Get free materials!
Gene and Becky Muldrow of Dual Credit at Home, the focus of this month’s Member Spotlight, have a special offer for Samaritan Ministries members! Go to DualCreditAtHome.com/Samaritan to find a coupon code available for savings on Dual Credit materials. Free materials such as a sample study plan and an ebook are on the page as well.
Adam Muldrow earned 121 college credits in 22 months for $3,100 and entered law school at the age of 17 debt free.
That’s because his parents, Gene and Becky Muldrow of Texas, found a way for him to earn those credits by exam at the same time he was being homeschooled. For the past several years, the Muldrows have been sharing their experience and guidance on accumulating college credit at a reasonable cost through Dual Credit at Home.
The Muldrows estimate they saved over $319,000 on college expenses for four children—and expenses have only continued to increase.
Dual Credit at Home offers study plans and workshops to parents who want to pursue this option for their own children.
The Muldrows see four benefits from this approach:
- Financially. By only having to pay for materials from Dual Credit at Home and then only for testing to earn the college credit, families can stay debt free. Plus, the approach also allows students to make money during a period of life—immediately after high school—in which others are building college debt.
- Vocationally. By cutting their college career short, whether by four years or one year, students can enter a vocation sooner rather than later. The Muldrows’ daughter Julie had her bachelor’s degree in hand at age 18 and became a kindergarten teacher. One of their sons was a prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s office in Houston by age 20.
- Motivationally. By spending many high school hours working on college credit, teen students—notorious for lack of purpose—can see high school, college, and career merge. “Then they can see the finish line,” Becky says. “It’s no longer just a hazy picture in the future.”
- Worldview. Since students are self-teaching, they are able to avoid the secular environment of college classrooms, textbooks, and professors.
The idea for Dual Credit at Home started when the Muldrows realized that their children could earn high school credit while studying for college credit tests like the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP) and DSST exams. Then, by taking the tests, they could earn college credit.
But could a college degree be earned this way? they wondered.
The breakthrough came when Becky found Charter Oak State College, a regionally accredited college formed by the state of Connecticut for adult learners that applied test credits to a college degree. They have since found a similar school in New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University, that accepts credit tests.
But could a college degree be earned this way? they wondered.
“Adults require a lot more flexibility for earning college credit,” Becky says. “They have families. They have a career already. They just need to finish a degree either to get a pay raise or for other advancement. Yet a 15-year-old could enroll as well and take advantage of that flexibility.”
So a 16-year-old named Adam who wanted to go to law school but earn his college degree quickly and inexpensively did so and was able to earn a bachelor’s degree through Charter Oak. He then headed to law school at the University of Houston. Many of the Muldrows’ other children started to follow course. Some earned complete degrees through the method, others satisfied their general education requirements and then took classes in their specialty, like nursing, at a college of their choice after transferring credits.
Many of the Muldrows’ 10 children have now taken advantage of the method. One daughter is a nurse practitioner, a son is earning a marketing degree, another daughter also attended law school, one son earned his undergraduate degree through Charter Oak and then went to a Bible college for his divinity degree, a daughter who has a history degree became a kindergarten teacher, and a daughter who is a senior in high school this year is about three-fourths of the way through her college work and wants to be an elementary school teacher.
The idea to start Dual Credit at Home jelled after a graduation ceremony for home school graduates at the Muldrows’ church. Other parents became aware that Adam had not just completed high school but college as well.
“Friends began to ask, ‘How did you do that?’” Becky says.
That led Becky to start putting together the pieces that would become DualCreditAtHome.com. She had just had Jason, their 10th child, so didn’t have much time to start a home business at that point. But by the time Jason was about 8 years old and had become somewhat independent with his schoolwork, Becky had time to write lesson plans for him in a format that could be shared with other families. The Muldrows then hired two women from their church to create a website and curriculum, and the business was launched in 2013.
Since then, several hundred families have bought the Muldrows’ study package.
A typical plan involves reading assignments over several weeks using Christian textbooks. For instance, Dual Credit at Home’s plan for taking an American history test is to have the student read assignments for five weeks, then take a practice test before the real thing.
“Even though they’re college-level exams, they’re not difficult, and you can use Christian high school textbooks to prepare for them,” Becky says. Students as young as 13 can take the tests, she says.
Dual Credit at Home’s site offers a free workshop that gives families an in-depth idea of how the program works as well as a description of what’s available for purchase, including a package of lesson plans for 13 exams on core subjects like math, English, government, and history. The package also includes support as well as a “College Degree Roadmap” course. That course, however, can be bought separately if a family would like to map their own way.
The Muldrows are very clear that acceptance of test results by colleges differs, so families need to perform due diligence on how these credits will be applied if the students are planning to apply to complete a bachelor’s degree somewhere.
“Parents do need to have their students take exams and earn credit in accord with the college they’re going to choose to earn a degree,” Becky says.
Also, Dual Credit at Home doesn’t supply or conduct the tests; families are responsible to arrange for that as part of the study plan.
As for tests besides those for core credits, the Muldrows believe that, once a student has finished the 13 exams, families will have enough experience on how to direct students to study for other subjects. DualCreditAtHome.com also provides plenty of continuing guidance through its webinars, templates, and social media and email connections.
So far, over 300 families, including several members of Samaritan, have purchased the complete set, with many using it for multiple children.