Posted in ACE, Alternative Credit Project, Transfer Credit

Program Closing: Alternative Credit Project

**BREAKING NEWS from ACE**   What we decided was to allow students a 60 day grace period to finish the ACP courses. So please let them know they will have until May 31, 2018 to finish the courses. If you or your students run into any issues please let me know and I’ll make sure to resolve them as best I can.”

Brice Struthers, M.A.
Program Manager, Academic Innovation
Center for Education Attainment and Innovation
American Council on Education
(202) 939-9737
BStruthers@acenet.edu


I’ve posted from time to time about The Alternative Credit Project, so I’m sad to report today that the program is closing down effective 3/31/2018.  At the risk of this post reading like a bowl of alphabet soup, I’m going to try and keep this simple, but we have a lot of initials in the next few paragraphs and I want to be sure you guys have this info.

First, if you’ve never heard of the Alternative Credit Project, you’ve nothing to worry about. I’m going to mention programs in this post that you may have heard of, and may even be participating in, but the Alternative Credit Project was a program within a program and has no bearing on college credit earned outside of the ACP.  In other words, the providers will STILL offer courses, but they’ll do so independently now.

Alternative Credit Project was a program within a program

A quick overview:  The Alternative Credit Project ACP was a grant-funded program of American Council on Education ACE that started late 2014.  The program selected 6 alternative college credit course providers (Saylor Academy, Straighterline, EdX, Ed4Credit, Pearson, and Sophia) and then found about 50 colleges that would guarantee (in writing) that students who completed a course in the program could receive college credit at the participating colleges.

The reason this was a noteworthy program:   As a program within a program, we saw that some of the colleges who signed up to accept credit were “new players” in alternative credit acceptance, and by agreeing to participate, parents now had the option of using inexpensive home-based self-paced college credit resources in their homeschool and have a written guarantee that their teen could use them at a participating college.   This was a “backdoor” method of bringing alternative credits into a traditional college that otherwise wouldn’t be a target school for families.

Who will feel the greatest sting? Our families in Colorado will be hit the hardest.  Colorado Community Colleges signed on, and this meant parents who wanted to DIY their teen’s dual enrollment could use this program and earn college credit for about $25 per course.  (Colorado does offer tuition-free dual enrollment, but only in 11-12th grades, so resourceful parents could supplement their program and really rack up college credit starting earlier than 11th and extending later than 12th)  The big benefit in play was that once a course is on a transcript in Colorado, the other public Colorado community colleges/universities automatically accept it in transfer.  So, by extension of this program, parents knew their teens would get college credit first at the community college level, but then also at the 4-year university in the future.  It was a very sweet deal.

The rest of you who feel the sting of this are probably building your own dual enrollment program from scratch.  Remember, not all states allow teens to dual enroll, and in those that do, only a handful offer that for no charge- so a great number of our parents look for low-cost alternatives that can be done at home.  Additionally, testing scores and age requirements in some states restrict enrollment in some programs, leaving parents feeling like they are “wasting” valuable time.  I wrote about one of my own son’s school year here Straighterline and my 10th Grader’s Spring Semester when he used Straigherline to complete a full year of college in 10th grade, a year before our state allowed him to enroll in our (free) dual enrollment program.

You’ll still be able to DIY home-based dual enrollment program for your teen, you’ll just have to plan more carefully.

College Partnerships

College partnerships are written agreements, much like we see in many states at the community college level.  Some of your states have written agreements called Articulation Agreements that guarantee the transfer of courses taken at the community college into that state’s public college/university.  These guarantees give parents confidence that their teen’s college credit earned in high school can be used later, thus saving a lot of time and money!  The Alternative Credit Project had roughly 50 partnership agreements with colleges that may not have otherwise had agreements with their community college!  In other words, the program was finally the “in writing” promise parents wanted in place before signing up for these alternatives (inexpensive $) courses.

