Penn Foster High School-Review

Last Updated on April 13, 2024.

Is Penn Foster High School worth it? Is the Penn Foster High School Diploma better than a GED Diploma? How much does it really cost? How long does it take to complete?

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Bear in mind that if you want to earn your GED®, our free online classes for the GED will let you determine if online studying is a good fit for you.

If that’s the case, move ahead with the accredited, full-scope program designed by Onsego, a course awarded by GED Testing Service with the predicate 100% GED Test Aligned. Onsego’s course will get you well-prepared fast.

But now, let’s check out Penn Foster High School.

Penn Foster High School is headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the school’s Online High School Program, not a GED, offers a flexible and accredited curriculum.

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The program allows you to work towards the bright future you deserve. Every year, more than 40,000 students from all across the U.S. earn a high school diploma from the comfort of their homes and on the schedule that suits them best.

Though some students complain about the school, most graduates say they are satisfied with Penn Foster’s online high school curriculum that allowed them to go to college or advance their careers.

Penn Foster High School offers a unique online learning platform that combines state-of-the-art interactive technology and instructor support to help you get ahead and earn your secondary education degree.

Earning a high school diploma will open new doors. Students with a secondary degree can go on to continue their education in college, enter the workforce, or join the military.

Having a secondary education credential really pays off! On average, people who hold a high school or equivalent credential will make at least $9,600 more annually than people who do not.

Is the Penn Foster High School Diploma Legit?

One of the big worries that students have is whether or not the efforts and money they’re putting into an online diploma will be worth it and pay off. If for some reason, they prefer to earn their high school diploma rather than earning a GED, Penn Foster’s option is a good pick.

It would be useless to study so hard and graduate from an online school only to discover that your high school diploma isn’t what a college or employer is actually looking for, right?

So, in general, before you sign up for any online high school course, make sure the school is properly accredited and licensed.

If you want to read more about how to earn a GED diploma fast rather than signing up for an online high school, check out this post where you can learn all about getting your GED fast.

Penn Foster Online High School vs. Online GED

The GED high school equivalency credential can now also be earned online. Many students who don’t finish high school turn to the GED (General Education Development) alternative to satisfy U.S. secondary school requirements.

But there are circumstances where a high school diploma is preferred over a GED, so quite a few students feel that they may benefit more from a Diploma program. Most branches of the U.S. Military, for example, value a high school diploma higher than a GED.

Today, with online high school diploma programs so prevalent, it has become easier than ever before to not only get a GED but also go back to school in an online format and get your high school diploma from the comfort of your home.

Online high school programs (and this also counts for Penn Foster’s programs) allow you to work within your time frame and schedule with tutor support to help you succeed.

Are Penn Foster Diplomas Accepted?

Well, the fact of the matter is that colleges do not accept a high school diploma; they accept a student.

In the college application, a student includes the transcript (a document that lists courses taken and grades at year’s end, honors notations, and so on).

The application additionally includes the applicant’s resume, personal essay, letters of recommendation, a letter provided by the student’s school (the “profile”), and some other relevant pieces of information. If you have a college acceptance interview, check out this post for useful advice.

A high school diploma simply states that the student successfully completed the minimum course requirements at a certain school. Diplomas usually come in beautiful covers and are not shown or sent to colleges; that’s exactly what transcripts are for.

So there’s no guarantee that Penn Foster High School graduates will get accepted into colleges or universities, and this also counts for online high school diplomas from other online high schools, such as James Madison Online High School, based in Norcross, Georgia.

Keep in mind that colleges use various acceptance criteria and requirements and that not all universities and colleges are recognizing all standard high school diplomas. It’s the transcripts that matter!

How Many Credits do I Need to Graduate from Penn Foster High School?

Penn Foster’s online high school program is 21.5 credits in total. This includes 16.5 credits for basic education requirements such as Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Arts & Humanities, and Health & Physical Education.

Students at Penn Foster High School also choose five elective credits that range from academic subject fields like Algebra or American Literature to a number of career electives such as vet assistant or auto repair.

The courses are broken down into mobile-friendly, small lessons that are easy to work with and comprehend as students work online toward their high school diploma.

Regardless of whether students are looking to enter the workforce right away or go for a college education, Penn Foster’s High School Program will teach them the skills and knowledge required to be successful.

Check also: What is the Penn Foster GED?

How Much Does Penn Foster Cost for High School?

All Penn Foster programs have their own pretty affordable tuition, and the school offers several interesting payment options at zero percent interest.

Students have the option to pay in full upfront and get tuition discounts or pay monthly payments. There are also automatic payment plans that also include tuition discounts. For the Penn Foster Online High School Diploma Program, the average cost is around $2 per day.

This is far more affordable than the Diploma Program offered by Kansas City-based Acellus Academy, part of the International Academy of Science. Then again, some students say that there’s a difference in academic standards. Please read the review and decide for yourself!

How Long Does it Take to Complete Penn Foster High School?

Penn Foster High School Diploma Course is self-paced, meaning you decide for yourself how long you will take to earn your high school diploma.

