Posted in business, College Admission, College Majors, Computer Science, Distance Learning, Free Tuition

University of the People

I have 2 over-reaching principles that guide what type of college content I share with you, and University of the People breaks both my rules.

(1)  Colleges I share must be Regionally Accredited – this one isn’t.

(2)  Colleges I share must be open to high school homeschooled students – this one isn’t.

So, why keep reading?  Because this college is worth knowing about, even if it isn’t the right fit for your teen.  In this post, I want to make a case for University of the People. You probably know someone who would love to attend college if cost weren’t a barrier. Perhaps this IS a degree your teen would consider?   University of the People is a university doing amazing things, and they’re worth considering.


I have to go there, just for a minute.  My first rule, that colleges mentioned must be Regionally Accredited (RA), is important within the context of what we do here because many careers and professions won’t acknowledge a degree that isn’t RA. Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Accounting, public school K-12 teaching, Engineering, college teaching, Dietetics, Social Work, Architecture, and many others – including those that require a state license, almost always specify a “Regionally Accredited” degree.  Being “accredited” without the word “Regional” is not the same thing.    If your teen earns non-RA college credit, it will almost never transfer into an RA college (all community colleges and public universities are RA), while RA college credit readily transfers into other RA colleges.  So, as you can see, you can’t go wrong choosing RA.

Let me also add that when I tell you a handful of careers specify an RA degree, there are twice as many careers that don’t/won’t.  For instance, careers in business, computers, fire science, technology, military, ministry, drama, music, management, law enforcement, and numerous vocational programs (culinary arts, cosmetology, automotive, plus others) don’t care.  In fact, within certain fields, accredited is accredited; there is no distinction.   I am quite comfortable suggesting non-RA colleges to mid-career adults who are already in their career and simply need to check the box with an accredited degree in something.  I’m usually quiet when it comes to non-RA degrees for teens since there is usually so much uncertainty, but in this post, I’ll let you decide.

University of the People is accredited, but they are not Regionally Accredited.

Quick Back Story

In 2009, UoP was a tuition-free start up in California that nobody heard of and a guy surrounded by a few volunteers.  They offered one or two degrees initially, and since the college wasn’t accredited, they launched without much love from the higher education community.  In addition, they only accepted a handful of students (mostly non-American), so even if you didn’t mind their lack of accreditation, you still might not get in.  If you got in, you couldn’t transfer in ANY of your previous credit, they didn’t accept CLEP, and it was a little disorganized.  An early argument against their initiative is that it’s just as much work to earn an unaccredited degree as an accredited one.   I got the impression that they were a MOOC that wanted to be a college, and that they would fizzle out shortly (or start charging tuition).  If you’d like to see what the NY Times had to say about UoP in 2009, you’ll enjoy this story from their archives.

But then….

February 2014 UoPeople received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), a U.S. Department of Education authorized accrediting agency. This can be verified at

So, this got people’s attention.  In addition, they started getting a lot of support in the university community.  Their list of volunteer university leadership includes:

In addition to the added credibility of a real leadership team and accreditation, they expanded their degree offerings to their current menu:boy3.jpg

Business Administration

  • Associate
  • Bachelor
  • Master

Computer Science

  • Associate
  • Bachelor

Community Health Science

  • Associate
  • Bachelor


For those who don’t need a Regionally Accredited degree, this university just got real. University of the People is now considered a legitimate online university and is listed in the US Department of Education Database as accredited.  Wow!


University of the People is the first worldwide tuition-free university.  They are totally online (no room and board cost), provide your textbooks (electronically, so no shipping or rental fees), and don’t charge tuition. But, they do charge a test proctor fee ($100) at the end of each course for the final exam.  In addition, if $100 is a financial hardship, they also offer scholarships!  From their website:

It is the University’s mission to provide affordable, tuition-free education for everybody. UoPeople is tuition-free, not free. You will never be asked to pay for courses, course material or annual enrollment fees. There is a nominal $60 Application Processing Fee for all applicants as well as a $100 Exam Processing Fee for each exam ($200 for the MBA). Based on this, an associate’s degree can be completed in 2 years for $2060,  a bachelor degree can be completed in 4 years for $4060, and an MBA can be completed in 15 months for $2460. UoPeople will never request these amounts upfront, but rather students will pay each Exam Processing Fee by the end of each exam period. These modest fees ensure that the University remains sustainable and can continue to provide quality education for everybody.

There are scholarships available for those students who cannot afford the nominal processing fees of the University. It is the University’s belief that everyone deserves the right to an education, and that no one should be left behind due to financial constraints.

Transfer Credit

(from UoPeople website)  What Credits Are Accepted at UoPeople?

University of the People will consider transferring credits earned at accredited US universities and accredited universities outside of the U.S. UoPeople will also consider credits earned from College Board AP tests or evaluated by ACE (including CLEP).

UoPeople will consider accepting transfer credit for a course in any instance in which the course content is equivalent to that of one of UoPeople’s courses or in which the course may be used towards an elective credit in a UoPeople degree program. UoPeople may award the transfer of up to 50% of the required program credits.

