Community News

Forging a new path for Indiana students: Purdue Fast Start program offers giant leaps in opportunity, savings

Every promising Indiana student deserves the opportunity to pursue an affordable, world-class education. With its new Fast Start program, which could easily save Indiana families thousands of dollars, Purdue University has taken yet another step toward making this possible.


Fast Start, created by Purdue in partnership with the philanthropic online learning program Modern States, is designed to help Indiana high school students earn access to up to a year of college credit through free online courses and the corresponding College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Students receive assured admission into Purdue if they complete five courses, pass the corresponding CLEP exams and meet the University’s standard admissions requirements.


This partnership with Modern States creates opportunities for Indiana students to take giant leaps in their education with a direct track to Purdue. The move also aligns with Purdue’s land-grant mission and its continued commitment to affordability and accessibility ­— a longtime University priority that has led to nearly 60% of Purdue students now graduating debt-free.


“Too many young Hoosiers miss out on college either because of its cost or simply a disbelief that they can succeed there,” says Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Our Purdue-sponsored high schools are one attempt to open a new pathway to Purdue, and this new venture is another, with special relevance to rural and small-town youth.”


Steve Klinsky, CEO and founder of Modern States, says, “Modern States and my family are pleased to partner with Purdue to make college more attainable for students throughout Indiana. Purdue has long been a leader in innovations to help students, and we hope this effort will both help families throughout the state and create a model for many other universities nationwide.”


Innovating for Indiana


Fast Start will allow Hoosier students to take online courses and CLEP exams at no cost. Passing five CLEP exams — the equivalent of one semester — can save students and their parents the cost of an entire semester, and almost $11,000. And passing 10 CLEPs — the equivalent of one full year — amounts to more than $21,000 in savings when considering Purdue tuition and housing. Every individual CLEP passed is a big savings. Additionally, the Fast Start option can move students toward early graduation and early entry into the workforce.


Purdue Fast Start offers support to high school students enrolled in the program, helping guide them through taking courses and tests, and navigating Purdue admittance. Students also can connect to Purdue alumni and friends for mentoring if desired. Once Fast Start students accept admission into Purdue, they will be known as Klinsky Scholars.


The program officially launches in Fall 2020, with inaugural students granted admission for the Fall 2021 semester. As Purdue Fast Start begins outreach to prospective students this spring, Purdue Extension, which has offices in every Indiana county, will be a vital resource in helping reach students and their families.


Fast Start is available to all Indiana residents. But it’s especially beneficial to students in rural Indiana, in inner-city schools that often lack access to the full offering of Advanced Placement courses, or those for whom college education is less affordable. Purdue assures admission to students who pass a minimum of five CLEP exams through the program.


Purdue, the No. 6 most innovative school in the country according to U.S. News & World report, also is ranked as the No. 7 best value school in the U.S. by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education.


The Fast Start program marks the University’s latest innovation in affordability and accessibility, a priority that dates to its 2012 tuition freeze. Other innovative initiatives include the creation of statewide Purdue Polytechnic High School locations, the Back a Boilermaker income-share agreement program and the Degree in 3 fast-track program, among others.


“This is a great opportunity for us to improve the lives of Indiana residents by working with students to increase educational attainment all across the state,” says Jason Henderson, senior associate dean and director of Purdue Extension.


Visit for complete details on the Purdue Fast Start program.