Straighterline already has over 100 written college-partnerships in place, making them a clear leader in this area.  That is far more than the ENTIRE Alternative Credit Project had in place.  Clearly, Straighterline didn’t “need” the ACP program, but for the other 5 players (Saylor Academy, EdX, Ed4Credit, Pearson, and Sophia) these partnerships were ground-breaking.  On their own, most of those course providers have only a small handful of written partnerships, making transfer less secure.  To be fair, many colleges claim to accept credit of that type (ACE), but I like certainty.  To, to be frank, prior to the Alternative Credit Project, I rarely suggested any of these credit providers since the transfer was so shaky.  ACE publishes a list of colleges who say they will consider transfer credit, but I’ve found too many mistakes in that list to consider it useful.

In other words, without the guarantee of the written ACP transfers, we are back to relying on partnerships created by each of the individual course providers (Saylor, EdX, Sophia, Pearson, Ed4Credit, Straighterline) and since each are a little different in terms of business model,  how aggressively they “go after” formal partnerships varies.  It’s not surprising the the the largest partnership list was created by Straighterline, a profitable company – while the lowest cost provider, Saylor Academy, is a non-profit and lacks the resources to be as aggressive setting up that structure away from ACP.

Does this Affect You?  Has your teen has earned /is earning college credit through Saylor Academy, EdX, Ed4Credit, Pearson, Sophia, or Straighterline?  If no, then no worries, this won’t affect your teen’s college credit at all.  If yes, you’ll need to take steps to be sure their college credit is secure.  I’m going to write out the step-by-step process, but time is of the essence, so if you hit a roadblock, message me for help.
  1. Find out if the course they are taking / has completed holds ACE or NCCRS college credit separate and apart from their participation in ACP.   Go into the ACE Database  and type in the organization’s name- search for your course.  For those using Saylor, check the NCCRS Database the same way.  If you find the course, it’s going to be worth college credit once ACP closes, so even if you change target schools, it is still worth college credit.
  2. Make sure that all of your teen’s ACP courses have been added to their ACE transcript TWICE.  Your teens ACP course should have an entry under ACP, but then also under the original provider (if applies).  You should be able to view their courses under both headings!! As an example, if your teen completed the American Government course through Straighterline, the first entry would be in the “Alternative Credit Project Ecosystem” heading with a course number and completion date:
American Government (StraighterLine)

Straighterline
ACPE-0072 Course 04/14/2017
and then separately, the same course would appear under the Straighterline heading with its own course number and the same completion date:
American Government*

StraighterLine
OOSL-0063 Course 04/14/2017

3.  If you find that the course(s) is only available for college credit under the Alternative Credit Project and does not have stand-alone approval for credit, that course must be completed and submitted BY YOU / YOUR TEEN  to ACE by 3/31/2018 midnight (EST).  Even though the program is closing, there is still a strong possibility that colleges will honor the relationship if you completed the course while the relationship was in place.



VERY GOOD NEWS FROM SAYLOR ACADEMY

Saylor Academy is being very proactive in obtaining ACE / NCCRS approval for the courses that will otherwise appear “unaccredited” once the ACP program folds.  Specifically, there are 8 courses that are at risk.  They are:

BIO101: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology         ACPE-0023
BUS101: Introduction to Business                                        ACPE-0107
BUS103: Introduction to Financial Accounting                      ACPE-0113
CHEM101: General Chemistry I                                            ACPE-0034
MA121: Introduction to Statistics                                         ACPE-0017
PHYS101: Introduction to Mechanics                                   ACPE-0008
PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism                       ACPE-0007
POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics                  ACPE-0071

I contacted Saylor Academy’s Executive Director Jeff Davidson and asked if he expected these 8 to be ACE approved before ACP expired, and he wrote me this very encouraging note:

“Hi, Jennifer-   We are submitting ALL of our “ACPE” courses to ACE for re-review this month.  I suspect ACE will not allow a “lapse” for those courses if they are unable to complete the review by 3/31, but I can not 100% definitely guarantee that. I would be shocked if there was a lapse, so I’m 95% confident there will not be. So please express that super high level of confidence. “



Before I leave you with the list of ACP partnership schools, know that helping you learn the transferability of courses is my TOP PRIORITY.  Why?  Because everyone has their own set of preferences for choosing our teen’s classes.  We have different budgets, skills, even teacher preferences that we get to choose with them.    Transfer, on the other hand, colors everything and must be known in advance.  

