Purdue University has announced what it calls an innovative program to help Indiana high school students earn up to a year’s worth of college credit for free through a vast digital library of college courses, which could save students and families thousands of dollars.
The program, called Fast Start, is a partnership with New York-based nonprofit Modern States Education Alliance.
Purdue says Fast Start is available to all residents of Indiana but will be especially beneficial to students in rural Indiana that often lack access to Advanced Placement courses.
“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,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Too many young Hoosiers miss out on college either because of its cost or simply a disbelief that they can succeed there.”
The founders of Modern States, Steve and Maureen Sherry Klinsky, have also given Purdue $1 million to cover the cost of 10,000 College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam fees for Indiana students.
CLEP exams allow incoming college students to show they have mastered an introductory college course instead of taking the class itself. Students are charged a test fee of $89 per course.
“Modern States and my family are pleased to partner with Purdue to make college more attainable for students throughout Indiana,” said Steve Klinsky, founder and chief executive officer of Modern States. “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.”
Purdue has also committed to assure admission to the university system to students who pass a minimum of five CLEP exams through the program.
Purdue says Hoosier students who take the online courses and CLEP exams at no cost could save their family thousands of dollars in tuition. Passing five CLEP exams, which is equivalent to one semester, can save about $11,000 in college costs.
The Fast Start program launches in the fall of 2020, with the first students being granted admission for the fall 2021 semester.