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

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)

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*

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.


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
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


Posted in ACE, Curriculum, High School

Elective: First Aid & Safety

11/29/2017 NOTE:  *The Black Friday sale has ended, the prices below won’t be accurate*

With the buzz around the Udemy Black Friday deal, I have spent more time on their site than usual.  I have our core courses worked out for this year, so I’ve been poking around looking for electives.  Whenever I do something that takes me a bit of time, like pulling together this list, I love to share it here with you too.

This elective course is a ROBUST high school course with certificates, licenses, and college credit integrated!  I have 2 sons that will work on this together starting in January and running until the end of the school year so there will be some shared costs.

There is a lot packed into this semester, and even though the Udemy courses were on sale, the course as outlined will cost a fair bit of money due to the added training and licenses I’ve planned in- by no means do you have to go as elaborate as I did here.

I’ll label it as First Aid and Safety on their transcript.  When I do this, I like to loosely follow the Carnegie model (120 hours = 1 credit).  When you calculate hours, be sure to factor in all the time they spend, not just the video length.  They’ll invest time in taking notes, reading, writing, reviewing, studying, taking quizzes, etc.  All of that can add a lot of time.  So, when you see a video course that is “2 hours of video” you can predict that to take anywhere from 2-4 hours in real time.  If there is reading, that will be in addition to the video viewing, again, adding a lot more time.  It’s not that hard to accumulate 120 hours!

In addition, I’m adding in an ACE-evaluated course through Straighterline that will be worth 3 college credits.  Straighterline requires external verification of a Red Cross certification course as part of their course, so that will include additional cost and hours. The CPR and lifeguarding hours all happen on weekends, so even though they’ll have a lot of material, it shouldn’t be too difficult to work in.

My plan is for this course to exceed 100 hours and be recorded as 1 full high school credit.  If we don’t exceed 60 hours, I’ll record it as 1/2 credit.  Also, since your goals and interests will vary, feel free to chop this up in any way that makes sense for you!

Upon Completion

  • 8 Certificates of Completion (Udemy)
  • 1 ServSafe Food Handler Certification (National Restaurant Association)
  • 1 Red Cross CPR Certification
  • 1 Life Guard Certification
  • 1 Boating License
  • 3 College Credits (Straighterline ACE)
  • 1 High School Credit


UNIT 1:  Human First Aid

6-8 hours

First Aid: Learn How to Save a Life  This course is 2 hours of video, and it has over 1,200 students that have awarded it a “5-star” rating so this feels like a solid choice. It covers the things you’d expect:

  • Perform CPR.
  • Save people from chocking.
  • Use of AED- Automated External Defibrillator (found in public places).
  • How and when to apply different bandages tourniquets and dressings.
  • Treat bleeding and trauma injuries.
  • Avoid and treat climate injuries (dehydration, hyperthermia, and hypothermia).
  • You”ll learn how to act about different injuries like head injuries, burns, fractures, sprains, electric shock and more.
  • How to treat adults, children, and babies.
  • How to make your own first aid kit.

Complete Children’s First Aid Guide  This course is 1 1/2 hours of video and deals with first aid for children.  Also rated really high, this will be our second module.

UNIT 2:  Advanced First Aid

30-45 hours

How to Save a Life – Advanced  This course (also Udemy) is free and is an hour of video.  It asks the user to have completed a basic first aid course first and covers more content than basic first aid.  It dives into things like snake bites, stopping a bleed, and other more significant situations.

Straighterline First Aid Course    For the January semester, my teens are already enrolled in a Straighterline course so we won’t have the added cost of their subscription, only the cost of the course ($49).  This course is worth 3 ACE college credits and requires the completion of a CPR, which they will do locally.

American Red Cross CPR Course We will do this locally in a face to face setting.  Hands-on practice with an instructor is essential for initial training.  (review and renewal can be done online)

UNIT 2: Animal First Aid

6-8 hours

Secrets of Natural Pet First Aid for your Dog Cat & animals  I have to confess, I feel pretty smart for adding this in.  My sons will love this.  This course is 2 hours of video and covers limping, sunburn, burns, diarrhea, infections, cuts, broken bones, and trauma.  It’s also rated very well and is taught by a vet!

