Benefits of CLEP

CLEP Helps Institutions and Students Succeed

By accurately placing prepared, engaged and motivated students, CLEP helps create a more dynamic classroom experience and increase retention rates. CLEP aids institutions through:


All aspects of the CLEP test development process are informed by the belief that the exams must be rigorous and relevant to their respective disciplines. More than 600 faculty members from institutions across the country are involved in the test development and standard-setting processes.

Learn more about CLEP test development.


A 2010 study by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), funded by the Lumina Foundation, Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success (PDF 513KB), showed that students with prior-learning assessment (PLA), such as CLEP, had better academic outcomes than students without prior learning assessment. (Read the executive summary.) The study focused on:

  • Persistence: PLA students earned more institutional credits, on average, than non-PLA students.
  • Time to degree: PLA students earning bachelor's degrees saved an average of 2.5 to 10.1 months of time in earning their degrees. PLA students earning associate’s degrees saved an average of 1.5 to 4.5 months.
  • Graduation rates: More than half of PLA students earned a degree in seven years; only 21 percent of non-PLA students did so.

Learn more about student success.


CLEP exams help open up space in introductory classes and place students in the courses that are right for them. CLEP also improves affordability for those students who may find rising college costs increasingly challenging.

Learn how to inform students about CLEP.


Students who earn credits through CLEP tend to complete their degrees at a higher rate than students who don’t earn credit-by-examination. A study by the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning indicates that more than 50 percent of prior-learning students earned a degree in seven years, compared to 21 percent of students with no prior-learning experience. In a survey conducted by the College Board of more than 4,000 CLEP candidates, 91 percent of CLEP test-takers reported that CLEP made a difference in helping them complete their degrees.

Learn how to build a CLEP program or set a CLEP policy at your institution.