2022 Debt Avoidance education

Back to School #3: 5.5 Years of College in 5 Months for $714!

Selfie Time at La Isla Mall in Merida, Yucatan

Millionaire greetings from steamy Merida, Yucatan.  We’re currently on a five-month adventure in Mexico with plans of traveling to Campeche, Chiapas, and Quintana Roo.  (Obviously, this is having a negative effect on my blogging productivity!

Before we hit our FIRE number, we were Travel Rewards Millionaires.
Here are the referral links for the credit cards we currently use:
"Flexible" Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards * Capital One Reward Miles
Hotel Points & Airline Miles
IHG One Rewards * British Airways * Southwest Airlines
Credit Tradelines & Referrals
Capital One * Savor One * Discover ($100 bonus)
Business Cards
Hilton Honors * Capital One Spark * Southwest Airlines
234x60 Tradelines Made Easy

My Experiment Ends
On April 4th, 2022, I took and passed my last CLEP exam, the College Composition Modular exam.  After completing the exam, I decided to end my credit-acquisition experiment in order to focus on helping my son earn his college degree.  Naturally, he intends to earn his degree by using some sort of alternative-degree path.

All in all, I was 19 for 19 on my CLEP exams; I passed them all!  Overall, my credit-by-exam batting average is 1,000% (20 for 20) since I also passed a DSST test way back in 2011.  Here are the CLEP exams that I took:

My CLEP Transcript:  19 for 19!

Full disclosure:  I chickened out on the College Mathematics CLEP exam since I don’t remember anything about math.  Bawk, bawk!

My Final Transcript
If you read the first two posts of this series (#1#2), you know that I earned years of college in a very short time.  How many college credits did I earn? How fast was I able to earn these credits?  Allow this table to do the talking:

Doing the Impossible: 5.5 Years of College in 5 Months
Institution
Credit Hours
Time
CLEP Exams via Modern States
81 credit hours
35 Days
ACE courses via Sophia Learning
68 credit hours
66 Days
Cybersecurity ACE courses via TEEX
11 credit hours
36 Days
Personal Finance course via DSST
3 credit hours
1 Day
Quantitative Reasoning course via SeeMore Impact Labs
3 credit hours
6 Days
Total
166 credit hours = 5.5 Years
144 Days = 4.8 Months
Final Excelsior College Transcript (PDF file)
Credly Account (does not include CLEP credits)

Here’s a detailed breakdown of all the credits I earned during this experiment:

Complete List of All Credit Earned via Educational Alternatives
InstantCert (affiliate link) is a cost-effective way ($20 a month) to prepare for CLEP exams.
CLEP Exams (exam prep referral)
Score
Credit Hours
Date Earned
Social Sciences and History (#1)
69
6
6/2011
Humanities (#1)
65
3
10/2021
American Government
65
3
10/2021
Western Civilization I
65
3
10/2021
Western Civilization II
60
3
10/2021
Spanish with Writing Levels 1 & 2
77
12
10/2021
French Language Levels 1 & 2
65
9
11/2021
German Language
50
6
11/2021
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
67
3
11/2021
American Literature
54
3
11/2021
English Literature
60
3
11/2021
Educational Psychology
62
3
11/2021
Human Growth and Development
63
3
11/2021
Business Law
63
3
11/2021
Information Systems
64
3
11/2021
Management
66
3
11/2021
Marketing
65
3
11/2021
College Composition Modular
69
3
4/2022
Natural Sciences
59
6
4/2022
Total Credits via CLEP Exams = 81 Credit Hours = 2.7 Years of College
DSST Exam
Score
Credit Hours
Date Earned
Personal Finance
450
3
6/2011
ACE Courses via Sophia Learning, TEEX and SeeMore Impact Labs
Sophia Learning Courses
Grade
Credit Hours
Date Earned
Introduction to Information Technology
88
3
4/2020
U.S. History I
91
3
4/2020
U.S. History II
89
3
4/2020
Ancient Greek Philosophers
91
3
4/2020
Approaches to Studying Religions
94
3
4/2020
Art History I
92
3
4/2020
Human Biology
90
3
4/2020
Environment Science
88
3
5/2020
Art History II
91
3
5/2020
College Readiness
95
3
5/2020
Project Management
85
3
5/2020
Introduction to Business
90
3
5/2020
Essentials of Managing Conflict
91
1
5/2020
Developing Effective Teams
90
1
5/2020
Conflict Resolution
90
3
6/2020
Macroeconomics
84
3
6/2020
Microeconomics
82
3
6/2020
Introduction to Ethics
84
3
6/2020
Introduction to Psychology
94
3
6/2020
Introduction to Sociology
93
3
6/2020
Accounting
92
3
6/2020
Visual Communications
90
3
6/2020
Principles of Finance
88
3
3/2021
Introduction to Web Development
96
3
3/2021
Total Credits via Sophia Learning = 68 Credit Hours = 2.3 Years of College
TEEX Cybersecurity Courses
Grade
Credit Hours
Date Earned
Cyber Ethics
Pass
2
10/2020
Cyber Law and White-collar Crime
Pass
2
10/2020
Cyber Incident Analysis and Response
Pass
1
10/2020
Digital Forensics Basics
Pass
1
10/2020
Disaster Recovery for Information Systems
Pass
1
10/2020
Information Risk Management
Pass
1
10/2020
Introduction to Network Security
Pass
1
10/2020
Information Security Basics
Pass
1
10/2020
Secure Software
Pass
1
10/2020
SeeMore Impact Labs Course
Grade
Credit Hours
Date Earned
Quantitative Reasoning
Pass
3
3/2022
Total Credits via TEEX and SeeMore Impact Labs = 14 Credit Hours = About 1 Semester of College
Total Credit Hours Earned
166 credit hours = 5.5 Years of College
Final Excelsior College Transcript (PDF file)
Credly Account (does not include CLEP credits)