Dog CPR, First Aid + Safety for pet pros + dedicated owners Also rated excellent by 500+ users, I’m looking forward to this.  I actually did CPR on a squirrel (true!) about 7 years ago after it fell from a tree in a storm.  This course has a lot of supplemental material to go with the 2 hours of video.

UNIT 3:  Fire Safety

2-4 hours

Fire Safety: Become A Fire Safety Expert  Become an expert in Fire Safety, Fire Hazards Control, Fire Evacuation Plans, and Fire Risk Assessment.  I think I will bulk this up to include things like formally having my sons assess our home’s safety, fire extinguishers, alarm placement, etc.  I see this as having some lab areas we can develop.

UNIT 4:  Food Safety & Sanitation

4-8 hours

While Udemy has a course for this, in my opinion, a better option is to use the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe course.  As chefs, that’s the certification both my husband and I have.  It’s inexpensive and available online.  (about $15)  Best of all, if your teen intends to work in a foodservice establishment, having their ServSafe Food Handler certificate will help them tremendously!  Certification is valid for up to 5 years.

UNIT 5:  Wilderness Survival

10-14 hours

This might be a little bit too much, but this is something my kids are very interested in, so I’m choosing 3 courses here where 1-2 might be enough.

Wilderness Survival and Awareness – Be ready to survive

Essential guide to survival in the wilderness with nothing

Wilderness Survival: Survival, Prepping and Preparedness

UNIT 6:  Water Safety & Lifeguardinglifeguard

20-25 hours

Lifeguard Certification    A personal preference, but my older sons took this training as teens, and even if you never work as a lifeguard, this is valuable for anyone who is ever around water.  In order to take this class, you have to pass a swimming test.

UNIT 7:  Boating Safety

10-12 hours

Boat Safety Course This is more of a personal preference for our family since we’ll be spending some time in small boats this summer, but the link offers a lot of course options, including free resource information as well as ways to secure a boating license in your state.


Cost Breakdown

  • UDEMY courses purchased DURING Black Friday sale  $80
  • UDEMY courses if purchased AFTER Black Friday sale $995
  • Straighterline First Aid Course $49
  • Straighterline Membership $99*
  • ServSafe Course and Certification $15
  • American Red Cross CPR Certification (in-person class)  $84
  • Lifeguard training course and certification (in-person class) $240
  • Boating course and license $25

Tip:  I have 2 sons that will share the UDEMY courses, so the $80 fee will technically be split between 2 students.  The Straighterline course and all other certifications must be done “per-person” however, you can have your teens share a textbook if they take it together!





*Note:  Since you have to purchase a minimum of 1 month, my suggestion is to squeeze as much out of that month as you can.  It doesn’t pay to take only 1 course.  A teen should easily be able to complete 2 courses in a month’s time.  If you want more on how to pick a class, I wrote this post to help you. 


Posted in ACE, AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, DSST, Foreign Language, Saylor Academy

Single Exam Options

College classes usually require a lot of homework. Some college classes require a little bit of homework, but for some students, earning college credit by exam means skipping homework in college! If your teen is the type of learner who can read a book and pass a test, is a strong independent learner, likes to deep dive into a subject, then credit by exam is probably something to consider.  In addition, parents who plan credit by exam options are the teachers and selectors of the curriculum (because it happens in highschool at home) and there is no worry about what the college may or may not teach.

There are many alternative credit sources out there, and many require passing a series of tests or quizzes, but this post will focus on the single-exam option.

A single-exam option:  one test determines whether or not you receive college credit in a subject.  

Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating skipping a high school class.  Rather, I’m telling you that learning in homeschool can prepare your teen well enough to skip a college class.

