I was contacted by Ed4Credit and Study.com to write a review of their products. Usually I turn down such requests, but as there aren’t really a lot of free college options out there for me to offer you, I wanted to learn about these online low-cost options. I told them we’d have to try them. Ed4Credit gave a free course to two of my children. Study.com gave us one month. That’s a big difference between these options. For the same price you get one course and four months, or one month and unlimited courses. My kids got one course done in that month (and barely — stress producing!)
Summary: Ed4Credit is the better option if you are looking for a low-cost college option. These would transfer likely to your community college and certainly would be taken by an online school like Thomas Edison State University to finish off the degree. Study.com seems like the cheaper option if you are taking EP’s courses. I describe below one idea for how to use them together.
For under $200, you get a college course along with all materials. In this way, it’s cheaper than community college, even with discounts for high schoolers. It’s in some ways like EP, just not as fun. It’s online readings, videos, quizlets. You go through the online course at your own pace over four months. At the end you take a test and get approved for ACE credit if you get just 50% on the test. You can even retake the test. Our experience is that it’s basically full-proof to get the credit if you put any effort into the course. My 11th grader did his course in a month. My 8th grader took the full four months. They had no trouble with the final. The one older son knew every answer and finished in minutes! The final is taken AT HOME! They were proctored online.
This is basically teaching to the test, which isn’t what you want if you are seeking a career that’s really based on a college education. If you are looking for quick, easy, cheap college credit, this is a great way to go. It’s not a college. It just gives you credit, like taking a CLEP test. They list on their site the colleges that guarantee that they accept these credits, though some may only accept certain courses.
For the same price as Ed4Credit you get just ONE MONTH instead of four months to complete a course and take the test for credit (ACE credit). It can be done. My 17-year-old had no trouble doing that. It was very STRESSFUL fitting in the course for my 13-year-old. We had it planned out and then he realized it said you can’t take the final during the last three days of your time! BE WARNED! He squeezed it in, but the month-long time limit is a lot more stressful than having four months through Ed4Credit to complete a course at your leisure (for the same price). The lessons on this site are based on videos and follow-up quizzes. There are placement tests that are supposed to show you what you already know, but you can’t skip lessons. You have to pass each quiz before it lets you take the final exam. One benefit of these ACE credits is that you get to take the final exam at home! It is proctored online.
There is another option with Study.com. They have CLEP prep materials. You then take the test elsewhere when you are done. This is cheaper. We have an Easy Peasy discount for just the first three months. Our coupon code is All-In-One-Homeschool. It’s good on the CLEP and DSST membership of $60 a month and is good for 20% off. (so $48 a month).
The CLEP test itself may cost $85 to take. This is the cheaper option (around $135 for a course). One course of action to consider: at the end of each high school year, buy a membership and focus full time on studying for these tests, using the placement test to just study what you need to and taking the tests for each core high school course you took, hopefully taking all the tests within a month. This would involve cramming, but would be the cheapest course of action. Each summer you could pay around $500 total for 12 college credits.
I got so frustrated with Study.com’s pricing that I looked into what it would take to have EP be a place like these! The answer is a lot, but I am going to continue to look into it.
The Ed4Credit link is an affiliate link.