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Top Colleges That Accept CLEP 

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students to earn college credit based on previous knowledge through a variety of tests. It’s a great way to save time and money while working toward a degree because you can earn credit(s) for knowledge that you already have in particular subjects. The best part is that there are nearly 3,000 colleges that accept CLEP in the United States!

In this guide, we’ll share a sampling of the public, private, and online colleges that award credit for CLEP exams. If you have a specific school in mind, use this search tool to check the CLEP policies of individual colleges and universities. 

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Top public colleges that accept CLEP credits

1. University of Central Florida 

Boasting an undergraduate enrollment of over 60,000 students, UCF is one of the largest universities in the U.S. It’s also one of the most CLEP-friendly universities. UCF awards credit for all CLEP exams. To receive credit, students must earn a score of 50 or higher. Students cannot be within 60 credit hours of graduation when taking CLEP exams.

2. University of Wisconsin 

The University of Wisconsin is a large research institution with a flexible CLEP policy that grants credit for 13 different exams. Students must earn a minimum score of 65 in order to receive credit. They must also take CLEP exams before completing 16 semester hours of college credits. Test credits or college coursework taken in high school does not count toward the 16 semester hour requirement. 

3. University of Massachusetts 

Students at this large research university can choose from over 110 majors. They can also benefit from UMass’ generous CLEP policies, which grant credit for nearly every exam. To be eligible for credit, students must take CLEP exams before completing the majority of their general education requirements. They must earn a minimum score of 50 on most exams.

4. Ohio State University 

This iconic Big 10 school offers over 200 undergraduate majors, many of which can be chipped away at through CLEP. Ohio State recognizes about 30 CLEP exams, but students should note that passing scores are higher than average. For instance, students must earn a score of 65 or higher to receive credit for the Principles of Marketing exam. Check out the course catalog to view requirements for each individual exam. 

5. Purdue University 

Located in Indiana, Purdue is another well-known Big 10 school that offers well-respected engineering and business programs. The school awards credit for a wide variety of CLEP exams. Depending on the subject and the score, students can earn anywhere from 3 to 12 credits per exam. The higher your score, the more credit you can receive. 

6. Florida State University 

This public university in Tallahassee grants credit for 30 different CLEP exams. For the majority of Florida State exams, students can earn 3 credits if they achieve a score of 50 or higher. For world language exams, students can earn anywhere from 4 to 12 credits depending on their score. 

7. Texas A&M University

Founded in 1876, this well-known research institution is the oldest public university in the state. Texas A&M currently awards credit for 16 CLEP exams. Reach out to the university directly to learn more about its CLEP policies. 

8. University of Arizona 

The University of Arizona is a big-name public school that offers credit for over 30 CLEP exams. Minimum score requirements range from 46 to 68, depending on the exam. Credits earned through CLEP and other exams cannot exceed 60 units. 

9. Michigan State University

Students at this top-tier research university can benefit from flexible CLEP policies. MSU awards credit for most CLEP exams, and is particularly generous regarding world language exams. For instance, students can earn up to 16 credits if they earn a score of 59 or higher on the French Level II exam.

  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 38,424
  • Most popular field of study: Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication 

10. University of Kansas 

Located in the quintessential college town of Lawrence, Kansas, this research university offers credit for nearly all CLEP exams. For most exams, students can earn 3 credit hours with a score of 50 or above.

11. Penn State University

This Big 10 school is known for its robust engineering program and lively campus culture. Penn State grants credit for most CLEP exams, but students should be aware that tuition increases when transferring more than 59.1 credits earned from tests.

12. North Carolina State University

NC State is a leading research university known for its excellent STEM programs. The school currently recognizes 14 CLEP exams, but these policies are subject to change. NC State conducts periodic reviews of its CLEP policies, so contact the school directly for specific questions about course credit. 

13. Arizona State University 

ASU is a highly-regarded research institution located in Phoenix, Arizona. The university accepts credit from most CLEP exams, but students cannot fulfill general studies requirements in natural science, literacy, and critical inquiry through CLEP. Students can earn up to 60 credit hours from CLEP exams and other tests.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 64,216
  • Most popular field of study: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

14. Iowa State University

This Big 12 school recognizes 14 CLEP exams, but students should keep in mind that minimum passing scores are higher than other universities. Iowa is also stricter about which CLEP credits apply to engineering and biology majors. Regarding world language studies, the university encourages students to enroll in classes rather than take CLEP exams. 

15. Oklahoma State University

Another member of the Big 12 athletic conference, Oklahoma State grants credit for nearly 20 CLEP exams. Passing scores are typically 50, and the number of credit hours awarded range from 3 to 9. As long as students meet residence credit requirements, there’s no stated limit on the amount of CLEP credit that can be applied toward a degree.  

