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, 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 Transfer Credit

Will it transfer? That’s the wrong question.

I’m sure you’ve heard stories about students whose credit didn’t transfer for some reason or another. We’re going to look at “some reason or another” in this post!

road closed

This post is for parents worried about earning college credit while their teen is in high school.  If your teen is already out of high school and enrolled in college somewhere, planning transfer is easy:  call your college advisor.  They’ll tell you, and help you plan.

For high school parents, I know you want to ask “Will it transfer?” The problem is that for high school planning that’s the wrong question.  A high school student is years away from enrollment, thus it is impossible to “lock” your teen into a college policy in advance of them being a college student! In short, you can’t get any promises from a college until after your teen has enrolled at the college.  Once they are enrolled, they’re “locked” into that college’s academic catalog, and you can make decisions within that catalog’s policies.

Homeschooled high school students are earning college credit 2, 3, 4, or more years before it intends to be used!  This means you have to know how to spot the issues that derail successful transfer and avoid them with your teen.

Planning for future college admissions isn’t as hard when you think like a college employee instead of thinking like a homeschool parent!

Colleges differ widely in their acceptance of credit, but they’re predictably and boringly similar in how they disqualify credit from being transferred. The best question you must ask and the right approach to use as plan your teen’s homeschool for college credit journey is:

“Will this class be disqualified from transfer?”

By knowing and then avoiding classes that are commonly disqualified, you improve the likelihood of successful transfer a zillion-fold.  (Maybe not a zillion-fold, but a lot!)  I’m not going to tell you which courses are disqualifiable, I’m going to teach you how to assess this yourself and your family!

Use these 6 tests to see if the course is a good risk or a poor risk. If you can answer “yes” to each, you’re probably going to have a successful transfer. If you hit a “no” anywhere on this list…disqualification is likely.

1. Is the class offered through a university or college? If yes, proceed to #2.

WHY? Many businesses offer classes “for college credit,” through partnerships with specific colleges and the American Council of Education (ACE). Examples of these businesses include Straighterline, ALEKS, CollegePlus, Lumerit, Sophia, Coursera,, etc. If you’re not planning to attend a college on that business’ partnership list, stop now. These courses rarely, if ever, transfer elsewhere.

2. Is the university or college regionally accredited? If yes, proceed to #3.

WHY? Colleges that are NOT regionally accredited (RA) almost never transfer into colleges that ARE regionally accredited. Public community colleges and universities ARE always regionally accredited, so the likelihood that they’d accept an NON-RA credit in transfer is tiny. Non RA colleges can be legitimate schools with different accreditation, but strictly in the question of future transfer, only choose RA courses in high school. Check accreditation for any college here:  U.S. Department of Accreditation Database  If you find that the college is not regionally accredited, stop now.

3. Can regular college students pay for this course using federal financial aid? If yes, proceed to #4.

WHY? Though you won’t be using financial aid with your high school student, courses that don’t qualify for financial aid are probably professional development or continuing education programs, which almost never transfer. Dig deeper.  If the course doesn’t qualify, my advice is to stop now.  

4. Locate the name of the department offering the course. Is this course part of a degree program that leads to an award with the letters AA, BA, AS, or BS? If yes, proceed to #5.

WHY?  Those degrees/awards contain courses intended for transfer, specifically general education courses.  If this course is not part of a degree program, or it is part of a credential with a different name like Certificate, Diploma, Associate of Applied Science, Associate Occupational Science, or any degree with the word “Technology” in the title, transfer is unlikely.  The course you’re considering is possibly for career training, not college transfer.  If your teen’s ultimate goal is an Associate of Applied Science degree from the school you’re considering for dual enrollment, you’re probably ok.  If a transfer is planned, either into a different Associate of Applied Science degree program or a 4-year school, stop now. 

5. Is the course’s alpha-numerical 100 or higher? For instance, the number in ENG101 is 101.  ENG101 has an alpha-numeric higher than 100. If yes, proceed to #6.

