Free Sources of Credit

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Surprisingly, some sources of credit-recommended courses and exams are absolutely free of cost. There are only a handful of these, but they exist. And, they are typically unproctored, untimed, and repeatable until you get the passing score necessary. Make sure to verify current ACE or NCCRS-approval status for all of these prior to attempting, and check with an advisor as to how they'll fit into your degree plan.

This page also discusses some limited-time programs to get free CLEP exam vouchers and free-or-almost-free ACE/NCCRS-recommended sources.

Sophia[edit] has previously run promotions allowing new/returning students to get a membership for free or for a deeply discounted rate. They may (sometimes) also allow students to complete their one-credit classes at no cost. Check the forum to find out if any of these promotions are currently available.

The Institutes[edit]

Due to changes in the ACE transcript system, as of November 1, 2020, this course will no longer be available to students who are not members of the CPCU.

The American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (commonly referred to as "The Institutes") offer a free ethics course that is ACE recommended for 3 credits.

  • 312N-H Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct (3 credits) - an ethics/philosophy course that meet's TESU's General Education "ethics" requirement. This course was previously recommended for 2 credits (UL), but has been reevaluated as 3 credits (LL).

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.

TEEX Cybersecurity[edit]

These credits are not accepted by Charter Oak State College.

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers three ACE-approved courses recommended for a total of 10 credits - click here to see expected equivalencies. These are DHS/FEMA funded and therefore free for the general public to take.

  • Cyber 101 - Cybersecurity for Everyone (4 credits)
  • Cyber 201 - Cybersecurity for IT Professionals (3 credits)
  • Cyber 301 - Cybersecurity for Business Professionals (3 credits)

To signup, use the following link and make sure you sign up for all classes under these three headings, there are multiple courses per heading: Cyber 101, 201, 301:

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes:

Modern States CLEP Vouchers[edit]

Through a temporary grant program, Modern States is offering free CLEP vouchers if you complete their free corresponding online CLEP prep courses. They will also reimburse proctoring fees after you take the exam. This is a temporary program, we don't know how long this opportunity will last.

Saylor Academy Exams[edit] is a non-profit that offers a number of ACE and NCCRS recommended courses/exams. Courses are free, though typically exams are taken online and a $25 proctor fee is charged. However, if you can find a local in-person proctor that will not charge you, you can take these exams for free. The proctor must meet specific requirements (examples include "certified librarians, military education services officers, embassy representatives, and school officials"). See for more information.

Almost Free[edit]

  • offers a number of free courses that are NCCRS recommended, however they utilize a third party online proctoring service that charges $9 per final exam to complete the course. While not free, this is very affordable. Courses are only available to US residents. Not accepted at COSC.
  • As stated above, exam proctoring only costs $25 online if you can not find a local free in-person option.

See also[edit]