Let’s Talk about ACE

What is ACE? If you’re taking (or have taken) classes from Sophia, Studycom, Straighterline, Saylor, or other alternative non-college providers, you need to know about ACE!

ACE (American Council on Education) is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning that happens outside of a college. Examples include military classes, workplace learning, and non-college course providers like Studycom, Sophia, Straighterline, and Saylor Academy just to name a few. If you have a certification or license, it also may be worth college credit – assuming ACE has evaluated it to be. The limited transferability of ACE credit must be emphasized. Just because ACE has evaluated something to be worth college credit doesn’t mean a college will accept it- ACE credit does not transfer well.

What kind of learning gets ACE evaluated? Adult education, workplace development courses, certifications, and businesses specifically developing courses for the home-based student (teen or adult). If you’ve ever happened on a site that offers courses “for college credit” but it wasn’t a college’s website, it’s probably offering college credit via ACE. Many companies offer courses “for college credit” but credit evaluated for worth by ACE means it’s essentially all the same type of credit. Some examples of workplace learning and licenses that are worth college credit include: FAA pilot’s license, some CPR/first aid programs, management programs through McDonald’s restaurant, Jiffy Lube employee e-training, oral foreign language proficiency, Dale Carnegie courses, Microsoft certifications, SCUBA diving courses, and more. There are thousands!

Why use ACE? If your teen’s target college accepts ACE credit, you can fill their homeschool curriculum schedule with a lot of very low cost college courses! Using ACE credit for your teen’s curriculum can save tens of thousands of dollars when well planned. Using ACE credit costs only about $1,000 or less to earn a year’s worth of college credit, and if you’re also using it as you high school curriculum, this DIY approach kills two birds with one stone.

What are the Classes Like?

  • Self-paced
  • No age limit
  • No placement tests
  • Use your own schedule
  • Pass/fail credit awarded
  • Fully done at home
  • No professors/teachers
  • Limited to no homework
  • No textbooks to purchase
  • Content based on reading or watching videos
  • Grade determined by quizzes, tests, and sometimes homework

Credit Transfer:  ACE’s website advertises that “over 1,700” colleges participate with ACE, however, to be included on that list, a college might only accept 1 course or they may have simply agreed to consider your credit. Further, they may be on that list because they issue college credit. In short, the ACE list is inaccurate at best. I estimate that fewer than 200 accredited (regional and national) colleges actually grant college credit for ACE coursework for the average person (military exceptions exist).

Cost: Since colleges don’t all accept ACE credit, you would think ACE credit would be cheaper. In reality, some ACE credit is cheaper, but I’ve found a lot of VERY EXPENSIVE courses on the list (more expensive than full-tuition courses at a university). Courses that are ACE evaluated are delivered by businesses that set their own price; there is no single cost of earning ACE credit, but if you’re not especially picky, you can earn a lot of ACE credit for pennies on the dollar (sometimes free!!!) and that’s not an exaggeration. During the 2020 COVID Pandemic, Sophia dropped the cost of their courses entirely, allowing thousands of Homeschooling for College Credit families to accumulate 30-60 college credits for free!

I don’t typically include expensive ACE-evaluated courses. These in the table below are the most popular providers in our community and all offered at reasonable (lower than tuition) costs.

Average cost of 1 ACE course by provider

CompanyPrice per CreditPrice per 1 Course
Studycom (billed as $199 per month. Estimate
assumes 2 courses per 1 month)
Straighterline (billed as $99 per month plus courses.
Estimate assumes 2 courses per 1 month)
Sophia (billed as $79 per month. Estimate
assumes 2 courses per 1 month)
Saylor Academy (proctor $5 per course)$1.65$5
ALEKS Math (billed as $20 per month. Estimate
assumes 2 months to complete a course)
Read more about these programs
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Limited Transferability: ACE CREDIT  

Limited transferability means fewer than 200 regionally accredited
colleges accept this credit regularly. Colleges may be unfamiliar
with this resource, and credit in this category may require a special
review from the college before a decision can be made. Pursue credit
in this category if credit-earning isn’t the only priority, if the price is
free or very low, or if you’ve researched ahead of time with certainty
that your target college does accept this credit.

Before earning ACE credit: Understand ACE Credit 

Accuplacer Exam: Will your teen have to take it?

Accuplacer is the brand name of a very widely used college placement test. Community colleges often use this exam to assess an incoming student’s ability to do “college level” work. It isn’t worth college credit, but it sometimes stands in the way of enrolling in a dual enrollment program.

New “self-paced” Dual Enrollment Option!

In today’s post, I want to tell you about a new Dual Enrollment option that is unique because they offer SELF PACED classes! The details about the program are below, and also info about a free online event where I’ve invited them to share more about their program and allow us to ask questions.

CLEP Spanish *Perfect Score*

It’s one thing to pass a CLEP exam, it’s another to crush it!  Homeschooling for College Credit parent Scarlett has agreed to share her feedback about the exam with you.  At the bottom of the post, I’ve added links and additional info you’ll find helpful if this test is on your schedule.  Don’t miss the…


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit