Free First Year of College … Really

For the first time ever, any student anywhere can take top-quality courses online in every major freshman college subject, taught by professors from the most prestigious universities, that lead to full academic credit at 2,900 traditional colleges, such as Purdue, Penn State, Colorado State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all absolutely free.

There is no tuition cost. No text book cost. No administrative or connection fees. No taxpayer subsidy or federal Title IV funding required. And this is not a plan for the future, but a working reality available to students now, already built, entirely as a private 501(c)(3) philanthropy, at an exceptionally efficient price.

The charity that built the courses, over 40 in all, is called the Modern States Education Alliance. It has a bipartisan set of allies that include the nation’s largest public college systems, such as the State University of New York system and Texas State, which themselves serve over one million students and want to improve college access. Modern States is a new type of “on-ramp to college” for any hardworking person anywhere, and a way to cut the cost of traditional four-year college by many thousands of dollars and up to 25 percent.

Now, anyone can go to, the way they go to Netflix, and choose a college course the way they pick a Netflix movie. There is no charge for the course and no charge for the online textbook that comes with it. The student can watch the lectures at any time of the day or night, repeating any part of it as often as needed. When the student feels ready, they can take the CLEP exam (a well-established, credit-bearing test from the College Board, described below) almost anywhere at any time at one of the thousands of already existing test sites.

About 175,000 people took a CLEP exam last year, and – most importantly – a passing score on a CLEP exam (generally, 50 or above) will earn the test taker full course credit at 2,900 traditional universities when a student enters that school, just as if it were a transfer credit from community college. Each college explains in its admissions catalog which CLEP exam scores it will or won’t accept.

For more information, see

To explore courses available, visit