Outlier (Legitimate Credit Laundering)


Outlier (from the makers of MasterClass) has developed high-quality, university-level courses, taught online by some of the most celebrated educators in their respective fields. Outlier is not a college.

Normally, when a business (non-college) offers classes for college credit, their likelihood of transferability is very low. See credit types ranked by transferability. Outlier made a smart decision that took their transferability of credit from “unlikely” and bumped it straight to the top of into the “excellent transferability” category!

Credit laundering is an attempt to earn college credit from one source (example: CLEP, Sophia, Study.com) and strategize a method of getting it onto a transcript at a college that otherwise doesn’t accept that kind of credit.  In general, this is almost impossible to accomplish.  Outlier credit is an exception.

Outlier course credit will be recorded with a grade on an official college transcript at The University of Pittsburgh.  The credit will appear as original credit.  In other words, your teen’s transcript will be identical to that of a student that has taken the courses directly through The University of Pittsburg. 

 The University of Pittsburgh is a well-respected and Regionally Accredited university, so expect these courses to transfer well into any college or university that accepts transfer credit.

“We are excited to be partnering with the University of Pittsburgh for our spring and summer courses. Upon successful completion, you will receive 3 college semester credits from the University of Pittsburgh, transferrable to other colleges and universities subject to review and approval by the receiving institution.”

Outlier Press Release

Tuition Price: $400 per class.  If you have the choice between free tuition locally or these courses, take free tuition.  BUT, if your local dual enrollment option is more than $133 per credit, then this is a deal. The tuition is refundable if you don’t pass.

Level of difficulty: Based on student feedback shared online, students rated these courses as hard or harder than AP high school courses but more entertaining than typical online courses since you have multiple teachers. One student remarked that Outlier recommends 25 hours per week per course, but he had to put in closer to 30 each week to earn an A (in Calculus).

Discounts: Outlier may offer a discount when you register for more than 1 course at a time. The checkout page revealed a 10% discount when registering for more than 1 course at a time (12/23/2020).

Scholarship: Frontline workers are eligible for a full-tuition scholarship for a limited time. Read about eligibility.

Schedule: Courses start and end with a calendar. These courses are not self-paced. Most courses allow you to choose between a 7 week accelerated option, or a 14 week traditionally paced option. Parents should note that a “typical” college class is 16 weeks, so even the longer option will be a bit fast for some students.

Extra Fees: None. BOOKS ARE INCLUDED, so there are no application fees, registration fees, textbooks, online access codes, etc. As such- it’s $400 per class total.

Placement Testing: No standardized testing is required (ACT, PSAT, SAT, etc.)  Placement into Calculus 1 is through their free online pretest. 

Testing Accommodations Yes.  See details on their website. 

Age / Grade: Previously, they did not allow high school students to enroll, however that restriction has been lifted.  It is unclear if you must be in at least high school, or if anyone of any age or grade is allowed.  Contact Outlier directly if your teen is in 8th grade or lower.

Paper Trail: Pay attention to a course’s drop deadline date. When a student decides to exit a course BEFORE that course’s drop deadline, there is no academic record, and students are eligible for a full refund. If a student decides to exit from a course AFTER the drop deadline but BEFORE the withdraw deadline, it is defined as a withdrawal. This is different than having dropped the course because a grade of W will appear on your University of Pittsburgh transcript. After the withdraw deadline, students will receive a letter grade for their course on their University of Pittsburgh transcript.

Note:  If you receive a letter grade on a college transcript, you must disclose your transcript on all future college applications or admissions.  

Course List (Spring 2021)

Calculus 1

Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Astronomy

Introduction to Statistics

Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to Microeconomics

All Outlier courses transfer to University of Pittsburgh as 3 credits. Homeschool parents will award and record 1 high school credit per course passed.