a The major difference between regional and national accrediting agencies lies in the type of institutions that they evaluate and accredit. Regional agencies are responsible for accrediting public colleges and universities and major private, nonprofit institutions. National agencies accredit private, proprietary schools and specialty institutions such as correspondence schools.
a Penn Foster’s programs can be up to 70% less expensive than traditional brick and mortar schools, and each program has its own tuition with several payment options. Students can pay in full and receive a discount on their tuition or pay with monthly payments. An automatic payment plan is available, which also includes a discount on tuition. You can enroll in many of our programs for an average cost of $2 a day. Only a limited number of programs have one or two payment options.
a Study times vary by program, depending on the number of hours you can commit to studying each week. All of Penn Foster's programs are self-paced and flexible, to best fit your schedule.
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Do you have questions about the cost, or tuition, of a Penn Foster program? Browse the list of commonly asked questions below. These are general questions about Penn Foster, and are not program-specific. If you don’t see an answer to your questions, visit our program pages, or click on the blue box to the right and chat with one of our admissions advisors. You can even call us to talk to one of our advisors live.
q: Does Penn Foster provide laptops?
a: Computers are not provided. This is one of the ways Penn Foster is able to keep the tuition lower for our students.
q: Will my Mac® computer be compatible for the program?
a: This varies by program. Some programs can be completed on a Mac® computer. However, other programs have only portions of study that can be completed on a MAC,® and require a PC-based computer to complete the other portions of the program.
q: Is Penn Foster just an online school?
a: Most of Penn Foster’s programs require a computer and Internet access to be completed. However, many of the programs also include books/study units that are mailed to the students. Some programs also provide the opportunity to take work study or a practicum in the field.
q: Are there online classes?
a: There are no virtual classrooms, since Penn Foster is a self-paced school. There are some programs that have webinars the student must log into and attend. In addition, there are live Q&A webinars available on the Penn Foster Community Web site.
q: Can I do everything for my program online?
a: The amount of the work that can be completed online varies by program. Some programs can be completed entirely online, while others (primarily those that require textbooks or learning supplements) require a combination of online and “traditional” study.
q: Do I need a computer for my program?
a: Most of the programs offered through Penn Foster require access to a computer and the Internet, although there are some programs that do not require it.
q: Do Penn Foster's programs have videos?
a: Videos are included in some programs, but not all of them. There are also informational videos with students, instructors, and staff on the Community.
q: When do my classes start?
a: Penn Foster has open enrollment, which means classes start as soon as you enroll.
q: What is the age limit for Penn Foster's programs?
a: Penn Foster has minimum age requirements for each program, but we do not set a maximum age limit on any of our programs.
q: If I start a program and don't like it, can I switch to something different?
a: Yes. This would need to be done through the Student Services department. You can call Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm, Eastern Time.
q: How do I get started?
a: You can enroll over the phone, online, or through the mail.
q: Where can I find information on Penn Foster's International school and Penn Foster's Canada school?
a: You can find more information on Penn Foster's International school at http://pennfosterglobal.com/faq.html . For more information on Penn Foster's Canada school, go to http://www.icslearn.ca/faq.html .
q: How much do programs cost?
a: Penn Foster’s programs can be up to 70% less expensive than traditional brick and mortar schools, and each program has its own tuition with several payment options. Students can pay in full and receive a discount on their tuition or pay with monthly payments. An automatic payment plan is available, which also includes a discount on tuition. You can enroll in many of our programs for an average cost of $2 a day. Only a limited number of programs have one or two payment options.
q: Why isn't the high school program free like it is in school districts?
a: Penn Foster High School is a private school and funded through tuition paid by the students, unlike public schools that are funded from taxes paid by residents of that community.
q: Do you accept financial aid?
a: We do not accept financial aid, but we do have a number of convenient payment options available to assist students, including interest-free payment plans, student discounts and promotions, and overall low program costs.
q: Why are your programs so inexpensive?
a: Since Penn Foster does not have a brick and mortar campus that students need to attend, we are able to save money on operation costs and pass those savings on to our students. Penn Foster believes that every person has a right to get an education. Finances should not create a barrier between our students and their goals.
q: Is financial aid available for Penn Foster High School?
a: Penn Foster does not accept financial aid for our high school program, and neither do any other high schools nationwide. We do have a number of convenient payment options available to assist students, including interest-free payment plans, student discounts and promotions, and overall low program costs.
q: What happens if I miss a payment?
a: Don’t panic if you happen to miss a payment—Penn Foster’s Student Services is available Monday through Friday, 8am to 7pm (Eastern time) to help you with any payment questions. Students who miss a payment also have a grace period.
