Official Website: www.saylor.org
What: 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free and open online courses to anyone.
Who authorizes the college credit? Some of their courses have been evaluated by the American Council on Education or NCCRS as credit-eligible, while others are NOT worth college credit. Be sure to look for ACE or NCCRS designation next to any course you want to take for college credit. Note that ACE is is more widely accepted than NCCRS credit.
Who accepts the credit? Saylor has a direct partnership with over 30 partner colleges that have formal credit arrangements. Not all of their partners accept all of their courses for credit. Furthermore, the course equivalency list may be one or more semesters old.
Confirm that your target college is still a partner college before enrolling.
How it works: You pay NOTHING to take these courses. They are completely free to start and stop on demand. 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.
When ready, you have the option to take a proctored final exam via webcam on your home computer or in person if you can find a local proctor (librarians often do this). If you do not wish to pursue college credit, you simply stop the class at that time. Parents can award high school credit, but since Saylor doesn’t verify completion, the parent would need to make their own determination. Since you technically don’t have to complete the class; you can go straight to the final exam. As such, the exam alone determines whether or not you earn college credit in the course.
Proctoring: For those who want a completely free experience, follow their criteria and find a local proctor (ex. librarian). If you don’t mind paying for web-based proctoring, you can use the third-party proctor company called ProctorU to monitor you during your test. Saylor has set up the relationship already, you’ll simply pay $25 and it will be arranged for you.
Note, to earn college credit, you must:
- Pass the proctored final exam with a score of 70% or better.
- Transfer the credit to a college that accepts ACE credit.
Courses: Currently, Saylor Academy offers over 30 courses for college credit.
Potential: 90 college credits for $0 if you use a local proctor.
Failed Exam Retake Policy (updated Nov 1, 2019): Saylor Direct Credit final exams can be taken three times total within the current credit recommendation window. When the credit recommendation for a course renews, three more attempts will be available. Typically, a course is recommended for three years at a time. (For example, if a course is recommended for credit from June 2019 through May 2022, you have up to three attempts on the credit exam during that time.)