16. Colorado State University 

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, CSU is one of the nation’s top public research universities. The school recognizes all 34 CLEP exams, and the minimum passing score is 50 for most exams. CSU usually grants 3 to 6 credits for each exam, but students can earn up to 12 credits for advanced scores on world language exams. 

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  • Undergraduate enrollment:
  • Most popular field of study: 

17. University of Kentucky

Featuring more than 100 undergraduate majors, the University of Kentucky caters to students of all interests. It also has a generous test-for-credit policy that grants credit for roughly 20 CLEP exams. A passing score of 50 or above is considered acceptable for most exams.

  • Location: Lexington, KY
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 21,358
  • Most popular field of study: Marketing

18. Louisiana State University

Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this big-name public school grants credit for CLEP exams in 16 subject areas. However, LSU’s CLEP policies tend to change from year to year. Check the most recent course catalog for updated information on which CLEP exams are accepted. 

Top private colleges that accept CLEP credits

1. DePaul University 

Located in Chicago, DePaul University is the nation’s largest Catholic university. The school recognizes 25 CLEP exams, and typically awards 4 credit hours per exam. However, students can earn up to 12 credits for a score of 53 or higher on the biology exam. Additionally, students can earn up to 16 credits for advanced scores on world language exams. 

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 14,059
  • Most popular field of study: Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

2. University of New Haven 

This mid-sized university in Connecticut grants credit for CLEP exams with passing scores of 50 or better. The university accepts over 30 CLEP exams. Contact the University of New Haven directly to learn more about its CLEP policies. 

3. University of San Diego 

The University of San Diego is a private Catholic institution that offers credit for 15 CLEP exams. Minimum score requirements range from 45 to 60, depending on the exam. The university typically awards 3 credits per passed exam, but students can earn up to 8 credits for passing the General Chemistry exam. 

4. Elon University 

This mid-sized university in North Carolina grants credit for 3 CLEP exams — Sociology, English, and American Government. Students receive 4 credit hours per exam if they earn a score of 60 or above. 

5. Emerson College 

Located in Boston, Emerson College is a private school dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts. Emerson accepts CLEP credit, but their website does not provide information on how many exams they accept.

The College Board reports that Emerson accepts credit for most exams, but check with the Registrar’s Office for confirmation. Students are allowed to transfer a maximum of 32 credits from CLEP and other exams.

6. Drexel University 

Drexel University is a private research institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school accepts CLEP credits, but its website provides little information on its policies. According to the College Board, though, Drexel recognizes 20 CLEP exams. Reach out to Drexel directly for more information on its CLEP policies. 

Top online colleges that accept CLEP 

1. Excelsior University

Excelsior University is an accredited online institution offering associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The great thing about Excelsior is that its students are rewarded with credit for a variety of prior learning experiences. One of the ways students can benefit is by demonstrating their knowledge on CLEP exams. Excelsior has no limit on the number of credits that can be earned through CLEP. 

2. Thomas Edison State University

Based in New Jersey, this majority-online institution primarily serves the state’s adult learner population. Its generous CLEP policies allow students to receive credit for all exams. Students can earn 3 to 6 credit hours per exam, depending on the specific test. Check the course catalog for more information. 

3. Southern New Hampshire University 

Southern New Hampshire University is a private university that offers both in-person and online learning options. The school has a flexible test-for-credit policy that allows students to place out of college courses through CLEP and AP exams. Contact the school directly to learn more about how you can earn credit through CLEP. 

4. Western Governors University

Based in Utah, this private online university offers a variety of degree programs for business, information technology, nursing, and teaching. The school accepts credit for a variety of exams, including CLEP, AP, IB, and DANTES. Students seriously considering WGU should reach out to the school directly to learn more about its CLEP policies. 

Additional CLEP resources

If you’re thinking of taking CLEP exams, or have already taken them, we have a host of resources that can help you through the process. Here are a few articles to help you with any questions you may have:

Frequently asked questions about CLEP exams

How should I study for a CLEP exam?

The best way to study for a CLEP exam is to utilize the practice tests to quiz yourself and get familiar with the test format. The College Board also sells examination guides for the different exams, but there are still tons of free internet resources as well. 

Are AP exams better than CLEP exams?

It depends. Both are focused on one subject at a time, but AP exams are taken during your high school years while CLEP exams are taken during your undergrad. Also, people usually take CLEP exams if they have prior knowledge and experience that makes them confident the specific course isn’t necessary.

Are CLEP exams worth it?

Yes! While CLEP exams cost about $90 dollars each, it can be worth it in comparison to paying for a semester-long college course. You can also earn credit for any future courses you might take, and get one step closer to finishing your degree!