I am a big believer in finding ways to save money on college courses and researching cheap ways to earn college credit. This is especially true for the “gen ed” courses, the type of general, introductory courses that most college students take during their first two years. These courses are a cash cow for colleges, because virtually all of the students must take them, and they are a relatively low expense for the college because they usually consist of very large groups of students (at my sons’ school, it was common for some gen ed classes to have 400 or more students), and they are often taught—at least for the most part—by grad assistants.
One popular method of getting cheap gen ed credits is to go with the 2-and-2 plan, doing the first two years at a community college and then transferring to a four-year school.
But here’s another option: a company called StraighterLine specializes in offering cheap online gen ed classes for students who want to transfer those credits to another school.
You can take a full freshman year of courses for $999—less than the cost of a single 3-credit course at our state university.
A great bonus is that these courses are self-paced, so you can finish them as quickly (or slowly) as you want. If you’re a quick learner and/or are willing to buckle down and totally focus on your courses, it’s possible to knock out of all your freshman year credits in a short period. StraighterLine says there have been students who have finished an entire course in a week!
Right now, they are running a special promotion where you can try your first course free. (Note: I believe you still need to pay the $99 initial enrollment fee to sign up with StraighterLine, though.)