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Straighterline The Low Cost College Alternative

Updated on February 17, 2013

When I decided to go to Western Governor’s University I was surprised to find out that they would not accept me until I filled some prerequisites. I was surprised, because I already had over 150 credits on my transcript. They explained that these credits were over 20 years old, which meant that some could not be transferred. In short, they wanted me to retake College Algebra and a Biology course with a lab. This would qualify me to attend WGU so I had to do it.

The problem was I had no idea where to take the classes. I would not attend the local college. We’d had words the week before and I decided that their brand of education wasn’t for me. Then my WGU advisor told me about Straighterline.

The Straighterline Difference

Now Straighterline isn’t a college, but they boast that you can complete your first years college courses with them for $999. Now that’s quite the claim. I had no idea how they planned on doing this as my local university would charge at least four times that amount.

First I talked with their staff and decided that I would take both of my prerequisites with them and would try to complete within 30 days. I wanted to do this, because I wanted to start college in January of 2011. Plus the way they set up the program you pay $39/course plus $99/month. So my cost for the two courses would only be $177 plus $100 for the home laboratory kit for a grand total of $277. Now that’s a steal!

Such a steal that I thought that there’s no way that the curriculum could be worthwhile. I was wrong! The next day I logged into my courses an there before me was a curriculum that rivaled my alma mater’s. This was not going to be easy. The Algebra was challenging. I sat for weeks in my Lazy-boy with piles of paper surrounding me. I figured that with my science background I’d breeze through the bio course wrong again. These were real courses. Not watered down curriculum.

The big difference I witnessed with Straighterline is that they put the learning into my hands. They did offer online tutoring, which I did take advantage of, but for the most part it was up to me to pass. They can offer courses at such a low rate, because they don’t have to provide costly educators. The curriculum is your guide.

Straighterline Video

Straighterline Course Accreditation and Transferability

Straighterline will tell you straight up that their courses aren’t accredited. The organizations that accredited universities only accredited degree programs, not individual courses. This can make transferring your credits to a brick and mortar school a little more difficult.

I advise that you review their list of “Partner” schools as well as their list of conventional universities that accept transfer credits from Straighterline before you sign the dotted line. If your college of choice isn’t on the list, contact the college and ask that they review the courses that you wish to take online. If they will give you a letter stating that the credits qualify for transfer, then go for it.

My credits transferred over to WGU without any difficulties, but they are a partner school. That does make a big difference. If you aren’t set on a college and online schools are an option, I’d suggest looking over the partner list. There are some pretty impressive schools on there and I’m betting you can find you degree program.

How Long Did It Take Me?

I’ll admit it. I tried to complete two courses in 30 days, but it took me 45 days total. Still it only cost me $377 to take two 4 credit hour courses, one with a lab. I can see where the average student could pass 24 credit hours within a six month period, if they were dedicated.

Final Suggestions

Straighterline offers a great program! Be prepared to do real work on real courses. Also, if you intend to transfer your credits, review your courses with your school of choice whether they are on the partner list or not. Some colleges won’t allow you to transfer upper level courses.

Straitherline is a great program for those want to get their educational feet wet without the cost of a conventional university.


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    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 5 years ago from Northern California

      At least they were thinking about your needs and the usefulness of courses, it appears as pre-requisites. I have taken econ about 4 times and the Cal State wanted me to take it again. I asked why and I was told "because it is taught differently" . I said that may be true, but the content isn't any different. Long story short, schools sometimes make you want to pay more tuition for no reason so watch out and question it.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      Great work.

      I'm sharing this.

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      Wow that's awesome. Congratulations. I would like to go back to school myself.

    • profile image

      Steven 5 years ago

      Nice article, I also found this video introduction to StraighterLine:

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I give anybody credit who goes back to school. Kudos for you collegedad. I hope you hub persuades many (young and older to further their college education. Please keep us updated on your progress. Voted Up and Shared

    • profile image

      Milli Thornton 5 years ago

      Too bad their courses aren't accredited. Still, you've shared a good tip about reviewing their list of partner schools. I'm going to show my daughter this Hub just in case it helps with her adult education goals.

    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 5 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Thanks StegTo Differ! I didn't mention this in the hub, but high school kids can take courses through straighterline in preparation for online college. They just need to verify which schools will accept the courses. I know my daughter will take a few classes.

    • StegToDiffer profile image

      Spunk Nellie 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Informative article. Seems like tuition prices are only going to continue to skyrocket, and any high school senior would be smart to heed your advice and avoid wasting money on a university freshman year.