Let’s look at this example:

Paul has studied German since middle school and is starting 10th grade.  His parents have used a variety of curriculum options, and he’s done fine, but last year he really had a breakthrough after his family went to Germany to visit family.  When they returned home, Paul was very motivated and put is heart into his German class.  He completed the 4th and final level of his Rosetta Stone German course.  Paul can speak, read, and write German pretty well!  Paul took the German CLEP exam and scored a 70.  That is an exceptionally high score and will qualify him for 9 college credit at most of his target colleges.  With such a high score, his homeschool advisor suggested he attempt the ACTFL  exam too.  His score resulted in 14 college credits.  Though the first 9 credits of his ACTFL exam will duplicate the CLEP exam credits he has (you can’t count them twice), the additional new 5 credits will give him upper-level credit at his top choice university.  At $900 per credit, Paul saved at least $12,000  by taking a single exam and getting 14 credits for his fluency in German.  (If the university tuition price goes up before he graduates high school, his savings will be even more impressive!)

It’s important to point out that not all colleges accept credit by exam, but you’re not going to send your teen to all colleges- you can be strategic in the schools you choose and consider whether or not it is worth your family’s time and money to use credit by exam.

To inject a personal note, when I first read about credit by exam, I was very skeptical.  In addition to thinking it was possibly untrue, I wasn’t sure that I was smart enough to test out of a college course.   Since I was working at a college at the time, I went down the hall and asked about CLEP.  Despite working there for 10 years, I had no idea that we accepted CLEP, we were an official testing center, and that we allowed our students to complete 75% of their degree through CLEP!!!  So, yeah, it’s a real option.

Using my employer’s testing center, I proceeded to test out of class after class. I found a college with better CLEP policy than my employer and tested out of an ENTIRE AA degree.  This was a test, I didn’t even need the degree.  But, that event changed my children’s lives forever, and it led me to start this community.  So, I share that story because it’s TRUE.  (And my IQ is unimpressively average)

List of single-exam options

CLEP College Level Exam Program:  33 different exams.  All credit is considered lower level (100/200) and all exams (except College Composition) are multiple choice pass/fail.  Cost:  about $100 each.  Accepted by about 2,900 colleges. Taken at a testing center.

DSST (formerly known as DANTES):  36 different exams.  Exams are lower and upper-level (100/200/300/400) and all exams are multiple choice pass/fail.  Cost:  about $100 each.  Accepted by about 1,400 colleges.  Taken at a testing center.

Saylor Academy:  31 different exams.  Exams are lower level (100/200) and all are multiple choice and require 70% to pass.  Cost:  $25 each.  Accepted by about 200 colleges.  Taken at home via webcam proctor.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages:  Exams in over 100 languages.  Exams are lower and upper level (100/200/300/400) and credit is awarded based on the strength of your score.  Cost and requirements vary.  Accepted by at least 200 colleges for college credit.  (This exam is also accepted for government employment and teacher certification)

Advanced Placement:  38 different exams.  Exams are lower and upper-level (100/200/300/400) and all exams are a combination of multiple-choice and essay.  Exams are scored 1-5, and colleges generally award credit for a score of 3 or above.  Cost:  about $100 each.  Accepted by about 3,200 colleges.  Taken at a designated AP high school.

New York University Foreign Language Proficiency Exam:  Exams in over 50 languages.  Exams are lower and upper level(100/200/300/400) and credit is awarded based on the strength of your score – up to 16 credits.  Cost ranges from $150 – $450.  Accepted by at least 200 colleges for college credit. (This exam is also accepted for government employment and teacher certification).  Taken at a testing center.

UExcel (Formerly known as Excelsior) Exams:  61 different exams.  Exams are lower and upper-level (100/200/300/400) and all exams are mainly multiple-choice.  Credit is awarded as a letter grade (A, B, C, or F).  Cost is about $100.  Taken at a testing center.




Posted in ACE, Free Tuition, Self-Paced Learning, Sophia, Transfer Credit

Sources of Free College Credits

This fantastic list was put together by a couple members of the InstantCert forum community.  I encourage you to visit the forum if you’re considering distance learning boy1colleges for your teen- it’s the single best resource on the web.

