Frequently Asked Questions | Penn Foster High School
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about tuition, accreditation, or enrollment? Browse the list of commonly asked questions below. You’ll find answers to your questions about the Penn Foster High School program.

Q. How much do programs cost?
A. Penn Foster High School offers affordable tuition with several payment options with 0% interest. Students can pay in full for the lowest tuition, or pay in monthly installments. An automatic payment plan is available, which also includes additional savings for the student. Visit our tuition page for more details.
Q. Why isn’t the high school program free like it is in school districts?
A. Penn Foster High School is a privately licensed school, and funded through tuition paid by the students, unlike public schools that are funded from taxes paid by residents of that community. Learn more about our accreditation and licensing.
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 payment plans with 0% interest, and overall low costs. Learn more about our tuition payment options.
Q. Why are your programs so inexpensive?
A. Since Penn Foster does not have a physical location that students need to attend, we are able to save money on operation costs and pass those savings onto our students. Penn Foster believes every student has a right to get an education. Finances should not be a barrier for our students obtaining their goals.
Q. What happens if I miss a payment?
A. Don’t panic if you miss a payment! Penn Foster’s Student CARE team is available Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm (Eastern time) to help you with any payment questions. Students who miss a payment also have a grace period. Learn more about how to contact Student CARE.
Q. What if I want to pay off my tuition early? Will I get the pay-in-full rate?
A. In order to receive the pay-in-full rate, 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. Can the minimum monthly payments be set higher when enrolling, if I request to make the payment higher?
A. Yes, but keep in mind when you enroll that it is better to put more money into your initial payment up front in order to lower your monthly payments right from the start.
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 online or correspondence schools. Learn more about Penn Foster High School’s accreditation.
Q. Is Penn Foster High School accredited?
A. Yes, Penn Foster High School is regionally accredited for grades 9 through adult by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (CESS-MSA) and nationally accredited by the AdvancEd Accreditation Commission and by the Distance Education Accrediting Commision (DEAC).
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 requirement for Penn Foster’s programs?
A. To enroll in Penn Foster High School, students must have completed the 8th grade.
Q. If I start a program and I don’t like it, can I switch to something different?
A. Yes. This would need to be done through the Student CARE department. You can call Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, Eastern Time. Learn more about how to contact Student CARE.
Q. How do I get started?
A. You can enroll over the phone, online or through the mail. Click ENROLL NOW button on any page to start the enrollment process, or call the phone number at the top of the screen.
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 can 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. Learn more about our transfer credit policy.
Q. How do I request my official Penn Foster transcript?
A. You can submit a request here to have a copy of your official Penn Foster transcript sent to you.
Q. I can’t get my high school transcript because my former school 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. 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. However, Penn Foster students are eligible for a discount through Apple and Dell. Visit our student discounts page for more information.
Q. What type of computer or software do I need for the program?
A. Penn Foster High School students will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later. You’ll also need high-speed internet access to begin your program and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.
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 that students must log into and attend. In addition, there are live Q&A webinars available through your student portal.
Q. Can I do everything for my program online?
A. The amount of work that can be completed online varies by program. Some high school programs can be completed entirely online, while others may require physical textbooks.
Q. Do I need a computer for my program?
A. Penn Foster require access to a computer, tablet or mobile device that can connect to the internet.
Q. Do Penn Foster’s programs have videos?
A. Videos are included in some courses, but not all. There are also instructional videos with students, instructors and staff on the Community.
Q. How long does the high school program take to complete?
A. Completion times vary depending on the student, and how many hours you can commit to studying each week. All of Penn Foster’s programs are self-paced and flexible, to best fit your schedule. Also, because we accept valid transfer credits, the number of credits each student needs for graduation varies from 5.5 - 21.5 credits.
Q. Why doesn't every college or university accept Penn Foster High School’s diploma?
A. Acceptance of a high school diploma can vary based on the college or university. No form of accreditation can guarantee that any learning institution or employer will accept the high school diploma. For a list of schools where Penn Foster High School graduates attended, click here.
Q. Do you offer any AP (Advanced Placement) courses for the HIgh School diploma?
A. The Penn Foster High School curriculum was designed to meet the minimum standards required by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools, which does not require AP courses. However, individual AP courses are available. Visit our individual courses page for more information.
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. 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. 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. Penn Foster HIgh School is regionally accredited for grades 9 through adult by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (CSS-MSA) and nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Learn more about our accreditations here.
Q. Do you offer a GED?
A. Penn Foster does not offer a GED. We offer a regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma.
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. How long has Penn Foster been in business?
A. Penn Foster was established in 1890, and we have a strong history of helping distance learners obtain their diploma from home.
Q. When can I call Student Services?
A. Student CARE is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Eastern time. Learn more about how to contact Student CARE.
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 9am to 6pm Eastern time. They are also available through email, and typically respond within 24 hours. You can even contact instructors directly in your lessons.
Q. What type of military benefits do you accept?
A. Many Penn Foster programs are approved for veteran’s education benefits. Reservists may also qualify for veteran’s education benefits. If you think you may be eligible, or would like more information, you can check with your local or regional VA office, or call Penn Foster at 888-427-2900 to speak with a VA support specialist.
Penn Foster also accepts MyCAA benefits that are available to military spouses. Call 800-238-9554 for more information or to enroll using MyCAA benefits. Visit our military benefits page for additional information.
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