If you’re thinking about TEL for this semester, I’m going to ask you to press pause on that decision until we can get answers for you. If you’re already enrolled, advice follows.
Since TEL Learning is a business, not a college, the process earning and using their courses for college credit requires careful consideration and following specific steps to be successful. At HS4CC, we believe every company that offers alternative college credit can serve our community and help them save money and time, but only when the parents understand the process. I think it’s important to not only share opportunities with this audience, but also alert you to challenges!
At this time, my recommendation is for parents to wait for TEL Learning to work through issues before using the program. If these issues are resolved, I’ll send an update.
Issue 1) TEL Learning is legitimate credit laundering when the credit you earn through TEL will appear on an official college transcript as original credit. Currently, not all of TEL partner colleges are recording the credit as original credit and this is not being disclosed on the TEL website. Parents are led to believe all partner colleges are equal in this respect, which is untrue. We have confirmed that TEL courses are not transferring as advertised on their website and that courses recorded on a partner college transcript are not transferring as advertised. (see footnote at the bottom)
Issue 2) TEL Learning courses have not been ACE or NCCRS evaluated, which would offer those students a “back up” plan when their credit has been denied. Without being recorded as original credit or having ACE or NCCRS evaluation, the student’s likelihood of transfer is essentially 0%.
Issue 3) TEL Learning’s withdrawal and refund policy is limited to the first 30 days. While 30 days is a reasonable refund policy, it is not a reasonable withdrawal policy for a class that spans 365 days. Since TEL courses can become part of a student’s permanent record and disclosed with Student Clearinghouse, this very unusual practice makes the risk of signing up for a TEL course very high and can have detrimental implications beyond high school that include access to Federal Financial Aid, scholarships, college admissions, and grade point average.
Issue 4) The withdrawal process requires parents to discuss and justify their decision to withdrawal with a TEL Learning account manager on the phone. There is no way to withdrawal in your account without going through this very intimidating and high-pressure experience so they can “let” your teen withdrawal.
What can everyone do?
You can contact TEL directly and ask them to address each of these concerns.
Portia Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
Account Manager (866) 714-9907
What can enrolled students and parents do?
If you are inside the first 30 days, it is strongly recommended that you understand the limitations of your credit transfer.
If you are outside the first 30 days, it is strongly recommended that you finish the course with a very high grade. Even if this course does not transfer, it is still VERY LIKLEY to show up in your Student Clearinghouse file, so protect that grade!!
If you have multiple TEL courses already complete, it is recommended that you consider finishing one of their Associate Degree tracks at either of their partner colleges. At this time, those partnerships mean your teen won’t have to transfer the individual courses elsewhere, thus protecting their earned credit. Once the degree is issued, the solidity of TEL won’t matter because the credit will be held by the college and not TEL.
TEL courses official denied by Charter Oak State College. This is especially significant because COSC is one of the the 3 colleges in the country with the most generous transfer credit and alternative credit acceptance policy. From COSC website 12/08/2021 “Charter Oak State College will also not accept credit in transfer for online self-paced courses originating from TEL Learning, even if the credit is transcripted by one of their Regionally Accredited College Partners. TEL Learning is a non-collegiate course provider and is subject to the Charter Oak Non-Collegiate course provider agreement policy for alternative educational providers. Because Charter Oak does not have an agreement with TEL Learning, credits earned via their platform are not transferable.” https://www.charteroak.edu/pla/credit-for-courses.php