But, of course, the longer you take, the more expensive it gets. Most students can complete the online program within one year, but completion can easily be done in six months as well when you’re capable of keeping a fast pace.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to set your goal finishing date. By doing that, you’ll learn at each assignment by what date it should be completed if you want to stick to your set goal graduation date. Just keep your academic achievement. That matters!

What is the Age Limit for Penn Foster?

To sign up for Penn Foster High School, applicants need to have fully completed at least the 8th grade. So, though there is no age limit for enrollment, non-traditional students and adult learners can sign up for Penn Foster’s Online High School Program courses if they are at least 13 years old.

Accreditation and Licensing

Accreditation and licensing are among the most important criteria a school must adhere to to make the school legitimate. Our reviews only cover properly accredited online high schools such as Penn Foster or Excel Online High School as an alternative to a traditional high school education or a GED diploma.

Accreditation is recognition by specific organizations and agencies that certifies that the school meets or exceeds specific educational standards as determined by the organization.

Licensing makes sure that the school that you want to enroll in, in this case, Online Penn Foster High School, is approved by the state’s licensing board or body to provide educational classes and issue degrees or diplomas to graduates.

Schools can earn basically two types of accreditation, regional and national. In the U.S., regional accreditation can be obtained through six regional accrediting agencies.

National accreditation can be obtained from independent accrediting agencies that usually focus on vocational schools or career-specific education, and also on online schools and colleges.

Penn Foster High School holds both regional and national accreditation, which ensures that the diploma issued by the online school is legitimate.

The school holds regional accreditation through the CSC (The Commission on Secondary Schools) of the Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools.

Additionally, the school holds national accreditation from DEAC (The Distance Education Accrediting Commission). The school’s high school program also holds national accreditation from AdvancED, one of the world’s leading accreditation agencies that focuses on improving students’ experiences.

The school’s accreditations are regularly renewed and involve reviewing the school’s education courses and study materials to ensure the students will receive the best possible education.

Penn Foster High School Core Curriculum

Let’s take a look at the most important core curriculum topics addressed in the Penn Foster Online High School program. This part of the program results, when completed, in 16.5 of the required 21.5 credits.

Orientation – In this course, students will develop the skills required for success in the online high school program. This section teaches them how to stay focused and successfully complete their studies.

Math 1 – This section provides the basis for the successful utilization of mathematical principles in life and career. It may also help students to take several of this website’s free GED practice tests to understand the topics faster.

Math 2 – This course covers the four basic mathematical operations, so students will be able to use these fundamentals at a more advanced level.

Consumer Math – This section teaches students how to apply math knowledge to several areas of their everyday lives.

Human Relations – In this section, students are taught how to enhance their interpersonal capabilities so they can be successful in post-secondary education and future careers.

Reading Skills – This part teaches students reading techniques and provides tips about how to become better readers.

Basic English – This section helps students to improve their English skills so they can communicate more effectively in their personal life, their further academic education, and their careers.

Practical English – This course enhances students’ language command by expanding their vocabulary, strengthening their writing, and improving their word usage.

Written Communication – This section refreshes and improves students’ understanding of basic elements of speech and also focuses on organizing their time effectively, so they are better capable of creating documents from the first to the final draft stages.

Literature – The Literature course allows students to experience literature broader and more actively, and to become emotionally and intellectually more engaged with Literature.

Earth Science – This section covers various topics related to geology, oceanography, astronomy, meteorology, and environmental science. See also this website’s free GED Science video lessons and practice tests to help you discover if online learning suits you well.

Biology – In this part of the curriculum, students will gain insight into the relationships between living organisms, the origins of life, and how the human body functions.

Physical Science – This section addresses a number of modern science topics that affect our everyday lives, from heat and energy to electricity and sound.

American History – This course covers U.S. history, from early human settlers thousands of years back to contemporary events. Students learn about the native people who lived here long before the Europeans came to set up colonies.

They will also be taught about the birth and development of the United States, a vibrant and young nation with so many world-changing events in its relatively short history.

World History – This section covers the large-scale trends and highlights seen in the history of the world. The World History course starts out with ancient civilizations to continue with people and events from the 15th century to contemporary topics.

Civics – The Civics course addresses how our government is organized, the purposes of government, types of government, and how governments can differ in structure and organization.

Fitness & Nutrition – This part of the curriculum teaches students about the importance of healthy nutrition, exercise, and stress management, and also provides safety instruction and techniques. A high school degree qualifies students for better jobs and a college education.


Under the program, students can choose from electives to complete 21.5 credits. Let’s see what’s available.

General Electives – These include Economics, Business Math, English Communications, Microsoft Word and Excel, and General Science.

Vocational Electives – These include Child Care Professional, Auto Repair Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant, and Small Business Management.

College Preparation & Academic Electives – These electives include Algebra 1 & 2, American Literature, Chemistry, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, Geometry, Psychology, and Spanish.

Penn Foster Online High School
925 Oak St, Scranton, PA 18515
Phone: (888) 427.6200