Posted in HS4CC

MicroBachelors® edX & TESU

There is a new opportunity to earn college credit, and I can’t wait to get feedback from YOU if you’ve tried it. EdX has partnered with Thomas Edison State University to transcribe courses for college credit. Details below.

edX: MicroBachelor®

First, a little backstory to understand this evolution. edX is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) provider offering hundreds of free college courses online. These courses were “donated” from big name colleges and universities (Harvard, MIT, NYU, etc.) and are uploaded for free for anyone to enjoy. Often the class includes the actual lectures from the on campus course; sometimes you can access the syllabus. Since there are no teachers or homework or grades or credits, it operates a bit like a public library. While homeschool parents love MOOCs for curriculum (because we award our own grades for high school) the downside was not having anything to “show” for the learning. In other words, you couldn’t get college credit, you couldn’t get a college transcript, you couldn’t get a certificate, and there was no way to confirm (or deny) that you took a class.

In more recent years, edX started selling certificates. Certificates required a few more requirements and carried a cost, but since these certificates were for personal or professional development, the HS4CC community didn’t really benefit from expense associated with this “upgraded” experience. That program certainly helped those looking for resume enhancers, but my enthusiasm for that product remained lukewarm. Prior to this post, my recommendation has been to skip the certificate, save your cash, and roll your knowledge from the MOOC class into a CLEP or AP exam.

A partnership with Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University is a proud partner and provider of college credit for the newly announced MicroBachelors programs created by edX. These programs will be the first credit-backed stackable credential, marking a significant milestone in online learning and will deliver immediately transferable skills to meet the real-world needs of employers, while providing a pathway to a full Bachelor’s degree.”

In January 2021, edX sent out a press release about the new MicroBachelor® program and that it would yield college credit! I needed to do heavy digging to make sure the program was going to work exactly as described. Sometimes there are snags that aren’t be immediately obvious if you don’t ask the right questions, so while snags are not a deal breaker, I certainly want to know each and every nuance of a program before I write about it here! TESU has always led the industry in awarding college credit for knowledge gained in a nontraditional way, and I have 2 degrees from Thomas Edison State University, so this partnership caught my attention immediately and in a big way.

If Thomas Edison State University rings a bell, it’s because TESU is one of the 3 colleges that make up “The Big 3.” The Big 3 are the only 3 colleges in the country that have a residency requirement of less than 25% – which is to say they let you transfer in almost every credit in advance. Creative and resourceful people DIY degrees from these schools by outsourcing almost every credit using $0-cheap options. This is what they’re known for!

Read about the Big 3


  • Open to anyone
  • no application
  • no grade level or age requirement
  • no GPA, transcript, SAT, or placement tests
  • no record (paper trail) if you fail

How to Enroll

  • Choose a MicroBachelor® from the edX website. Full list
  • Use the list provided by TESU (below) to see how your credits will be recorded.
  • Pay the fee to edX. (approximate cost breaks out to $166 per credit)
  • You can elect to NOT pay for the class by choosing “audit” but you will not be eligible for college credit under this option.
  • Begin immediately.

Taking a Class

  • Even though the class is taken through the edX portal, your instruction will come from a university.
  • You are NOT a college student while taking an edX class.
  • You can NOT use financial aid for an edX class.
  • edX classes have no bearing on your teen’s FAFSA, college application process, or freshman scholarships.
  • No matter which university teaches your class, all classes get recorded on a TESU transcript.
  • Complete all requirements with 70% or better to earn college credit.

After the Class

  • If you don’t pass (or if you choose to withdrawal) there is nothing to do.
  • Your attempted courses will not appear in the Student Clearinghouse database.
  • Use the edX instructions for sending your credit to TESU.
  • TESU will create an ILA (Individual Learning Assessment) transcript listing the courses and credits.
  • Credits are pass/fail and not graded.