WHY? The majority of colleges use 100-400 numbers to indicate level. Courses under 100 level (085, 060, etc.) are possibly “developmental” and not eligible for college credit. If the college uses this system, and the course is not at least 100 level, stop now.  A handful of colleges have their own system that looks nothing like this one.  If that’s the case, call and ask.  

100 and 200 are freshman/sophomore lower level. 300 and 400 are junior / senior upper level.  Community college courses generally have a good selection of remedial (under 100) courses but do not go higher than 200. Universities don’t always offer courses under 100-level, but can offer courses all the way through 600 (masters/doctorate).  

6. Does this course appear in the college’s list of approved general education courses?

If yes, congratulations! You’re as close to a sure thing as you can get. You’ve passed the test of 6 key dis-qualifiers.


What now?  Proceed!   You’re as solid as you can be at this point.  I do have one final warning to those of you with very young teens who are taking college courses very early. Occasionally, some colleges (NOT the majority) will put “expiration dates” on hard sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) and technology (computer science, etc.).  It’s unlikely that you already have your teen’s target college selected at this point, so best bet is to choose non-science and technology courses now (English, social science, humanities, math) and wait for the 11th grade to take the hard sciences or computer courses.


Posted in Dual Enrollment, High School, Transfer Credit

Dual Enrollment Basics

Member question(s):  How does one go about starting dual enrollment?  I’ve seen posts of homeschoolers as young as 15 who are enrolled in dual credit classes, however, I am still not certain if there is an age limit for them to enroll?

This answer isn’t going to cover all of it, but it will give you the basics and get you pointed in the right direction.

First, let’s define dual enrollment:  it may be called something different in your state, but the general concept is that the student earns dual (double) credit for their work in one course. 

Example:  Your 12th-grade teen signs up at ABC Community College and takes English 101.  As the homeschool parent, you award them high school credit for their work (12th-grade English) and the college awards them college credit (English 101).  It’s double dipping!  2 birds with 1 stone!

Access to Dual Enrollment

There are several “levels” of dual enrollment access, and most of the time it depends on the state you’re homeschooling in. In the most restrictive states, there is no dual enrollment allowed for homeschoolers at all– you need a high school diploma/GED to take college classes. Keep in mind this is a standard college entrance policy, so this isn’t really doing anything wrong, but they are not lowering their admissions and granting access- so in other words, dual enrollment is a privilege being extended to students, allowing them to enroll in advance of meeting regular entrance requirements.  As such, not everyone gets this privilege.

Here are variations of privilege you’ll find as you search the public community college procedures in all 50 states:

  • It’s not allowed for high school students of any type.
  • It’s “allowed” if you’re in public/private school, but not homeschool.
  • It’s allowed for everyone, but you have to pay full tuition (Illinois).
  • It’s allowed, but the state tells you how many credits/courses you can take (Ohio).
  • It’s allowed, and the state provides a tuition waiver for reduced tuition.
  • It’s allowed, and the individual school decides if tuition is reduced. (South Carolina)
  • It’s allowed, and it’s free for all high school students. (Georgia, North Carolina)

Now, once you step outside of public community colleges, you’ll enter into the private school arena, where anything goes.  Private schools almost always charge full price tuition, however, some state programs extend their waivers to be used at private colleges (Ohio) but this is not the norm.  Even in states where dual enrollment has full access and is completely free (North Carolina) you won’t see this benefit extended to private colleges.

Age to Qualify

And yes, you guessed it, it differs greatly.  Most states that extend dual enrollment require the student to be in 11th or 12th grade.  Some exceptions exist, like our friends in Florida who can enter as early as 6th grade!  Expect the college to require a copy of your transcript and some type of test score- whether it’s the ACT, SAT, PSAT, or one of the college’s own tests (Accuplacer, Compass).  Not all states require test scores for entry (North Carolina, for example, only requires test scores for some programs) but it is generally the norm.