As a homeschooler of high school students, here’s what you should know before you read on:

ALL (but one) of these freebies awards ACE credit.  As such, their transfer is very limited.  If your teen is several years away from high school graduation and selecting a target college, you may want to use these just for fun, and if he gets credit later- that’s a bonus.  You can bundle these together into high school electives too.  But, if you’re getting close to enrollment or you’ve already selected a target college, you’ll want to confirm that they accept ACE credit before investing too much time in these.

See my previous posts on colleges that accept ACE courses for college credit and setting up your teen’s ACE account.

Understanding expiration dates:  whenever a course or exam is evaluated for college credit by ACE, they set a date range of usually a few years.  During that time, completing the course or exam allows you to earn college credit.  When a course or exam has “expired” that means the window for college credit has closed.  Frequently, a course or exam is renewed, and the dates will extend out another few years, but occasionally we have seen courses permanently expire.  AS LONG AS you complete a course and get it onto your ACE transcript before an expiration date, the credit is good and you can use it at any point in the future.

The Institutes (2 college credits)

The American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (commonly referred to as “The Institutes”) offer a free ethics course that is ACE recommended for 2 credits.  expired on 7/31/2018 – hoping for a renewal, keep checking back.

  • 312N-H Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct (2 credits) – an upper-level ethics/philosophy course that meets TESU‘s General Education “ethics” requirement. (it meets 2 of the 3 credit requirement – you might have to ask for an exception to be made for the last credit, but typically this is automatically granted. The 3rd credit can be made up as a general ed elective).

To signup, use the following link:

Select the FREE option. You should not do the $5 option. The paid option is for “Continuing Education credit,” which is different than college credit. The free version is ACE approved for college credit.

National Fire Academy (1 college credit)

The National Emergency Training Center/National Fire Academy (NFA) offers one free course that is ACE-recommended for 1 credit.

  • Q0118 Self-Study Course for Community Safety Educators  (1 credit)

To signup, use the following link and find Q0118 on the list: National Fire Academy Course List

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes: NFA Login

Sophia – (2 college credits)

Sophia offers a number of paid ACE-approved courses that are fairly expensive. team2However, they do offer 2 free 1 credit courses:

  • Developing Effective Teams (1 credit)
  • Essentials of Managing Conflict (1 credit)

You can sign up for the courses at

TEEX Cybersecurity (6 college credits)

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers three ACE-approved courses recommended for 2 credits each. These are DHS/FEMA funded and therefore free for the general public to take.  (POTENTIAL EXPIRATION ON 9/30/2018.  Check HERE before proceeding)  

  • Cyber 101 – Cybersecurity for Everyone (2 credits)
    • Must complete all 3:
      • Cyber Law and White Collar Crime
      • Cyber Ethics
      • Information Security for Everyone
  • Cyber 201 – Cybersecurity for IT Professionals (2 credits)
    • Must complete all 4:
      • Network Assurance
      • Digital Forensics Basics
      • Information Security Basics
      • Secure Software
  • Cyber 301 – Cybersecurity for Business Professionals (2 credits)
    • Must complete all 3:
      • Cyber Incident Analysis and Response
      • Disaster Recovery for Information Systems
      • Information Risk Management

To signup, use the following link and make sure you complete each mini-class in each main class before submitting to ACE. 

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes:


FEMA Independent Study (over 40 college credits)

  • NOTE: FEMA is NOT ACE evaluated for credit.  As such, FEMA IS courses are only acceptable as transfer credit at Charter Oak State College and two other small 2-year colleges.  IF you’re planning to attend COSC, you can fill the ENTIRE lower level elective requirement for an Associate’s of Science (30 cr) an Associate’s of Arts (15 cr) or bachelor’s degrees (30+) using only FEMA.  Cost:  $0 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates an online Independent Study program offering approximately 197 courses online for free. Only certain ones are acceptable as transfer credit at Charter Oak State College.

The current list of  FEMA courses worth college credit can be found here.


Posted in ACE, ALEKS, Alternative Credit Project, Foreign Language, Sophia, Straighterline,

Creating an ACE Account for your Homeschooled Teen

You’ll need to create an ACE account anytime your teen takes a course NOT taught by a college, but is “for college credit.”  This includes curriculum or exams you purchase for your homeschool, as well as on the job training or certificates that may result in college credit.

