Posted in Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition

Dual Enrollment Advice from Parents

I recently asked the parents on Homeschooling for College Credit’s Facebook page to share their experiences with dual enrollment, and any advice they might have for parents considering it for their teens.

Dual enrollment is enrolling in a college credit course, usually through a college, and counting it also as a high school course.  Popular dual enrollment courses include English 101, College Algebra, United States History, and others.

Continue reading “Dual Enrollment Advice from Parents”

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

Sources of Free College Credits

BONUS:  currently, the Modern States Online Test Prep Program is offering a voucher to anyone who completes their online CLEP course.  The voucher will pay for your exam cost and reimburse you for your testing center fee if you have one.  You can take an UNLIMITED number of CLEP  exams right now for $0.  When this voucher program ends, or if you don’t use a voucher, CLEP exams cost about $100  each. 


Continue reading “Sources of Free College Credits”

Posted in College Admission, Community college, Dual Enrollment, financial aid, Free Tuition, Tuition

$2000 Bachelor’s Degrees in NC

“My son is taking all his classes for 12th grade at the community college, he will be graduating in May with both his high school diploma from our homeschool and associates degree from our local community college” 

-Jayne L., North Carolina homeschooling parent.

 

Updated for 2019

The topic of today’s post is targeted toward our North Carolina families, but the takeaway isn’t that you should relocate to North Carolina, it’s that in almost every state there are some strategies you can build around the resources you have available to you.  I know many non-NC adults who “hacked” their education and earned AA or BA degrees for pennies on the dollar (I’m on that list!)  For the motivated, there are a lot of ways to save money, but this post is my deconstruction and then reconstruction of the resources in NC, assembled in a way that maxes out the benefits available to parents. Continue reading “$2000 Bachelor’s Degrees in NC”

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 the 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.


Accreditation

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 startup 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 http://www.deac.org/

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!


Tuition-Free

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 cookderosa@aol.com or send me a message and we’ll get started.

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


If you’d like to hear from someone much smarter than I am, the founder of Univerity of the People, Shai Reshef, gives a TED talk about how higher education is changing “from being a privilege for the few to a basic right, affordable and accessible for all.”

 

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

Sources of Free College Credits

 

CLEP (over 100 college credits)

Currently, CLEP is free!!  The Modern States Online Test Prep Program is offering a voucher to anyone who completes their online CLEP course.  The voucher will pay for your exam cost and reimburse you for your testing center fee if you have one.  You can take an UNLIMITED number of CLEP  exams right now for $0.  When this voucher program ends, or if you don’t use a voucher, CLEP exams cost about $100  each.  Read more.


Besides the current CLEP promo- there are classes that are $0 and award college credit.  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.

That said, since they are free, many parents have their teens complete some anyway.

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.

I keep a close eye on expiration dates- you’ll see this page updated accordingly.


Saylor Academy (over 100 college credits)

Saylor is 100% free if you can find a local proctor to administer your final exam. If you have to use Saylor’s online proctoring service, the cost is $25 per course.

More about Saylor Academy

Courses consist of optional reading modules and links to videos and a final exam (proctored).  Approximate time needed to complete the course: NA


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 Sophia.org

The courses consist of video-based modules and short quizzes followed by an online exam.  Approximate time needed to complete one course and exam:  less than 1 day


The Institutes (3 college credits – ethics) 

The American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (commonly referred to as “The Institutes”) offer a free ethics course that is ACE recommended for 3 credits. (deadline to participate 4/30/2022)

Course consists of reading modules followed by an online exam.  Approximate time needed to complete the course and exam:  less than 1 day

  • 312N-H Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct (3 credits)

To signup, use the following link: http://www.theinstitutes.org/comet/learning_modules/cpcu_ethics.htm

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.