Ok – so, let’s talk about transfer credit, and how this applies to my second rule:

Colleges I share must be open to high school homeschooled students – this one isn’t.


It’s true that as a homeschooled high school student, you wouldn’t be eligible for admission.  (18 years old and a High School Diploma are required for admission) but with their new transfer credit acceptance policy, you can DIY 50% of this degree while you’re still in high school.  For those seeking an Associate’s Degree, that allows for 30 credits of transfer, and for those seeking a Bachelor’s Degree, you’ll be allowed to transfer in 60 credits.

Let me add, that while they will accept credit into their program, it is unlikely that you’d get to transfer course credit out of their program into a different program. In other words, if you start there, finish there.

Last comment:  this is not a self-paced independent study program.  They have 3 terms per year, an academic calendar, application and graduation cycles – the whole thing.  So, if you’re considering the program, you’ll have to verify the application period in advance.

DIY 30 or 60 credit transfer plans by request:  I want to extend an offer to help any parent or teen match up the correct CLEP, AP, DSST, or ACE credits to align with the max allowable credit accepted by University of the People.

If you or your teen plans to attend, email me at or send me a message and we’ll get started.

Any degree plans we create will be shared here to help others.





Posted in business, Curriculum, High School

Entrepreneurship in High School

     Welcome everyone, this is a very special post because it’s appearing in 2 blogs 3 blogs!  In addition to appearing here on the Homeschooling for College Credit page, I also have the honor of sharing it at 5 Major Steps, the page owned by my friend LeAnn Gregory.    She and I share the sense of urgency to prepare our teens for the next chapter of their lives, but our blog audiences are very different.   My readers are mainly homeschooling families who are strategically injecting college credit into their homeschool curriculum.  LeAnn’s readers come from a variety of school settings and are working to make wise choices about what to study in college and where to attend.  As if that weren’t awesome enough, my long time CLEP-friend and homeschool teacher Cheri Frame published my 3-month curriculum in her blog Credits Before College.  Regardless of which blog brought you here, where your children attend school, and what direction they’re headed, thank you for reading today!  ~Jennifer

Entrepreneur:  A person who organizes,  manages, or owns an enterprise, especially a business.


My 4 sons (currently ages 12, 16, 18, 22), have all run simple businesses and shown strong entrepreneurial drive from a very early age- with no prompting from me AT ALL.  I have, however, done my best to encourage this behavior because my husband and I support the idea of self-employment.   I think most parents are led to believe that they should always encourage entrepreneurism in kids and teens, however, the idea of “working for yourself” is really a philosophical position, and may not mesh well with the principles you’ve chosen to emphasize in your children.   So, before we continue, it’s a good idea to think about how your family really views entrepreneurism.  Is it something to be discouraged or encouraged? Do you support the idea of your son or daughter building a business, or would you rather they worked for someone else’s business?  Doe the insecurity of starting a business bring out your own passion? Or fear?

The fact is, that if everyone were an entrepreneur, we’d have no real economy.  We’d have no small, medium, or large companies of any kind.  Think about the two entrepreneurs who founded Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Though two men started the company, Google employs 72,000 people!  These employees earn a nice living, are highly educated, and are part of a global company that changed the world.  So clearly, we need entrepreneurs AND we need employees!  As we go forward, know that neither path is “better” than the other.  If your teen doesn’t have an entrepreneurial drive- so what?!  That’s fine!  In today’s post, we’ll look at ways to encourage the teens that DO have that drive, and I’ll provide you with some high quality (free) resources you can use  at home.  At this point in your teen’s life, you may already have a feeling about whether or not they desire to become an entrepreneur.  If you’re not sure, here are some clues:


  • Wants autonomy over their saving and spending of money.

  • Takes pride in earning their own money.

  • Likes to find the best deal on something they want to buy.

  • Makes deals and trades from a young age with siblings or friends.

  • Looks for ways to profit from deals and trades.

  • Finds their own solution to problems so they can get what they want or need. (movies, car, phone, sneakers, etc.)

  • Has their own ideas for running a small business (walking dogs, mowing, babysitting).

  • Follows through on their ideas for businesses or earning money.

  • Doesn’t require pushing or encouragement to earn money.

  • Doesn’t require pushing or encouragement to start a business.

  • Strategizes and sets goals to get the things they want.

  • Views themselves as capable of starting a small business.



Do any of those traits sound familiar?  I remember when my sons were very young, seated around their car track rug.  They each set up their own car lot and dealership.  After hours and hours of serious negotiation, each had negotiated and traded for their own selection of cars.   I don’t think they ever “played cars” on the rug by driving them around,  for them, it was all business- all the time.  Sometimes the negotiations were heated, but I always let them work out the deals. I was the parent, but I stayed out of their business.  In other words, I listened and corrected any bad behavior (rudeness, mean words) but I always stayed completely out of trading and deal making.  Afterall, I get that nobody wanted the ugly blue one with the wobbly wheel, or the slow purple one with a flower one hood…but they had to end up in someone’s lot, so trading was usually serious business.  I never minimized the importance of my kid’s learning business through play.  Kids learn early on whether or not it’s ok to ask for what you want, negotiate, trade, escalate a deal, make compromises, close a deal, and leave the table with dignity.  How we respond sends the message loud and clear.  Negotiating was how my kids played cars.