Even when the company tells you they can forward your credit directly to the college of your choice, that doesn’t create a permanent record. You are wise to put the credit on an ACE transcript where it will be held for 20 years and can be sent to any college at any time now or later.

Taking courses from these providers?

Set up an ACE account!

  • Straighterline
  • Saylor Academy
  • Sophia Learning
  • TEEX
  • Alternative Credit Project
  • Ed4Credit
  • Lumerit / College Plus
  • Excelsior College Exams (Uexcel / ECE)
  • Penn Foster College
  • PADI (scuba)
  • Pearson Learning
  • Verity
  • Year Up

Link to set up your teen’s ACE account  ACE-Net

I thought I was the only one that couldn’t figure out how to set up an ACE account, but slowly parents kept asking about how to do it, and I realized, it’s just a tricky website!! If you get stuck, you may want to watch my click by click tutorial.

Posted in ACE, Alternative Credit Project, edX, Saylor Academy, Straighterline,, Transfer Credit

The “REAL” ACE College List

Non-college-issued credit comes from many places:  Straighterline, ALEKS, Sophia, EdX, Saylor,, Lumerit/College Plus, Advanced Placement, CLEP, military training, licenses, certifications, and many, many others.  They are “worth” college credit because their curriculum or exam has been evaluated by a third party called ACE (American Council on Education) and has been determined to be worth a certain number of credits. As an example, ACE determined completion of Military Bootcamp is worth 6 college credits! Though other third party credit evaluators exist, ACE is the largest and oldest- frankly, they are the primary trusted evaluator in the United States.

Some colleges will accept “all ACE credit” – that is to say, if your credit appears on an ACE transcript, they will give you college credit.  The number of colleges in this category is very small.  My estimation is that it is fewer than 50.

Some colleges will accept “ACE credit” but don’t go so far as to say “all” and will consider, but not guarantee, acceptance. My estimation is fewer than 250 fall into this category.

2,000 colleges are part of the “ACE Network” which ACE publishes the list of colleges who will “consider” your work for college credit.  In no way, shape, or form, do 2,000 colleges award credit for ACE.  Being in the network does not mean they award credit.

What does it mean to be part of the ACE Network?

As I found out with my oldest son in 2013, it does NOT mean that the college will consider ACE credit for you- it might mean that they teach it!  Our local community college is on the list, so imagine my surprise when they denied 27 of my son’s ACE credits in transfer (ALEKS math and Straighterline).  I decided to probe deeper (they were on the list, after all!) and found that our local community college offered a carpentry course through the continuing education (non-credit) department, and successful completion of that course led to 3 ACE credits in carpentry.  In other words, our community college was on the list because they taught a course that generated ACE credit, not because they awarded credit for ACE work.  Yes, I appealed.  No, he didn’t receive credit. Ouch.

RULE 1:  Don’t assume colleges on the ACE Network list will award your teen college credit for their ACE courses.

As I appealed my son’s credit decision, I grew frustrated by advisor after advisor who didn’t know what ACE was, or what kind of credit he’d earned.  I shouldn’t have been too frustrated because I remember myself having advised students at the community college for about 10 years before I knew what CLEP was….or that we were a testing center.  Eventually, when I found someone (the Registrar) who knew what ACE credit was, she was able to explain to me why our community college was on the list and told me all about the carpentry course.   Scenarios have played out like this have played out dozens of times among our membership.  I frequently hear of parents being bounced around to 4-5 people just trying to find out if the college accepts Straighterline credit!

If you’re constantly told that they don’t know what ACE credit is, or if they accept it, or want you to “submit your transcripts first” before giving you information, you can ask if they award credit for military training.  Military training usually appears on an ACE transcript, so even though your teen won’t have military training for evaluation, this could be a “clue” that ACE credit may be awarded.  Again, we’re trying to predict based on an incomplete picture, but how colleges behave in one situation is usually a good indication of how they’ll do other things – so it’s worth asking if you’re out of options.

