Free College Credit through CLEP and Modern States

This is useful information that might help a number of homeschoolers: free college credit through CLEP and Modern States.

Free College Credit through CLEP and Modern States

Free College Credit through CLEP and Modern States

We love to hear from expert homeschooling moms, especially our beloved Cousins like Sue Sobczak. Besides homeschooling her kids, Sue serves as a life coach to the homeschool community and beyond.

In this post, Sue is sharing from experience about CLEP for college credit as well as a useful resource for CLEP preparation: Modern States.

There are ways to earn college credits in addition to attending a college. One is the College Level Examination Program, also known as CLEP, offered by the College Board.

The College Level Examination Program is a group of tests

The CLEP exams were created and are administered by the College Board. There are currently thirty-three CLEP exams. They cover:

  • composition
  • literature
  • world languages
  • history and social sciences
  • science 
  • mathematics
  • business

Students take a test in the subject area and when they pass, they earn between three and six college credits. (They may earn more for the foreign language exams.)

Many colleges accept these credits as transfer credits

Therefore, CLEP can significantly reduce the number of credits you need to earn at a college to earn a degree. Make sure to let your college know that you have earned these credits once you are admitted so that they transfer in as many as are allowed at that college. Here is how to find out if your college accepts these credits.

However, there are some colleges that do not allow transfer credits from these sources. Ivy League schools and many upper tier schools will not allow credits to transfer in from these sources.

Often colleges will have a link on their website that shows which CLEP exams will transfer in. If not, you can ask the admissions counselor or registrar for that information.

You may read that students must be 13 years old to take the CLEP tests

However, there are actually no age restrictions. The College Board just does not collect personally identifiable information online from children under 13. A parent can complete a College Board Account Creation Consent form to create an account so that the child can take CLEP tests.

Students can take the CLEP tests at testing centers or at home via proctoring.

I have not personally experienced the at home proctoring for these tests. To find local testing sites you can search on the College Board website. Often local community colleges are test sites.

Costs of the CLEP exam

The cost of the tests is currently $93 per test, but free for military personnel who qualify.


Now, let me tell you about a way to earn free college credit through CLEP and Modern States!

This is how it works. Students can take CLEP exam for FREE by using Modern States. Modern States is a nonprofit whose mission is to make college affordable for anyone who seeks it. They say that their founding principle:

“…is that access to affordable education is fundamental to any philosophy that respects all individuals, and fundamental to the American dream.”

Modern States works with edX, the leading online learning platform for college-level courses. They offer more than thirty CLEP preparation courses at no cost to the student (paid for by Modern States).


Students sign up for Modern States and enroll in a free course to prepare for the CLEP test. They complete the coursework and practice questions. Then they request a CLEP voucher from Modern States, register for an exam and use the voucher code as payment.

They complete the coursework and practice questions. Then they request a CLEP voucher from Modern States, register for an exam and use the voucher code as payment.

Students can earn enough college credit from this site to make their freshman year free. 

(BTW- If a student grew up speaking Spanish, French or German, I highly recommend that he takes the correlating CLEP test. It won’t cost anything, and he could very likely pass without studying for it.)

You can use these credits as dual credit

If your homeschool high schooler is interested, with these dual credits, your teen can graduate from high school early. 

There are a few colleges that will transfer in a good number of CLEP credits which will decrease time and cost for college. The three that allow for the most transfer credit are:

For more thoughts on whether your teen should take CLEP exams, check out this post.

For more from Sue Sobczak, check out these:


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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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