, our highest academic scholarship offers students $56,000 in aid!

In summary, making college affordable and attainable is achieved with a well thought out strategy that includes any or all of the three points listed above. For more information or to discuss your personal situation, feel free to contact the NNU Office of Admissions.

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