RULE 2:  Don’t assume that college personnel are familiar with ACE credit. ACE credit is probably the least frequent type of credit they encounter.  You’ll have to be patient and persistent.

As someone constantly tracking this type of information, I am so frustrated when I can’t share a “list” with our membership.  Asking for a list is a frequent question, and frankly, there isn’t one.  So, instead, I’ll share what I know- and you can work from there.  I have found, that several ACE credit sources have credit transfer partnerships with specific colleges.  For example, Saylor Academy has partnership agreements with 20 colleges.  Those 20 colleges have agreed (in writing) to accept Saylor’s courses for college credit.  That list is a great list to use as a starting point- which is to say that if those 20 colleges accept Saylor courses, they probably will accept other ACE evaluated course provider’s courses! The Alternative Credit Project partnered with 40 schools, and Straighterline another 100+.

RULE 3:  When one ACE credit source has a partnership agreement with a college, it is reasonable to infer that the same college will also accept other ACE credit sources.  

If you visit each ACE provider’s website, you can find their partnership agreements. Here is a small sample of ACE providers: partnership colleges

edX partnership colleges (includes graduate level partnerships)

Saylor Academy partnership colleges

Straighterline partnership colleges

Alternative Credit Project partnerships

As you browse the lists, you’ll see that there is some overlap of schools, but there are many listings that appear only one one list.  It is my observation, that if a college appears on any list above, you’ll have an excellent shot at getting them to accept your other sources of ACE credit- at the very least, you should try.

So, the following list is the list I created by merging all known partner college relationships with ACE credit providers I could find.  In other words- this list, not the ACE Network list, is probably as close to any “real ACE list” as you’ll ever find, and it contains about 145 colleges (not 2,000).   