In every case, graduating high school ends your dual enrollment eligibility, and you’d switch over to a regular dual enrollment student if you continue at that college.  If you plan to attend a different college, you’d apply there as a regular incoming freshman.

Transfer Student vs Freshman Applicant

The word “transfer” has more than one meaning in college, which confuses the heck out of people, and rightfully so.

Parents want to know if their teen’s dual enrollment credit “will transfer” to a 4-year college later, and the answer is generally “yes.”  That definition of “transfer” is different than the definition of “transfer student.”

First, let’s talk about a transfer student.  A transfer student is a high school graduate that attended another college, accumulated some credit, and then applied to a different college.  While it “feels” like this includes dual enrollment students, (your teen did just graduate, they did attend a college, they did earn some credit, and they are applying to a different college) your high school graduate is not a transfer student as a result of accumulating college credit.  The distinction is when college credit was earned, and in the case of dual enrollment, it was earned pre-high school diploma.  Therefore, your student is not a transfer student.

This is always a hot question because transfer students don’t always have the same access to housing, scholarships, etc. as a freshman applicant.  As such, it’s a lazy answer for me to tell you “so check the college your teen is considering just to be sure.”  The problem with giving that canned answer is it undermines the parent’s confidence in using dual enrollment (which is amazing) and it implies that there are some colleges in both categories, and it’s a coin toss what will happen to their teen.  Let me put that fear to rest.

I would NEVER lie to you and tell you that I’ve looked up every college policy for dual enrollment every year for the past decade, and that and that I’m certain that you’ll never encounter an inconsistency from what I’m telling you- what I will tell you is that I spend a LOT of time digging into this question, and I’ve never found a single college that treats dual enrollment credit as transfer credit.  Not 1.  Ever.  So, while it’s true, that the unicorn may exist, I’ve never seen it.  Thousands of college policies, year after year, I’m still waiting to find an exception.  As such, if YOU find one, I want to know- I need to know! I want the readers to know.

A simple rule of thumb: 

classes taken pre-high school diploma:  dual enrollment

classes taken post-high school diploma:  transfer credit

Finding Dual Enrollment in Your State

Dual enrollment privileges and funding can change from year to year, and I don’t have a good resource list to share with you.  As fast as lists are written, changes occur, and lists are outdated (!)  Furthermore, when you do your own research, it isn’t enough to find out if your state offers dual enrollment, you need to find out if your homeschool student is eligible. Unfortunately, homeschoolers are not always eligible.

When I research dual enrollment, the BEST document that I start with was written by The Education Commission of the States and has a ton of good information.  (Start there)  It’s from 2015, and so it’s 2 academic years old at this point.  If an updated edition becomes available, I’ll post it here.  Here is the page for Alabama.  They have pages for each state:

Program Basics
Statewide policy in place Yes
Definition or title of program Dual Enrollment
Where courses provided
  • At high school
  • At postsecondary institution
  • Virtual program
Postsecondary and/or secondary credit earned Both
Students may take developmental/remedial coursework for dual credit No
CTE component Yes. Students at two-year colleges may enroll in academic, career and technical or health science courses.

Local boards may elect to participate in the Early College Enrollment Program (ECEP), a dual enrollment program for career and technical education students in grades 11 and 12.

Students who do not have a minimum “B” average but who have demonstrated ability to benefit as documented by successful completion and placement identification on assessments approved by the department of postsecondary education are limited to pursuing career/technical and health-related courses.

Unique characteristics Private school and homeschool students may also establish dual enrollment agreements with postsecondary institutions.Students in grades 10-12 who do not meet the eligibility requirement of a “B” average in high school courses may be determined eligible to participate in dual enrollment “pending demonstrated ability to benefit as documented by successful completion and placement identification on assessments approved by the department of postsecondary education” (includes ASSET, WorkKeys, CPAT). Such students are limited to pursuing career/technical and health-related courses, and must have “a ‘B’ average in high school courses related to the occupational/technical studies, if applicable, which the student intends to pursue at the postsecondary level and” have an overall 2.5 grade point average.

