Redefining Affordable Dual-Enrollment Options for Homeschool Students
I am frequently asked questions about the price of our college-credit courses.
One of the most frequent is, “$75? How did you come up with that?”
Well, we started TEL Library knowing that we wanted our courses to be “truly affordable.” By that, we meant that anyone could take a 3-credit-hour course for a price that would not force them to borrow money or make any unreasonable sacrifices.
But how much would that be?
To help us find an answer, we spoke to young working adults who had struggled financially. We asked them how much they could afford over a four-month period. We emphasized that it had to be based on an amount they could put aside each month without giving up anything essential.
The final answer? $75.
That was a price that almost anyone could afford. It was also a price that would allow us to meet our goal of making an entire year of college credit (10 courses) available for less than $1,000. At that price, we knew we could provide an affordable pathway toward a college degree and save students thousands of dollars in the process.
Of course, we didn’t simply want to be inexpensive. We also set out to design high-quality courses that would lead to learner agency and concept mastery. To accomplish that design goal, we created a curriculum development process that begins with evidence-based learning outcomes. These are mapped to all assessments and activities and can be aligned easily to state and national standards. This allows us to offer our courses as dual-enrollment solutions.
We also focused heavily on delivering a learning-content experience that promotes student agency and application. To support that goal, we use rubric-based evidence activities that promote demonstrable mastery of course concepts.
But it isn’t enough for our courses to be well-designed. Quality educational experiences also include strong instructional services and support. That’s why, in addition to the instruction provided through our curriculum and course instructors, we also provide quick feedback and guidance through our instructional and technical support teams.
Finally, affordability doesn’t mean much if a product isn’t widely accessible. We provide accessible, print-ready versions of all course materials to support that requirement. This allows students with low or no connectivity to work offline or study using a print format.
And, in case you’re wondering, the answer is “Yes. we offer all of that for $75.”
Because if we want to give everyone a chance to start their college study, we need to reach people where they are at a price they can truly afford.
Rob Reynolds, Ph.D.
Executive Director, TEL Library