Unlike the other ACE options on our HS4CC Master List of college credits, Saylor Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free and open online courses to anyone!
The companies/organizations in this category sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by ACE. ACE (American Council on Education) is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning programs that happens outside of a college. Officially, ACE advertises that there are almost 1,500 colleges that “may consider” ACE credit. Unofficially, this credit should only be used when you plan to use one of the partner colleges. Inside a partnership, credit transfer is guaranteed!
Using ACE credit requires creating an account with another third party, Credly to “hold” your teen’s credit until they’re ready to use it. HS4CC List of ACE Partners
Unlike the other ACE options on our list, Saylor Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free and open online courses to anyone.
Saylor Courses: Some of Saylor’s courses are not worth college credit, so you’ll want to be sure you’re looking at their list of “Saylor Direct Credit” courses on the website.
How it works: You pay NOTHING to take these courses. The only cost to earn the credit is paying the proctoring service fee ($5) to take your online proctored exam. You can take the courses for personal interest without taking the online exam if you don’t need or want college credit.
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.
There is no paper trail (meaning disclosure to future colleges is not required and future colleges will never see your exam score).
When ready, you have the option to take a proctored final exam via webcam on your home computer. Saylor Academy uses Smarter Proctoring, which only costs $5. You must take and pass the proctored exam to earn college credit.
Parents can build an entire high school program using Saylor Academy courses. Think of this as the secular alternative to Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. Parents will award high school credit, without regard to whether or not their teen passed the exam. Since you technically don’t have to complete the class; a teen with prior knowledge could go straight to the final exam. As such, the exam alone determines whether or not you earn college credit in the course.
Courses: Currently, Saylor Academy offers over 30 courses for college credit.
Potential: >40 classes (more than 120 college credits)
I created this guide in 2016. Since then, the catalog has expanded to include more classes and the cost to take the exams has been reduced! While the plan is not 100% accurate today, it is more than accurate enough for you to use as a starting point for your own homeschool plan.
Saylor Academy Courses (2022)