Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced today the Purdue Fast Start program, designed to help Indiana high school students earn access to up to a year of college credit through free online courses and the corresponding College Level Examination Program exams.
The program is the result of a partnership with ModernStates.org, a philanthropy dedicated to making a college degree more affordable and accessible, according to a Purdue news release. Modern States will offer the free online courses and pay the test fee for up to 10,000 CLEP exams taken by those enrolled in the Fast Start program.
Fast Start is available to all residents of Indiana but will be especially beneficial to students in rural Indiana and those enrolled in inner-city schools that often lack access to the full offering of Advanced Placement courses, and those for whom college education is less affordable. Purdue will assure admission to students who pass a minimum of five CLEP exams through the program.
“Too many young Hoosiers miss out on college either because of its cost or simply a disbelief that they can succeed there,” Daniels said in the release. “Our Purdue-sponsored high schools are one attempt to open a new pathway to Purdue, and this new venture is another, with special relevance to rural and small-town youth.”
Steve Klinsky, CEO and founder of Modern States, said in the release, “Modern States and my family are pleased to partner with Purdue to make college more attainable for students throughout Indiana. Purdue has long been a leader in innovations to help students, and we hope this effort will both help families throughout the state and create a model for many other universities nationwide.”
The College Board, which administers Advanced Placement exams as well as the CLEP exams, announced earlier this month that the biggest shortage of advanced placement courses is in rural America.
CLEP exams can help students receive credit for up to 30 hours of general education courses, or about one full year of college credit. However, many students have been blocked in the past by lack of courses to learn the material and the $89 test fee per course.
ModernStates.org provides the necessary courses for free to everyone; the more than 30 courses are like a digital public library, and a new $1 million gift to Purdue from Steve and Maureen Sherry Klinsky will cover the cost of 10,000 CLEP exam fees for Indiana students, according to the release. Maureen Sherry Klinsky is a trustee of Modern States.
Passing five CLEP exams— the equivalent of one semester — can save students and their parents a semester, and almost $11,000. Passing 10 CLEPs — the equivalent of one full year — can save more than $21,000, according to the release. The Fast Start option also can move them toward early graduation and early entry into the workforce.
Purdue Fast Start will offer support to high school students enrolled in the program, helping guide them through taking courses and tests, and navigating admittance to Purdue. The students also will have access to Purdue alumni and friends for mentoring if desired. Once Fast Start students accept admission into Purdue, they will be known as Klinsky Scholars. The program officially launches in fall 2020, with the first students being granted admission for the fall 2021 semester.
As Purdue Fast Start begins outreach to prospective students this spring, Purdue Extension, which has offices in every Indiana county, will be a resource in helping reach students and their families.
ModernStates.org, with 200,000 registered users, is the largest “free college for credit” program in the nation, the release said. The professors who teach Modern States courses include experts from Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Tufts, George Washington University, American University, State University of New York and other leading universities.
Administered by the College Board, CLEP exams are similar to Advanced Placement exams. CLEP has historically been taken by adults, especially active duty military and veterans. Passing scores on CLEP exams are accepted for credit by more than 2,900 colleges and universities, and the exams have been used for more than 50 years.
For more information, go to the Fast Start website at https://purdue.university/faststart, or call 765-494-1776 or (for hearing impaired) 800-743-3333.