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Earn College Credits for Free

Earning college credit with CLEP® can significantly shorten the time a student needs to attend college in order to earn a degree. To the student, it may feel like they are effectively Homeschooling College: learning at home like they have done during high school, but earning college credits in addition to high school credits. Whether students are in high school or have already graduated high school, they can earn one year of college or more using CLEP® resources.

Freshman Year for Free with Modern States Education Alliance

Modern States Education Alliance is an organization offering "Freshman Year for Free." Modern States is a nonprofit philanthropy dedicated to making college more accessible and affordable for everyone across the globe.

In the United States, roughly 2,900 colleges accept passing CLEP® scores for college credit. There are over 30 CLEP® tests available in different subject areas. Because each college and university will have their own policy for CLEP®, you must do your research. Find out whether your college or university will accept CLEP® tests. Find out what test score is needed to receive college credit. Find out how many credits they will award for each test. Finally, determine how the test is used by the university. Do they replace individual classes, and is there a limit to the number of classes that can be earned through CLEP®? Some schools may not accept a CLEP® score if it's for a class that goes toward the student's major. For instance, the school may require a math major to take the college calculus course rather than accepting the CLEP® calculus score for course credit. Always be sure to check with the schools you're interested in, and be sure to understand their policies!

Normally there is a moderate cost to take a CLEP® exam. Registering for an exam and scheduling your test with a test center are separate steps, each with a separate fee (the total is about $100). Accumulating study guides and resource materials are an additional cost (which might add another $50 or so.) While not terribly expensive, those costs can add up when taking multiple tests. Earning a year of college with CLEP® might cost around $1000. While only a fraction of the cost of brick-and-mortar college, it's still a lot of money for many families.

Using Modern States for CLEP® is different. Instead of using books to study independently, all study is done completely online. Modern States has partnered with edX, an online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT. Students take tuition-free classes online to learn material, with lectures from highly qualified college professors. Classes include online lectures, quizzes, and tests. All textbooks and materials are provided completely online, free of charge.

If students receive a 75% or higher on the online class, they are eligible for a CLEP® voucher. Request a CLEP® voucher from the Modern States website. Then they can take the CLEP® exam, using the voucher code as payment for the exam.

Modern States also worked with AP® courses. AP® tests are more rigorous than CLEP®, and may be more familiar to high school students. The concept is similar, however. Passing a test may earn college credit. Modern States offers nearly all of the major AP® courses, so students can take AP® courses online and then register to take the exams at the nearest high school where testing is offered.

Here is information from their press release:

"Modern States works like a global digital public library of great college courses. Enrollment in Modern States courses will be 'massively open' to all people without regard to age, location, family income, nationality, prior credits or other factors. The courses may also provide a critical 'road back' for students who have left the traditional US college system. Modern States is not in opposition to any traditional college and recognizes that a four-year residential experience at an established university is the preferred alternative. However, such an opportunity is out of reach for many people, given the high cost of tuition and other factors.

Modern States was initially conceived and funded by businessman and philanthropist Steve Klinsky (the founder of Modern States), but has grown as an alliance with the guidance and support of other education and foundation leaders. College systems with over two million students have affiliated with Modern States Education Alliance, including systems in New York, Texas, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.

Working closely with Klinsky is Pulitzer Prize winner David Vise, Executive Director of Modern States. The author of four books, Vise was a reporter at The Washington Post for more than 20 years before joining the investment firm New Mountain Capital as a Senior Advisor."

Modern States Education Alliance website is

I hope this is a great fit for someone. Some students learn well online, and others need printed books they can underline or highlight. It's definitely worth looking at to see if it's a good fit.

Debt-free college is possible, and one strategy is to shorten the time spent in college. It's possible for students to save tuition money for college by "homeschooling" college classes. This is not a new idea, and people have been finishing college early with distance learning for decades. The only part that is new is the Modern States interface.

Homeschooling college classes has benefits. It provides outside documentation of high school work, much like an AP® test. Students can earn free college credit, and if they take a large number of tests, they can even earn an entire AA degree. And of course families can save tens of thousands of dollars over traditional university education.

Read more on this money-saving strategy in my short Coffee Break Book, How to Homeschool College: Save Time, Reduce Stress, and Eliminate College Debt.

Learn more in my review below!

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Saturday, 22 June 2024

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