Initial CLEP Exams Are Free For Military Personnel

Initial CLEP Exams Are Free For Military Personnel
  • Opening Intro -

    Military personnel who are seeking to enter college may have quite a bit of life experience under their belts.

    That experience may be enough to fulfill some college credits without taking college courses, what the College Boards' CLEP (college level experience program) makes possible through testing.


Those tests (exams), when passed, may be substituted for credit at hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation, saving military personnel time and money.

CLEP Costs

CLEP exams cost money but for our men and women in uniform, the cost for taking any one of the 33 qualifying introductory-level subject exams can be waived. Through an arrangement with Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support (DANTES), active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel have their CLEP exam costs covered.

The coverage applies to Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard personnel as well as to members of the Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve and the Army and Air National Guard. Moreover, spouses and civilian employees of the the Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve qualify for CLEP fee waivers too.

DANTES Fee Waiver

Military personnel should know that their CLEP experience and the process for taking each 90-minute exam differs from the way that the civilian populace approaches these exams.

  • First, personnel must request their transcript through military channels.
  • Second, a military transcript order form must be completed and a $30 per transcript fee paid.
  • Third, study materials, typically available to CLEP takers for a fee, are available to military personnel through DANTES at no cost to them.

When the test day arrives, military personnel must bring special identification with them. This includes their Geneva Convention Identification Card and a second ID displaying a signature, such as a driver’s license or a passport. The DANTES Eligibility Chart provides additional information on IDs for active duty members, spouses, and for civil service civilian employees. Log on to DANTES to review that information.

CLEP takers must still pay an administrative fee, but that cost can be avoided if military personnel take their exams at DANTES-funded test centers. When signing up for CLEP, look for a “fully funded yes” designation to appear with the test center description. Choose that center and your fee will be waived.

First Exam Free

Under the military’s CLEP arrangement, the first exam attempt is free. Nonetheless, if military personnel want to retake a test previously funded by DANTES they must wait six months and pay both the $80 exam fee as well as the administrative fee. The administrative fee, however, is waived if the test is on base or is base sponsored.

Is CLEP worth it? Absolutely. If you have the experience and knowledge, then taking and passing at least some of those tests can shorten your college degree pursuit. You will also reduce your overall costs when you pursue CLEP through the DANTES program, yet another way to contain your higher education costs.

See AlsoCLEP Your Way to a College Degree


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