University of Maine at Presque Isle

Alderson Broaddus University 101 College Hill Drive, Philippi WV 26416
American Business and Technology University 1018 West St. Maartens Drive, St. Joseph, Missouri 64506
American College of Education 101 West Ohio St., Suite 1200, Indianapolis, IN 46204
American Intercontinental University 231 N. Martingale Road, 6th Floor, Schaumburg, IL 60173
American Military University 111 West Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
American Public University 111 West Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
American Sentinel University 2260 South Xanadu Way, Suite 310, Aurora, CO 80014
Antioch University Midwest 900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Antioch University Online
Antioch University Santa Barbara 602 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Antioch University Seattle 2400 3rd Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98121
Arapahoe Community College 5900 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO 80120-1801
Argosy University 601 South Lewis Street, Orange, CA 92868
Ashford University 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123
Baker College
Bastyr University 14500 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore, WA 98028
Bay State College 122 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
Bellevue University 1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology 41 Berkeley Street Boston, MA 02116
Berkeley College Box 440, Little Falls, NJ 07424
Bethel College of Indiana 1001 Bethel Circle, Mishawaka, IN 46545
Bethel University 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul, MN 55112
Brandman University  16355 Laguna Canyon Road, Irvine, CA 92618
California Southern University 3330 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, California 92626
Capella University 225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Capitol Technology University 11301 Springfield Road, Laurel, MD 20708
Cecil College One Seahawk Drive, North East, MD 21901
Cedar Valley College 3030 N. Dallas Ave., Lancaster, TX 75134
Central Michigan University  1200 S. Franklin St., Mount Pleasant, Mich. 48859
Central Penn College 600 Valley Rd., P.O. Box 309, Summerdale, PA 17093-0309
Charter Oak State College 55 Paul Manafort Dr, New Britain, CT 06053
City University of Seattle 521 Wall Street, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98121
City Vision University 3101 Troost Ave. Suite 200, Kansas City MO 64109-1845
College of St. Josephs (VT) 71 Clement Road, Rutland, VT 05701
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Colorado State University Global Campus 7800 East Orchard Road, Suite 200 , Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Colorado Technical University 231 N. Martingale Road, 7th Floor, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Community College of Aurora 16000 East CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9036
Community College of Denver 1111 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80204
Concordia University Irvine 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612
Concordia University St. Paul 1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104
CUNY City University of New York 160 Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031
Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan
DeVry University 1200 East Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563
Excelsior University 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-5159
Fayetteville State University 1200 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC 28301
Fisher College 118 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116
Franklin Pierce University 40 University Drive, Rindge, NH 03461-0060
Franklin University 201 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
Front Range Community College 2190 Miller Drive, Longmont, CO 80501
Goodwin College One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118
Goodwin College
Grace College 200 Seminary Drive Winona Lake, Indiana 46590
Grambling State University 403 Main Street, Grambling, Louisiana 71245
Granite State University 25 Hall Street, Concord, NH 03301
Great Bay Community College 320 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth NH 03801
Harrisburg University of Science and Tech.  326 Market St, Harrisburg, PA 17101
Herzing University W140N8917 Lilly Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Indiana Tech  1600 E. Washington Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46803
Indiana Wesleyan University 4201 S. Washington St.,Marion, IN 46953
Jefferson Community and Technical College 109 East Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202
John F. Kennedy University 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4817
Kaplan University
Kendall College 900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago, IL 60642
Lakeland University W3718 South Drive, Plymouth, WI 53073-4878
Lamar Community College 2401 South Main Street, Lamar, Colorado 81052
Liberty University 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Va. 24515
Life Pacific College 1100 West Covina Boulevard, San Dimas, California 91773
Lipscomb University One University Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37204-3951
Lynn University 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Martinsburg College 341 Aikens Center, Martinsburg, WV 25404
McNeese State University 4205 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA
Mercy College 555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Monroe College 2501 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468
Monroe Community College 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, New York 14623
Morgan Community College 920 Barlow Rd., Fort Morgan, CO 80701
Mount Vernon Nazarene University 800 Martinsburg Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio, 43050
National Louis University 122 S. MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO, IL 60603
New England College 98 Bridge Street, Henniker, NH 03242
New England College
New England College of Business 10 High St., Ste. 204, Boston, MA 02110-1605
New York Chiropractic College 2360 State Rte. 89 Seneca Falls, New York 13148
Nichols College 129 Center Road, Dudley MA 01571
Northcentral University 2488 Historic Decatur Rd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92106
Northeastern Junior College 100 College Avenue, Sterling, Colorado 80751
Northwestern Health Sciences University 2501 W. 84th St., Bloomington, MN 55431
Northwestern State University 175 Sam Sibley Dr, Natchitoches, LA 71497
Norwich University 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663
Notre Dame College 4545 College Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44121-4293
Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914-2345
Otero Junior College 1802 Colorado Ave. , La Junta, CO 81050
Pacific Oaks College 55 W Eureka St. Pasadena, CA 91103
Patten University 2100 Franklin Street, Suite 350, Oakland, CA  94612
Paul Smith’s College 7833 New York 30, Paul Smiths, NY 12970
Pikes Peak Community College 5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Pillar College 60 Park Place, Suite 701, Newark, NJ 07102
Pine Manor College 400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Rasmussen College 1415 West 22nd Street, Suite 400, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Red Rocks Community College 13300 W. 6th Ave, Lakewood, CO 80228
Regis University 3333 Regis Boulevard, Denver, Colorado 80221-1099
Rio Salado College 2323 West 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281
Saint Joseph’s College PO Box 870, Rensselaer, IN 47978
Seward County Community College 1801 N Kansas, PO Box 1137, Liberal, Kansas, 67905
Simpson University 2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA 96003
Sinclair College 444 West Third Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402
St. Catherine University 2004 Randolph Avenue , St. Paul, MN 55105
Strayer University
Sullivan University 3101 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
SUNY Empire State College Two Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Tennessee State University 3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37209
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 325 N Wells, Chicago, IL 60654-1822
Thomas Edison State University 111 W. STATE ST. TRENTON, NJ 08608
Tiffin University 155 Miami St, Tiffin, OH 44883
Touro University Worldwide 10601 Calle Lee, Suite 179, Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Trident University International 5757 Plaza Drive, Suite 100, Cypress, CA 90630
Trinidad State Junior College 600 Prospect Street, Trinidad, CO 81082
Truckee Meadows Community College 7000 Dandini Boulevard, Reno, NV 89512
Union College 807 UNION STREET SCHENECTADY, NY 12308
Union Institute & University 440 East McMillan Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
United States Sports Academy One Academy Drive, Daphne, Alabama 36526
University of Baltimore 1420 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
University of Bridgeport 126 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604
University of Louisiana at Monroe 700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209
The universitytreet, Presque Isle, ME 04769
University of Maryland University College 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783
University of Memphis Memphis, TN 38152
University of Phoenix 1625 W. Fountainhead Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85282-2371
University of the Incarnate Word 4301 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209
University of the Potomac 2070 Chain Bridge Rd, Suite G100, Vienna, Virginia 22182
University of Western States  2900 NE 132nd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97230
Upper Iowa University 605 Washington Street | P.O. Box 1857, Fayette, Iowa 52142
Urban College of Boston 178 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111
Utica College 1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502
Walden University 100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
Western Governors University 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Indiana 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Missouri 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Nevada 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Tennessee 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Texas 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Western Governors University-Washington 4001 South 700 East, Suite 700,  Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Wilmington University 320 N. DuPont Hwy, New Castle, DE 19720
Wisconsin Lutheran College 8800 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226