Trading and deal-making is the game.


     A byproduct of letting your teen spend (waste) their money, is that they learn how to spend money wisely.  In our house, we have some family rules for giving and saving, but what’s left is 100% theirs to spend (waste) as they choose.  I realize this is probably a big counter-intuitive parenting tip, but when you control the teen’s spending, they never feel the sting that comes from poor planning or lack of budgeting.  Natural consequences are the best teacher, and when your teen has to choose between a night out with friends or buying a new pair of jeans, they’ll have the opportunity to develop their “wisdom muscle.”  If my teen spends $10 on something that they later regret, that’s an inexpensive life lesson: I don’t have to say a thing.  Life was their teacher. I’ll happily let them squander $10 so they later don’t misspend $10,000.   Let’s face it, adults don’t have nearly as much trouble saving as they have learning how to spend money properly and carefully.  Learning about budgeting when you’re 5 is better than when you’re 15, but learning at 15 is SO MUCH better than when you’re 25, 35, 45, 55…. you’ve heard the ages of Dave Ramsey callers, right?

My older teens have successfully worked hard, saved, and spent their money on the thing they each wanted.  Besides their own small businesses, they are old enough that they’ve also held paying jobs as employees (lifeguard, dishwasher, server, etc.)  My older two love nice cars, and set that as their goal.  From selecting, negotiating, buying, registering, maintaining, insuring, etc. their cars are 100% their responsibility.   Taking responsibility has given them tremendous pride of ownership in how they operate and care for their vehicles.

matt's car 1
(Matt’s Mustang). Just so no one thinks his mom paid for his car!
One of several cars purchased by Jennifer’s sons WITH CASH.  (Alex’s Jeep)


Teaching your teens about money, business, and entrepreneurship is a fun and valuable opportunity that gives them important skills throughout their life!  For 10th grade, I cobbled together a fun homeschool curriculum based around the popular TV show Shark Tank, and an free online courses from MIT.

NOTE: the free MIT courses are open access, do not issue grades, won’t give you access to a teacher, and are considered “personal enrichment.” The do offer a very expensive verification credential, but I’ve never bought one because even with the credential, college credit is not awarded.  

We followed this outline loosely- in other words, every day included a little bit of


reading, a little bit of the class, a video or two, and an entry into their business journal.  I’ve intentionally left it loose to allow flexibility.  I’ll leave it up to you, but I also required a “lab” in which my son had to start and operate a small business for the semester.  He chose to custom paint and sell skateboards.  It was a lot of work, and he learned a great deal.  I highly recommend incorporating a business venture if possible.  If they create a business, have them keep track of their challenges and progress using a simple notebook/journal.

College Credit:  0

High School Credit (for homeschoolers):  1/2 Credit

Length of Time:  1 semester (3 months)

Month 1

Daily Lessons

MIT Entrepreneurship 101 online course

Reading List

  1. Disciplined Entrepreneurship, Bill Aulet  (MIT Professor teaching the series)
  2. Cold Hard Truth, Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank)


  1. Shark Tank (Airs weekly on ABC, or available on
  2. Economics U$A (videos 1-9)

Month 2

Daily Lessons

MIT Entrepreneurship 102 online course

Reading List

  1. Display of Power, Daymond John (Shark Tank)
  2. Driven, Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank)


  1. Shark Tank (Airs weekly on ABC, or available on
  2. Economics U$A (videos 10-19)

Month 3

Daily Lessons

MIT Entrepreneurship 103 online course

Reading List

  1. How I win at the Sport of Business, Mark Cuban (Shark Tank)
  2. Use What You’ve Got, Business Lessons Learned from My Mom, Barbara Corcoran


  1. Shark Tank (Airs weekly on ABC, or available on
  2. Economics U$A (videos 20-28)

In closing, let me leave you with a few final suggestions for full curriculum.

Foundations in Personal Finance is the high school curriculum written by Dave Ramsey. It specifically emphasizes the principles he teaches adults, but with a teen-friendly approach.  This isn’t an affiliate link, I’m in no way associated with this product, I just happen to believe it’s fantastic. Foundations in Personal Finance High School Curriculum You can view the first chapter here: video.

If you’re looking for a little more “oomph” in the entrepreneur department, you can use a fantastic free program like Coursera to teach your teen how to start their own business. They have full university courses your teen can enroll in without sending transcripts or paying anything.  Individual courses are free, but you can enroll in a full bundle specialization program (see link) that awards a credential, but it’s not required.  Learn how to start your own business from Michigan State University.