In order for YOU TO BE YOUR TEEN’S BEST GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, you have to know and understand how/why a course that you THINK should transfer will or won’t.   Know that I’ll post updates as they happen, and we’ll follow the progress of how the partnership schools react once they’ve severed ties with ACP.  Additionally, I’ll keep you up to date on the ACE / NCCRS college credit status of Straighterline, Saylor, EdX, Ed4Credit, Sophia, and Pearson.   



ACP Partnership Schools (through 3/31/2018)

Alternative Credit Project Home Page

American Public University
American Public University, Transfer up to 90 credits
Antioch University Midwest
Antioch University Midwest. Transfer up to 60 credits
Antioch University Online
Antioch University Online. Transfer up to 60 credits
Antioch University Santa Barbara
Antioch University Santa Barbara, Transfer up to 90 credits
Antioch University Seattle
Antioch University Seattle. Transfer up to 90 credits
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe Community College. Transfer up to 45 credits
Bastyr University
Bastyr University. Transfer up to 45 credits
Bellevue University
Bellevue University. Transfer up to 90 credits
Brandman University
Brandman University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Capella University
Capella University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Cardinal Stritch University
Cardinal Stritch University
Transfer up to 60 credits
Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University
Transfer up to 60 credits
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Colorado State University - Global Campus
Colorado State University – Global Campus
Transfer up to 60 credits
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Community College of Aurora
Community College of Aurora
Transfer up to 45 credits
Community College of Denver
Community College of Denver
Transfer up to 45 credits
Dallas County Community College District
Dallas County Community College District
Transfer up to 45 credits
Davenport University
Davenport University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University
Transfer up to 64 credits
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University
Transfer up to 64 credits
Franklin Pierce University
Franklin Pierce University
Transfer up to 45 credits
Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Goodwin College
Goodwin College
Transfer up to 90 credits
John F. Kennedy University
John F. Kennedy University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Kaplan University
Kaplan University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Lakeland University
Lakeland University
Transfer up to 30 credits
Lamar Community College
Lamar Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Monroe Community College
Monroe Community College
Transfer up to 36 credits
Morgan Community College
Morgan Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
National Louis University
National Louis University
Transfer up to 40 credits
Northeastern Junior College
Northeastern Junior College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University
Transfer up to 64 credits
Northwestern State University
Northwestern State University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Notre Dame College
Notre Dame College
Transfer up to 32 credits
Otero Junior College
Otero Junior College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Pikes Peak Community College
Pikes Peak Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Pueblo Community College
Pueblo Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Red Rocks Community College
Red Rocks Community College
Transfer up to 45 credits
Rowan University Global Learning and Partnerships
Rowan University Global Learning and Partnerships
Transfer up to 30 credits
Sinclair College
Sinclair College
Transfer up to 90 credits
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Stark State College
Stark State College
Transfer up to 40 credits
SUNY Empire State College
SUNY Empire State College
Transfer up to 90 credits
Texas Woman`s University
Texas Woman`s University
Transfer up to 15 credits
Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Trinidad State Junior College
Trinidad State Junior College
Transfer up to 45 credits
UMUC
UMUC
Transfer up to 60 credits
University of Baltimore
University of Baltimore
Transfer up to 15 credits
University of New England
University of New England
Transfer up to 65 credits
Walden University
Walden University
Transfer up to 90 credits
Wilmington University
Wilmington University
Transfer up to 75 credits
Youngstown State University
Youngstown State University
Transfer up to 30 credits

 

2 thoughts on “Program Closing: Alternative Credit Project

  1. This is newsworthy information. My son is taking both Straighterline and Study.com courses that have a partnership with UMUC. He finished several courses, but their is 1 course called Student Success that I didn’t see on the ACE list. The other courses, he can finish 3 more by the end of the month. He has others that I don’t know if he can finish by 3/31. Would he just transfer those to ACE?

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    1. Lm, if SL and Study have partnerships, you won’t have to go through the ACP to get his credits. Yes, put them on his ACE transcript, but ACP’s closure shouldn’t be a problem for him (and you can ignore the 3/31 deadline)

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