Total Costs
Unfortunately, my credit-acquisition experiment was not cost-free; it set me back a whopping $714.  In other words, my 5.5 years of college cost about $130 per year of college ($714 / 5.5 years).  Here’s a look at the costs for this experiment:

Total Costs for 5.5 Years of College via Alternative Methods
Institution
Total Cost
OneTranscript Service at Excelsior College
$275
DSST Fee for Personal Finance Exam
$100
CLEP Fee for Social Science and History Exam
$89
Proctoring Fees for 2 Exams at Valdosta State University ($20 per)
$40
Quantitative Reasoning course via SeeMore Impact Labs
$39
6 Transcript Updates at Excelsior College ($25 per)
$150
4 Transcript Updates via Parchment ($5.25 per)
$21
Grand Total for 5.5 Years of College
$714
Cost per Year of College = ($714 / 5.5 Years) = $130 per Year!

Do you like what you’re reading?  If so, check out my FAQ posts:

FAQ Posts
FAQ #1: How Do You Save So Much Money?
FAQ #4: How Did You Earn Such High Teaching Salaries?
FAQ #2: What Do You Live on?
FAQ #5: What About Health Insurance?
FAQ #3: How Do You Invest Your Money?
Coming Soon: FAQ #6: How Do You Make Your Financial Plan?

Final Thoughts
Ka-boom!  Now, that’s how you hack some college credit!  Of course, many of you are probably wondering why a FIREe in his 50’s would waste his time, money, and energy accumulating college credit that he has no plan of ever using.

There are two main reasons I did this.  First, I wanted to explore some alt-ed options for my son.  I’m happy to report that there are a ton of cost-effective ways to earn college credit.  Second, I won’t hide from the fact that I’m tired of watching young adults ruin their financial futures by signing up for student loans.  To. Hell. With. That!

I hope my credit-acquisition experiment inspires some of you to develop your own cost-effective alt-ed path.  If you like this post, please share it with someone who might benefit from this information.  Thanks for reading!

Yours in excessive college credit,

Gerry

Next Post:  Back to School #4:  If I Wanted Another College Degree…

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. This is good information for our sons. One of them asked – did you get a degree? If so, what was the degree and who did you go through? If not, is it because you are not able to find an accredited university that will honor your work and give you the degree you’ve earned?

    1. Greetings Boy Mom,
      For the record, I did not get another degree because at age 59.5 I’m tired of chasing certificates, diplomas, and degrees. However, if I did want to suck it up and go for another degree, I would enroll in Excelsior University and complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts degree. That won’t happen anytime soon because I’m working on a much bigger (and top secret) academic project. Give you sons my regards!
      G

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