MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Service members who use tuition assistance or the Montgomery G.I. Bill to pay for college have their financial worries diminished, but they still have to put in the time and energy to achieve their education goals.
There is an alternative to the classroom that can significantly decrease the money and especially the time spent in class and still helps service members earn their degree.
“The College Level Examination Program enables students to earn credits for knowledge they already have,” said David Terry, the electronic based test program manager, Hawaii Pacific University’s military campus program.
The five National Testing Centers provided for the military on Oahu conduct weekly CLEP tests with more than 34 subjects available.
There are five general subject tests that are each worth six credit hours: English composition, humanities, natural sciences, college mathematics, social sciences/history. The other tests are subject specific, such as algebra, biology or American literature.
“All you have to do is study for a week, take the test and you basically skip out on 12 weeks of class,” said Sgt. Wayne Welty, a security noncommissioned officer with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, who has taken several CLEP tests. “It’s well worth your time.”
Normally CLEP tests can cost up to $120 for civilian students, but for service members they are absolutely free.
“It’s actually beneficial for both the student and the government,” said Terry. “It costs the government only $60 per test, compared to $350 of tuition assistance for one class that is worth the same amount of credits.”
If a service member is interested in taking a CLEP test and wants to prepare accordingly, there are many places with study tools to help him.
Study guides can be located through library systems on base, or on the internet at www.collegeboard.com, which contains practice tests, study guides and links to many more study tools. Other study materials can be found at a local base joint education center.
“You have to study for these tests,” said Welty, who is currently studying to take the literature exam. “You can’t just walk in and take them on a whim.”
To pass the CLEP, the student has to score at least 50.
“A 50 is the equivalent of a C on a college-level grading scale,” said Terry.
Once a service member has prepared for the test the next thing is to schedule it. To schedule a test, call 808-544-9313 or send an email to mcp_clep@HPU.edu requesting the date, time the test they want to take and personnel contact information. A representative will call to confirm the date and time.
Testing sessions are held at 8:30, and 10:30 a.m. Walk-ins are also welcome at 1-2:30 p.m. at all five locations on their specific testing days.
The test centers are at the following locations; Naval Base Pearl Harbor Tuesdays and Thursdays at building 269, Hickam Air Force Base Mondays and Wednesdays at hangar 2, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay Thursdays at building 219, Tripler Army Medical Center Fridays at building 102 and Schofield Army Base Tuesdays and Fridays at building 560.
“If you put in the time to study and keep on track with it, these tests can save you weeks and weeks of effort,” Welty said. “If you do enough, you can CLEP up to 30 credits.”
For more information, call or email David Terry at 808-543-8056, DTerry@hpu.edu. Call 457-1232 or visit the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Joint Education center in building B220. The JEC here is located on the second deck of building one.