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.

Clackamas Community College[edit]

Clackamas Community college offers a FREE 1-credit course "LIB101 Introduction to Library Research". Not only is this course graded, but it also counts as RA credit. Watch this intro video to get a feel for the course before you begin. The course is NOT self-paced but it is asynchronous. This means that you don't need to be "in class" at a specific time of day or on a particular day of the week. Forum user ctcarl took this course and reviewed it here.

The American Dream Academy[edit]

Only for US residents. The American Dream Academy allows students to take several Coursera professional certificates for free. The American Dream Academy page states that completing one certification is required to earn The American Dream Academy badge, however, students are not restricted to one. Be aware that not all of the available certificates are worth credits. Check the Coursera page to see which certificates may be worth credits and how many credits you might expect to obtain. Acceptance of these credits and their worth varies depending on the school.


For students in the US: between 1 and 12 months of FREE Sophia access has been reported to be available to US students who get "Perkspot" access through their work. If your employer does not have "Perkspot" as an employee benefit, students may sign up to become an Avon representative (non-affiliate link) to gain access to Perkspot rewards. As of March 1, 2020, signing up as an Avon representative is completely free. However, this may be a limited time offer and you may need to pay anywhere between $5 and $30 to become a representative. and its userbase do not support, endorse, or encourage selling of Avon products as a means to make money. Students who wish to buy Avon products for their own consumption are free to do so if they so choose. Please read up on how much Avon reps actually make before deciding to attempt to sell Avon products for profit.

For international students, 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.

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 pre-November 2022) (5 credits as of November 2022)
  • Cyber 201 - Cybersecurity for IT Professionals (3 credits pre-November 2022) (4 credits as of November 2022)
  • Cyber 301 - Cybersecurity for Business Professionals (3 credits pre-November 2022) (4 credits as of Novemer 2022)

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:

UPDATE: As of the November 1, 2022 ACE renewal, ACE now recommends 5 credits for Cybersecurity for Everyone, 4 credits for Cybersecurity for IT Professionals, and 4 credits for Cybersecurity for Business Professionals, for a total of 13 possible credits for the entire course sequence.

Students should check TEEX's entry in the National Guide to confirm renewal or lack thereof.

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.

Almost Free[edit]

The following services offer free courses, but require a third-party online proctoring service at a nominal cost. While not free, these are still very affordable at under $10 per exam.

  • offers a number of free courses that are NCCRS recommended. $9.00 proctoring fee per final exam to complete the course. Courses are only available to US residents. Not accepted at Charter Oak State College. See for more information
  • Saylor Academy is a non-profit that offers a number of free ACE and NCCRS recommended courses/exams. $5.00 proctoring fee per final exam to complete the course. They no longer accept local proctors chosen by the student. See for more information.

See also[edit]