q: What if I want to pay off my tuition within the next several months? Will I get the pay-in-full discount?
a: In order to receive the pay-in-full discount, the program would have to be paid in full at the time of enrollment. You can increase your tuition savings by enrolling in our automatic payment plan.
q: If I finish my semester but I still owe money, will my payment go up?
a: That depends on how much money you owe from your previous semester in the degree program, as well as the cost of the next semester, which is different for each degree program based on the number of credits required for each semester.
q: If I don't like or finish my program, how much will I have to pay?
a: The programs are prorated, so once 50% or more of the coursework is completed, the student is responsible for paying for the entire program. For example, if a student completes 25% of the coursework, they would be responsible for 25% of the program cost.
q: Can the minimum monthly payment be set higher when enrolling, if I request to make the payments higher?
a: Yes, but keep in mind when you enroll that it is better to put more money into your down payment up front, in order to lower your interest-free monthly payments right from the start.
q: I am using my GI Bill. Why do I still have to make a down payment?
a: The GI Bill is set up so that a student makes a down payment and regular monthly payments and is reimbursed quarterly as they complete their program.
q: What types of military benefits do you accept?
a: Penn Foster has a longstanding, valued relationship with the military and accepts a variety of military benefits for most programs, including the Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill, VA Spousal/Child Benefits, Tuition Assistance, MyCAA, AVOTEC, and DANTES. Active and former military personnel are encouraged to contact Penn Foster to speak with a representative to determine their individual options.
q: What is the difference between regional and national accreditation?
a: The major difference between regional and national accrediting agencies lies in the type of institutions that they evaluate and accredit. Regional agencies are responsible for accrediting public colleges and universities and major private, nonprofit institutions. National agencies accredit private, proprietary schools and specialty institutions such as correspondence schools.
q: Is Penn Foster accredited?
a: Penn Foster is nationally and regionally accredited for our high school and career school programs. We are nationally accredited for our college programs.
q: If Penn Foster College is not regionally accredited, will I still be able to get a job or transfer credits to another college after I complete a degree program?
a: Penn Foster College is nationally accredited, and our college graduates have been able to gain employment and transfer credits to other colleges and universities upon completion of our degree programs. However, these decisions are up to the discretion of the colleges, universities, or individual employers, and students should check with those entities to determine if they will be able to transfer credits or use their degree in a satisfactory capacity.
q: Once I complete my program, am I qualified to immediately enter my vocational field? If not, what other steps do I need to take to get certification or licensure?
a: Certification and licensure requirements will vary depending on the program, vocational field, and state. Students should check with the governing body in their state that oversees their field of interest, to determine their state’s requirements.
q: Will I be able to use your program as certification to work in my state?
a: This will depend on the program, as some states may require additional education or may have requirements our programs do not meet. Students are encouraged to check with the governing body in their state that oversees their vocational field to determine what their state’s requirements are.
q: How does Penn Foster teach trade-related programs online without hands-on training?
a: Penn Foster’s trade-related programs give students the functional knowledge and theories behind practical skills needed to work in their vocational field. In addition, several programs contain practical exercises, which are a combination of a suggested activity and a required examination. Many programs also contain a work experience option, which allows students to apply the skills they’ve learned by doing real-life, hands-on exercises at a facility in their local community.
q: How do I take my tests in the high school and career programs?
a: Exams can be taken online for all programs. Some programs offer exams by mail, while some will require exams to be done online.
q: How do I take my tests in the degree programs?
a: Degree programs often have proctored exams at the end of each semester that must be taken in a public building with a proctor present during the exam. These cannot be taken online. Other course exams are different depending on the subject. Many exams can be taken online. Some courses are graded based on projects, not exams. In most cases these projects are completed on your computer and then uploaded to the school’s Web site.
q: How long does a program take to complete?
a: Study times vary by program, depending on the number of hours you can commit to studying each week. All of Penn Foster's programs are self-paced and flexible, to best fit your schedule.
q: What will I get when I finish the high school program?
a: When you complete the high school program, you will receive a nationally and regionally accredited diploma.
q: What will I get when I finish a career diploma program?
a: When you complete a career diploma program, you will receive a nationally and regionally accredited career diploma.
q: What will I get when I finish a Bachelor's degree or Associate degree program?
a: When you complete one of the degree programs, you will receive a nationally accredited degree.
q: What will I get when I finish a certificate program?
a: When you complete one of the certificate programs from Penn Foster Career School, you will receive a regionally and nationally accredited certificate of completion.