TESU List of as of 3/15/2022

MicroBachelor ProgramsCreditsTESU Course Equivalent
Harvard University
  University Chemistry
  Full Stack Cloud Developer
New York University
  Computer Science Fundamentals
New York University
  Cybersecurity Fundamentals
New York University
  Introduction to Databases
New York University
  Programming and Data Structures
Western Governors University
  Introduction to Information Technology
Doane University
  Marketing Essentials
Doane University
  Business and Professional Communication for Success
Arizona State University
  Professional Writing English Composition
Arizona State University
  Professional Writing English Composition: Research and Writing
Southern New Hampshire University
  Business Analytics Foundations
Southern New Hampshire University
  Data Management with Python and SQL
Southern New Hampshire University
  Financial Accounting and Analysis

I sent an email directly to TESU’s Registrar with some very specific questions. I’m including my email and her reply to me here:

“Hello, Andrea, I received an email today from edX about their Microbachelor’s program in Chemistry and it states that: ‘When you complete the University Chemistry MicroBachelors Program, you will receive up to 8 college credits from edX’s credit partner, Thomas Edison State University. These credits can help you fulfill your general education requirement in an undergraduate degree program at a significantly reduced cost per credit compared to most undergraduate or nonprofit online colleges. I understand that my Chemistry credits will appear on a Thomas Edison transcript, but I have a few other questions. Will these classes be recorded with a letter grade, will they say edX on the transcript, and if I send a transcript from the Student Clearinghouse will it look like I took the classes from Thomas Edison or will it clearly say edX? Thank you, Jennifer cook DeRosa

Good morning Jennifer and thank you for your e-mail. Please see answers to your questions below. Hope this helps. Thank you in advance. -Andrea Porter

Will these classes be recorded with a letter grade?
No, only TESU courses compute letter grades and GPA. (Individual Learning Assessment) ILA transcript will state TESU-Assessment Credit. Transcript will also list course code, course title, CR for credit and however many credits. Also note ILA transcript does not include start/end dates.

will they say edX on the transcript?

ILA transcript will not say edX, although it will state TESU-Assessment credit.

and if I send a transcript from the Student Clearinghouse will it look like I took the classes from Thomas Edison or will it clearly say edX?

ILA transcript will not state edX. Although, if you need information such as start/end dates or course description, this information will come from edX and not TESU. Hope this helps. Thanks again, Andrea Porter

Andrea S. Porter
Office of the Registrar

167 W. Hanover Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08618

Phone #609-984-1180 ext. 3070

Fax #609-777-0477


And the Winner is….

The best deal is the Chemistry bundle taught by Harvard. The cost per credit for this bundle is only $140, and if you look closely you’ll see that these are UPPER-LEVEL science credits!! Upper-level credit is always hard to find and expensive to obtain, so while this isn’t a lab credit, and it isn’t graded credit, this bundle is by far my favorite.

The snag to avoid is the credit duplication you’ll get if you do Business Analytics Foundations and Data Management with Python and SQL. Unfortunately, both of these bundles award credit for COS111. Colleges never award credit twice for the same class, so watch out for that potential snag!

The biggest surprise is that you can accumulate 27 non-duplicating college credits in cybersecurity / computer science / IT through this program!

The lame duck is the Western Governors University Introduction to Information Technology. This 3 course bundle only awards 3 college credits, and it’s in an intro level class that you could CLEP out of for free. I think your time and money is spent better elsewhere.

Full list of available Microbachelors


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “MicroBachelors® edX & TESU

  1. Hello! This is great information. I registered for edX and attempted to register for a course and I did not see where I could select to audit the course to take it for free.

    1. edX’s website should provide all the instructions for how to register as well as how to upgrade for a credential (pay version). If the course you’re taking is part of a paid credential, you may not have the option of doing it as an audit. Since their catalog is huge, my advice is to try reaching out to edX support for guidance about auditing if it’s not listed on the course info sheet. Good luck!

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