INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI/Purdue) — Purdue president Mitch Daniels announced a new program that will make college more affordable for students who live in rural and inner-city communities. The program is called Purdue Fast Start and is 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 (CLEP) exams.
This program was made possible through Purdue university's partnership with Modern States.org. The website has 30 free online courses that will prepare students to take the college level examination program classes otherwise known as CLEP. When students pass five of these examinations they will automatically be admitted to Purdue University. While these tests would usually cost the students money, that’s not the case with this program. Modern States will pay for students to take the tests. This is something Purdue University President, Mitch Daniels says will make college more accessible to students who live in rural and inner-city communities.
“We are not only trying to provide them with a first-class education but every day, to try and instill in them the confidence that, yeah, you belong," said Daniels.
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. Every individual CLEP passed is a big savings as well. The Fast Start option also can move them toward early graduation and early entry into the workforce. Modern States.org is giving Purdue a one-million-dollar gift, allowing for up to ten-thousand CLEP exams to be given to Indiana students free of charge.
"There is a test fee that college board charges and we've been reimbursing that at modern states and we are going to do a special gift to support Purdue," said Steve Klinsky the CEO of Modern States.
Modern State's website has free courses students can take to prepare themselves for the CLEP test. Once students have completed the online course they can apply for a voucher to take the CLEP test for the subject they study. The goal is to encourage more students in rural and inner-City areas to attend college.
"We hope that this will lead to a significant increase in young people who otherwise may not even make the attempt, to know that there is a way to Purdue for them,” added Daniels.
Rural school advocates say this program will not only be beneficial to students but rural communities in general.
"We think this is a great opportunity for students... but also for adults who might be looking to get those additional few credits to get the confidence to move on to an associate’s degree and eventually bachelors," said Chris Lagoni the Executive Director of the Small and Rural Schools Association.
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 the fall of 2020, with the first students being granted admission for the fall 2021 semester.
For more information, go to the Fast Start website at https://purdue.university/faststart.