The state department of education must work with districts with the lowest high school graduation rates to implement dropout prevention interventions. One of the interventions the department may implement is offering full course fee waivers to students eligible for free/reduced lunch who are enrolled in dual credit courses. The department must submit a written report to the legislature on the outcomes of dropout prevention strategies, and any planned modification of school system dropout prevention strategies and activities, based on the data compiled.

Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook State Groups

You should join your state’s group and try to connect with people in your state/community. This is how we can create the best and most up to the minute help for each other.  State groups range from small to large, active to quiet, so the best way to add to the body of knowledge is to invite others who may want to contribute to or benefit from discussing college credit options!  Find Your HS4CC State Group Here

No Dual Enrollment?

If you don’t have access to dual enrollment, you may be able to enroll your teen in a different state’s program.  The New Mexico Community College system is open to 11th and 12th-grade homeschool students, and their courses generally transfer back to your own state.  They are a popular choice since their system is the lowest cost in the country- about $50 per credit for out of state students.

Another popular option is DIY Dual Enrollment, which operates outside the college system entirely.  In this case, the parent provides curriculum and instruction, followed by a standardized exam like CLEP.  You can read more about CLEP in the tab at the top of this page.


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 Credit Laundering, Transfer Credit

Credit Laundering

Colleges are highly predictable in how they handle incoming credit, but people are exceptionally creative, and it doesn’t take long before a bright student tries to find a credit acceptance loophole.

The question is usually something like this “ABC College doesn’t accept CLEP credit, but XYZ College does.  Can I enroll at XYZ college, get CLEP credit on my transcript, and then just transfer over to ABC College with all my CLEP credit?”

or, another variation…

“ABC College doesn’t accept Straighterline credit. How does Straighterline credit appear on a transcript from XYZ?  Does it say ‘Straighterline’ on it?”

and still…

“My college doesn’t accept ACE credit, but if I can get it on a transcript from another college first, will I be able to use it then?”

These are all variations of the same idea:  credit laundering.  Credit laundering is a crafty term (if I do say so myself) I started using in 2008 to explain the concept of “washing” credit from one institution and presenting it as “new” credit to a different institution.  The short answer:  you can’t do it.

Since colleges are predictable, it pays to understand the concept of how transfer credit (especially non-traditional transfer credit) is evaluated for use.  Imagine every location you’ve earned credit from gives you an Easter egg. CLEP eggs are red, DSST eggs are blue, ABC Community College eggs are green, etc.

You can put your eggs into a basket and take them to any college. That college will look at each egg, accept/deny each egg individually, and put together a list of acceptable eggs on a transcript. The color of the egg never changes.

Every time you pick up your eggs and take them to a new school, they’re all in a basket together, but they retain their original colors, so the transcript each college writes for you is irrelevant.  Each new college decides which eggs will be accepted or denied, no matter how many times you’ve put them into a new basket.  Egg color never changes.  Except when…

The single exception is when an articulation agreement exists between one college (usually a community college) and a second college (usually a university). Upon completion of your degree at college 1, your eggs are all painted gold. The degree changed the color of the eggs.  College 2 now receives a basket of golden eggs, and they accept that basket as payment in full for your first 60 credits, no questions asked.

I’m sure you’re going to ask, so let me help you.   If college 2 isn’t in an articulation agreement with college 1, the paint washes off and you’re back to a basket of individually colored eggs.  (this is why “any AA” degree doesn’t transfer into “every” college or university)  In addition, if you didn’t complete the requirements of the agreement (leaving college a few credits short….) then you’re eggs haven’t been painted and you’re back where you started.  Finish your articulation agreement!