*note- it may not seem like it, but this project took quite a bit of work – most providers used only college logos- not text (how crafty of them) so I had to hand write the list here for you.   Remember, there is no incentive for businesses to “share” or “merge” lists because it is in their best interest for you to use their products and NOT those of their competitor!  

UPDATE:  My deepest gratitude to Amy B. for generously and painstakingly looking up all of these college’s addresses and websites!! I know how long projects like this take, and I am so thankful!!!!


Posted in ACE, DSST

DSST Expiration / Revision Dates

ACE is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not. In other words, DSST exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.

When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review. At the ending date, the exam must be reviewed again or removed. If it is reviewed and renewed, a new date range is issued. In general, DSST likes to keep test takers informed, and often posts on their website when an exam is undergoing revision (they sometimes call it being “refreshed”) and a target date for the change.  As such, it’s a little bit easier to track DSST exam revisions than CLEP!

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

These dates are no guarantee that there will be an exam revision or removal, but the expiration dates are established by ACE,  as such, you should plan your high school accordingly, and proceed as if an exam will be revised or removed on its expiration date to be on the safe side.

A handful of exams were revised 4/1/2016 despite their deadline not being up, so be aware that even with the best planning, you should remain flexible.

NOTE:  upon expiration (12/31/2014) the following exams were DISCONTINUED.  If you’ve already taken one of these, no worries- your score is still valid.  However, DSST testing centers will no longer offer these exams:

  • Business Law II
  • Introduction to the Modern Middle East
  • Physical Geology
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Western Europe Since 1945.

Currently, 36 DSST exams are evaluated for college credit.

A History of the Vietnam War   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018  (Deadline approaching)

Art of the Western World   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Astronomy  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Business Ethics and Society  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Business Mathematics   6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Computing and Information Technology   1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Criminal Justice  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Environmental Science  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Ethics in America  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Foundations of Education  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Fundamentals of College Algebra  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Fundamentals of Counseling   6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Fundamentals of Cybersecurity  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

General Anthropology 7/19/2016 – 12/31/2018

Health and Human Development (formerly Here’s to Your Health)  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

History of the Soviet Union  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Human Resource Management  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Human Cultural Geography  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Introduction to Business 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Introduction to Law Enforcement 11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Introduction to World Religions  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Lifespan Developmental Psychology  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Management Information Systems 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Math for Liberal Arts  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Money and Banking  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Organizational Behavior  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Personal Finance 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Principles of Advanced English Composition  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Principles of Finance  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Principles of Physical Science I  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Principles of Public Speaking   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Principles of Statistics 6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Principles of Supervision  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Substance Abuse 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Technical Writing  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Civil War and Reconstruction 11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)