$10 College Credits

Scheduled for June 15, 2009 4:28PM

The following Information was presented by Bill Conner at the July 8th Greene County Democrats Club Meeting:

Federally Developed and Administered Home Study College Courses for Credit at $10 per Credit Hour

College tuition costs have escalated to the point that a college education (even at public institutions) is beyond the means of many people. College courses through at least the first two years of technical degree programs are standard across universities and supported by very good text books.

We should create a national program to allow students to get credit for courses by home study and passing locally proctored tests. This credit should be recognized by all state universities. After a short period of initial program development, the cost of the program should be borne by the fees charged to the students. The course development costs would be minimal (a few cents) when spread over the large student group. Test development would be a little more (a dollar or two per student). Where multiple choice tests are appropriate, tests would be optical scan machine graded at minimal cost. The largest cost would be for tests which must be hand graded.

Some courses require a student/instructor interaction and would not be amenable to home study.  Other courses may be supported by recorded lectures.  In a given course, some students may thrive in a home study environment while others may need the traditional classroom setting.  The idea is for the student to use the home study approach where it works for him and thereby cut the cost of his education.

Other organizations may offer tutoring and/or organized classroom support for these programs.  The total cost could still be a fraction of the cost of a course at a state university.

If properly administered, credits obtained from this program will likely be better regarded than credits from colleges where the standards are uncertain.

More detailed thoughts:

1. A very detailed synopsis would be developed for each course. It would include a list of recommended textbooks which cover all of the course material.

2. As with a typical university course, there would be two or three interim tests and a comprehensive final.

3. A course grade would be assigned (A, A-, B+, …)

4. Certified volunteer proctors would be sought to administer the tests in local high schools, community colleges, civic centers, etc.

5. Qualified volunteer tutors would be sought.

6. Target cost would be $10 per credit hour.

7. Materials would typically be emailed to the student.

8. Sample problems with solutions would be provided for technical courses (like Schaum’s Outline).

9. Tests would not be released to the student to preclude the building of test files.

10. Recorded lectures may be valuable to some courses.

A college instructor told me that he wouldn’t support me because of this proposal.  He said that a young person needs instructors and the “College Experience”.  This program is not designed for those who want and can afford four or more years of the “College Experience”.  It is for those who can not get a college education otherwise or want to avoid oppressive education loans.   It will allow them to avoid the high tuition for one third to one half of a college degree.  It will, in all likelihood, increase the demand for the traditional university courses because more students will pursue degrees.  It will help us meet the national need for a more educated workforce.