Saylor Academy

The companies/organizations in this category sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACE credit is not as transferable as credit earned directly through a college, but can be very transferable when used with the intention of transferring to one of the partner colleges. ACE is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning that happens outside of a college. This kind of college credit is guaranteed to transfer into partner colleges (varies by provider) but transfers poorly outside of partnerships.

Using ACE credit requires creating an account with another third party, Credly to “hold” your teen’s credit until they’re ready to use it. HS4CC List of ACE Partners

Unlike the other ACE options on our list, Saylor Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free and open online courses to anyone.

College Credit: $5 per course

Saylor Courses:  Some of Saylor’s courses are not worth college credit, so you’ll want to be sure you’re looking at their list of “Saylor Direct Credit” courses on the website.

Account Creation: You will create an account for your teen using the same full name and email address that you’ve created for their Credly account. This assures their passed courses will have the credit recorded quickly and easily. If your teen doesn’t have a Credly account, create one today. They’ll need it in place asap.

How it works:  You pay NOTHING to take these courses.  The only cost to earn the credit is paying the proctoring service fee ($5) to take your online proctored exam. You can take the courses for personal interest without taking the online exam if you don’t need or want college credit.

PRO TIP: The study guide is gold! Look among the list of course units. The study guide should be one of the last units on the list. This guide, not the practice tests, is considered the best tool for passing Saylor Academy exams.

Textbook passages are accessible through links in the class, so the program is completely free.  There is no graded homework, no attendance verification, and no teacher. It is self-directed learning.  The quizzes, exams, homework, and midterm exams are all open book.  You can take some or all of the units, and you are free to jump around.

There is no paper trail (meaning disclosure to future colleges is not required and future colleges will never see your exam score).

When ready, you have the option to take a proctored final exam via webcam on your home computer. Saylor Academy uses Smarter Proctoring, which only costs $5. You must take and pass the proctored exam to earn college credit.

$5 PRO TIP: Since the final exam only costs $5 (proctor), and you can take it up to 3 times, use your first attempt like a practice test! This is a super smart way to get inside the test and really take a crack at it. If you pass, great, but if not, take a few days to review the important concepts and try again.

Parents can build an entire high school program using Saylor Academy courses. Think of this as the secular alternative to Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. Parents will award high school credit, without regard to whether or not their teen passed the exam. Since you technically don’t have to complete the class; a teen with prior knowledge could go straight to the final exam.  As such, the exam alone determines whether or not you earn college credit in the course.

Courses:  Currently, Saylor Academy offers over 30 courses for college credit.

Potential:  >40 classes (more than 120 college credits)

I created this guide in 2016. Since then, the catalog has expanded to include more classes and the cost to take the exams has been reduced! While the plan is not 100% accurate today, it is more than accurate enough for you to use as a starting point for your own homeschool plan.

Saylor Academy Courses (2023)

CourseACE expiration dateCreditsApprox. Hours to Complete
ARTH101: Art Appreciation03-31-23335
BIO101: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology04-30-25335
BUS101: Introduction to Business04-30-25362
BUS103: Introduction to Financial Accounting04-30-25372
BUS105: Managerial Accounting12-31-23353
BUS202: Principles of Finance 04-30-253 UD63
BUS203: Principles of Marketing04-30-25331
BUS204: Business Statistics03-31-23353
BUS205: Business Law04-30-25342
BUS206: Management Information Systems12-31-23357
BUS208: Principles of Management04-30-25377
BUS210: Corporate Communication04-30-25333
BUS300 Operations Management03-31-233 UD54
BUS303: Strategic Information Technology12-31-23335
BUS305 Small Business Management04-30-25398
BUS402 Project Management03-31-233 UD62
CHEM101: General Chemistry I04-30-25336
College Success03-31-23140
COMM001: Principles Of Human Communication12-31-23356
CS101: Introduction to Computer Science I12-31-23352
CS102: Introduction to Computer Science II12-31-23351
CS105 Introduction to Python Programming04-30-25336
CS302: Software Engineering12-31-233 UD41
CS402: Computer Communications and Networks12-31-23342
CUST105: Customer Service12-31-23325
ECON101: Principles of Microeconomics12-31-23383
ECON102: Principles of Macroeconomics12-31-23343
ENVS203: Environmental Ethics, Justice & World Views12-31-23255
GEO101 World Regional Geography03-31-23349
MA001: College Algebra04-30-25333
MA005: Calculus I04-30-25445
MA121: Introduction to Statistics04-30-25332
PHIL102 Critical Thinking and Logic03-31-23340
PHIL103: Moral and Political Philosophy12-31-23349
PHYS101: Introduction to Mechanics04-30-25333
PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism04-30-25342
POLSC101: Introduction to Political Science12-31-233111
POLSC201 Introduction to Western Political Thought04-30-253120
POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics04-30-25375
PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology03-31-23364
SOC101: Introduction to Sociology12-31-23342

UD = a course evaluated as “upper division” college credit by ACE