Frequently Asked Question About Online High School | Penn Foster
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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 does online high school cost?
A. Tuition for Penn Foster can vary based on credits an individual may have to transfer into the program. With affordable monthly payment options as low as $49 per month, students can pay toward their tuition while completing their coursework with 0% interest. We offer several payment plans so you can choose the one that works best for you. 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. Can I use tuition assistance benefits to enroll in Penn Foster programs?
A. Yes, you are able to use your company’s tuition assistance benefits to enroll in any of Penn Foster’s programs, provide that it is approved by your employer. We are able to process payments directly from your employer, or provide you with a price quote if you need it to get reimbursed. For more information or to enroll using your tuition assistance benefit, contact us at 800-737-8593.
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. Is Penn Foster High School accredited?
A. Yes, Penn Foster’s online High School is nationally accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and the AdvancEd Accreditation Commission, and regionally accredited through the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (CSS-MSA). For additional licensing and affiliation information, refer to the Penn Foster Accreditation Details.
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. Which colleges will accept an online high school diploma from Penn Foster?
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. We recommend checking with colleges and universities you are interested in attending to verify they accept the Penn Foster High School diploma before enrolling into the program. For a list of schools that Penn Foster graduates have been accepted to, click here.
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. What is the admissions process for the online high school diploma program offered through Penn Foster?
A. Enrolling into our accredited, online high school diploma program doesn’t require an application process. New students can enroll independently through the website or by calling to speak with an Admissions Specialist at 1-800-214-6230. Once a payment toward tuition has been made, the student can begin their studies right away.
Q. Does Penn Foster online High School accept transfer credits from other schools?
A. Penn Foster does accept credits from previous high schools, whether the student is a traditional or an adult learner. To transfer credits, an official, sealed transcript must be sent from the student’s previous school for evaluation. Credits from courses that are equivalent to the Penn Foster curriculum and that come from regionally accredited high schools will be considered for transfer. You can learn more about credit transfer here.
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. My High School recently closed, can I enroll at Penn Foster High School and graduate?
A. Penn Foster High School accepts credits from regionally accredited schools. If your school has recently closed or plans to close without your being able to complete your diploma, Penn Foster may be the right fit for you. Depending on several different factors in the transcript evaluation process, you may have the chance to continue where you left off with your studies. If you do not have transcripts, you can complete the full program and graduate.
Q. What's the age requirement to be an online high school student with Penn Foster?
A. There's no age limit; adults and non-traditional students are welcome to enroll in Penn Foster's online courses. However, traditional students enrolled into the online high school diploma to complete courses must be at least 13 years of age and have fully completed the 8th grade.
Q. Can adults enroll in online high school with Penn Foster?
A. Yes! Penn Foster's online diploma program is open to any student 13 years or older who has completed the 8th grade. As an adult learner, you can finish the credits you need or even complete the entire high school program from home around your work schedule and without worrying about being in classrooms with students significantly younger than you.
Q. Can I use Penn Foster High School to homeschool my child?
A. Yes! Penn Foster’s online curriculum is up-to-date with the courses taught in most high schools across the country. Penn Foster is self-paced, so your student can move through coursework at a speed that is right for them. This is particularly convenient for young athletes or performers, who may be travelling or training in their particular sport and unable to attend a traditional Monday-Friday school. Read more about using our high school for homeschooling here.
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. What is the deadline to enroll in online high school classes?
A. Penn Foster offers rolling admissions. Students can enroll at any point during the year into the program of their choice.
Q. When do my classes start?
A. Penn Foster has open enrollment, which means classes start as soon as you enroll.
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. Is online high school right for me?
A. Penn Foster's online high school diploma program is geared toward independent learners, whether they're the traditional student or an adult student returning to the classroom. If you're looking for a self-paced, self-directed program that can be completed around your schedule, then online high school may be the right program for you!
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. 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. 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 to purchase textbooks for the online classes?
A. No! Most of the coursework is easily accessible to the student through their student portal. The majority of study guides and materials are provided online for a mobile learning experience. Textbooks for classes that require them are included in the tuition and are shipped to the student automatically.
Q. Are there live-streamed classes?
A. Videos are included in some courses, but not all. There are also instructional videos with students, instructors and staff on the Community.
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. What is a virtual high school and how does online school work?
A. A virtual high school offers the community and education that can be found in a traditional brick and mortar setting from the comfort of your home. Whether you're homeschooling a student or finishing your own diploma, the high school courses follow the state guidelines and accreditation requirements so you're taking classes that align with current standards. Penn Foster's online high school program is self-paced, with no deadlines. Coursework and assignments can be completed around the student's schedule and at the learning pace that is appropriate for them. Students can begin studying as soon as their enrollment is processed and complete.
Q. What is Penn Foster's online high school curriculum like?
A. Our online high school program consists of 16.5 core credits, and 5 elective credits, ranging from academic electives, like American literature and algebra to career electives, like auto repair and vet assistant. Students are able to choose the five classes they’d like to take to fulfill the elective requirement.

The core curriculum is made up of English, math, social science, science, arts and humanities, and health and physical education courses. The classes a student must take to complete the program can vary based on any transfer classes from a previous high school.
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. 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. 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. Do you offer a GED?
A. Penn Foster does not offer a GED. We offer a regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma.
Q. How do you graduate from an online high school program?
A. When you've completed and passed your academic work and tuition has been paid in full, students will receive their official high school diploma and a sealed copy of their official transcripts in the mail usually within 3-6 weeks.
Q. Is there a commencement ceremony for online high school students?
A. Each year, Penn Foster’s graduation ceremony has gotten bigger and better. Held in late spring, graduates come from across the country and the world to celebrate their achievement in Scranton, PA. You can find out more about this year’s ceremony here.
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. 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. 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. 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 I be able to get help from teachers or tutors if I get stuck on a course or assignment?
A. Instructors are available through phone, email, and chat! If you're struggling with a class or assignment, Penn Foster's experienced and certified instructors are here to help you.
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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