A record 8,084 students earned college credit while in high school in the last school year according to the Louisiana Department of Education. The number of Louisiana students earning college credit increased 51-percent since last year, 558% since 2015.

Assistant Superintendent Ken Bradford says it’s an incredibly valuable program that can save students and their families a lot of money.

“The cost of an exam is 89 dollars, and those students are receiving anywhere from three to fourteen college credit hours.”

He adds the 89 dollar fee is often paid for by the school system.

Before a student can take a CLEP exam, they must take a special high school course that meets criteria set out by national accrediting organizations. Bradford says they’ve made a point to have those more available locally.

“These are students who are taking either a gifted and talented course, an honors course, or in some cases, they are taking a dual enrollment course.”

The CLEP tests are graded on a 20 to 80 scale, with 50 being a passing grade. Bradford says for the students who pass, doors can start opening across the country.

“The great thing about the CLEP exam is that one you get that score of 50 or higher, these credits are accepted at 2,900 institutions in the United States.”

18,102 students total took CLEP exams, with 45 percent of them passing the 50 score needed to receive the college credits. The lowest pass rate for any class taken by more than a thousand students was US History II at 29 percent.