q: How long has Penn Foster been in business?
a: Penn Foster has been in operation since 1890.
q: How do I get "hands-on" training in my program?
a: Many programs offer hands-on training opportunities in a variety of ways, including work experience options, practical exercises, practicums, and residential labs.
q: When can I call Student Services?
a: Student Services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm, Eastern Time.
q: Will there be instructors to help me, and how do I contact them?
a: Yes, instructors are available over the phone Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm, Eastern Time. They are also available through email and typically respond within 24 hours. You can even contact instructors on the Community by sending a message or joining a discussion group.
q: Will college credits from Penn Foster transfer into another college degree program?
a: Penn Foster college credits have been accepted for transfer into colleges across the country. Students should check with a specific college to see if they accept our credits, as credit transfer can vary depending on the school. Also, many of Penn Foster’s individual courses are recognized by the American Council on Education’s Credit Recommendation Service for potential transfer.
q: Will Penn Foster accept my college credits from a different college or university?
a: Yes, degree students can have prior coursework that was completed at an accredited college or university evaluated for potential credit transfer into one of our college programs. You must have a minimum grade of “C,” and up to 75% of required credits may be transferred. If you wish to receive credit, contact the college you attended and request for your official transcript(s) to be sent to Penn Foster College for evaluation. All approved transfer credits will be deducted from your tuition.
q: How long are the proctored exams in the degree program?
a: Degree students must complete proctored exams at the end of each semester. A proctored exam is approximately one hour in length, and students are typically required to take between two and four proctored exams on various subjects at the end of each semester.
q: Why doesn't every college or university accept Penn Foster's High School Diploma?
a: Acceptance of a high school diploma can vary based on the college or university. There is a list of 152 schools that have accepted Penn Foster’s High School Diploma listed on our Web site in the "How It Works" Section. Go to the Transferring Credits page, and see the heading, "Continuing your education beyond high school."
q: Why don't you offer any AP (Advanced Placement) courses for the High School Diploma?
a: The Penn Foster High School curriculum was designed to meet minimum standard requirements of the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools, which does not require AP courses. However, individual AP courses are available through our HCC division.
q: I can't get my high school transcript because the school is closed. What do I do?
a: Students looking to obtain transcripts from a high school that is no longer open should contact their state Board of Education.
q: Will you accept high school transcripts from other countries?
a: Yes. However, if the transcript is in a language other than English, we will need an official English translation of the transcript in order to evaluate it.
q: Do you offer a GED?
a: Penn Foster does not offer a GED. We offer a regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma. Many colleges and employers place greater value and emphasis on a high school diploma earned from a regionally accredited institution, such as Penn Foster.
q: Will Penn Foster accept my transferred credits from a different high school?
a: To receive transfer credits, an official transcript from an accredited institution recognized by Penn Foster must be submitted for evaluation. Transfer credits will be awarded for comparable high school subjects where a full credit has been earned. Since high school programs vary, only an evaluation by Penn Foster will determine the actual number of transfer credits to be awarded. The maximum number of transfer credits allowed is 16.
q: If I fail a course, do I have the opportunity to retake it?
a: Yes students may retake a failed course. The cost of re-taking a core course is $25.00, and the cost of re-taking an elective is $50.00.
q: Is Penn Foster High School accredited? Will colleges accept my diploma?
a: Yes, Penn Foster High School is accredited for grades nine through adult by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The school is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council and licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools. There is more information on Penn Foster High School's accreditation page. It is up to the individual college as to whether they will accept your diploma, but Penn Foster graduates have gone on to study at hundreds of universities nationwide.
q: What is the format of exams? Multiple choice? Short answer? Number of questions?
a: Exam format and length are at the discretion of the instructor. Typically, exams will be either multiple choice or short essay. Multiple choice exams are generally in the range of 25 questions, but again this is up to the discretion of the instructor.
q: What is the difference between a high school diploma and a GED?
a: A high school diploma generally represents 12 years of completed schooling and proficiency in core subjects as required by that state. The General Educational Development test (GED) is a content-based test that measures high school knowledge in five specific areas.
q: Are tools included with the programs?
a: Tools are included with some of the programs. The tools included are for required, hands-on exercises for certain courses.
q: I want to take your certificate program so I can be certified in a particular field. How will the certification work?
a: Penn Foster’s certificate programs are generally geared toward people who already work in that field and do not always offer certification. If certification is offered with a program, it will be listed on the program page on our Web site. Certification is generally given out by the state governing body for a career field.