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 one college.  IF you’re planning to attend COSC, you can still apply some FEMA courses to your degree, but COSC hasn’t set an official limit – at least not one that they’re sharing with the public. I’m hearing between 3 and 9.  Cost:  $0   The “official” way to get college credit for FEMA courses that can be used for an Emergency Services degree, is through Frederick Community College – but they charge $88 per credit to do so.  (still free at Charter Oak)   https://em-study.com/emsfema

The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates an online Independent Study program offering approximately 197 courses online for free. Anyone can take FEMA courses for high school credit or for fun, but only the following courses are approved for college credit:

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

The courses consist of reading modules followed by an online exam.  Approximate time needed to complete each course and exam:  1 day

Potential EMT, Fire Science, Police:  Your teen can complete a free Professional Development CERTIFICATE using the free courses that could be used for high school credit and certainly on a resume.

The Professional Development Series includes seven Emergency Management Institute Independent Study courses that provide a well-rounded set of fundamentals for those in the emergency management profession. When a student has completed all courses in the series, the Independent Study Program Office automatically issues a certificate of completion, via email, directly to the student at the email address that was provided during the last test submission. Please allow 1-2 business days to receive the email. The courses, in the recommended order of completion, are:


TEEX Cybersecurity (1-11 college credits) 

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers 10 ACE-approved courses recommended for college credit. These are DHS/FEMA funded and therefore free for the general public to take.  This program expires 11/30/2021

In February, TEEX and ACE did a switch-up on how these courses are evaluated for credit.  If you’ve already taken TEEX (before December 2018) you can possibly take them AGAIN and opt for the 10 credit option.  If you take them now, you can choose to take 1 or all 10 courses.


Old TEEX Method, New Credit

3-10 credits

Even with the change, I’m leaving this older section here because it is actually still an option, but if you complete the TEEX courses this way, you can only earn 6 credits (see below).  This method uses the umbrella course names (Cyber 101, 201, 301) on your ACE transcript instead of the individual course names.

  • Cyber 101 – Cybersecurity for Everyone (was 2 credits –> now 4 credits)
    • Must complete all 3:
      • ARW168 Cyber Law and White Collar Crime
      • ARW174 Cyber Ethics
      • ARW175 Information Security for Everyone
  • Cyber 201 – Cybersecurity for IT Professionals (was 2 credits –> now 3 credits)
    • Must complete all 4:
      • ARW138 Network Assurance
      • AWR139 Digital Forensics Basics
      • ARW173 Information Security Basics
      • ARW178 Secure Software
  • Cyber 301 – Cybersecurity for Business Pro (was 2 credits –> now 3 credits)
    • Must complete all 3:
      • ARW169 Cyber Incident Analysis and Response
      • ARW176 Disaster Recovery for Information Systems
      • ARW177 Information Risk Management

New TEEX Method

1-11 credits (1 upper level)

Complete each course individually and submit to ACE for college credit.

  • ARW168 Cyber Law and White Collar Crime, 2 credits
  • AWR174 Cyber Ethics, 2 credits
  • ARW175 Information Security for Everyone, 1 credit
  • ARW138 Network Assurance & AWR 139 Digital Forensics Basics, 1 credit
  • ARW173 Information Security Basics, 1 credit
  • ARW178 Secure Software, 1 credit 
  • ARW169 Cyber Incident Analysis and Response, 1 credit
  • ARW176 Disaster Recovery for Information Systems, 1 credit
  • ARW177 Information Risk Management, UPPER LEVEL 1 credit

To signup, use the following link and make sure you complete each mini-class in each main class before submitting to ACE.   https://teex.org/Pages/Program.aspx?catID=607 

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes: https://my.teex.org

Course consists of reading long modules and taking many quizzes.  Approximate time needed to complete EACH course:  1 day-3 days.


WATCH LIST

Courses under this line have been worth college credit in the past but are currently not worth college credit.  These courses are still available to take, but beware that if you take them while they are expired, you will NOT receive college credit.  If any of these courses are renewed, I’ll update it asap.

National Fire Academy (1 college credit) 

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

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