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.
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. 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 colleges 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.
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. However, 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 (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. (deadline to participate 3/31/2019)
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 (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: 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 two other small 2-year colleges. 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 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
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
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
- Must complete all 3:
- 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
- Must complete all 4:
- 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
- Must complete all 3:
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.
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
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!
- Saylor Academy
- Sophia Learning
- Alternative Credit Project
- Lumerit / College Plus
- Excelsior College Exams (Uexcel / ECE)
- Penn Foster College
- PADI (scuba)
- Pearson Learning
- 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.
If you set up an account more than 5 years ago, it was probably free. Now, they charge a fee $20 to establish your account, but then you’ll get a $20 “credit” when you request your first ACE transcript. If you’re sitting on an older free account, you’ll see a $20 charge when you request a transcript.