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Free College Credit Opportunities Now Available to Michigan Residents

The following press release was provided by the State of Michigan on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

Modern States and College Board partner with State to increase education opportunities, accelerate Michigan’s Sixty by 30 initiative

LANSING, Mich.— Modern States Education Alliance and the College Board have partnered with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to offer Michigan residents free online preparation courses for any of College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams – giving Michiganders a chance to earn college credits at Michigan universities and community colleges without taking coursework. 

“Our state’s economic competitiveness and earning potential of our residents is directly linked to education.” LEO Director Jeff Donofrio said. “Earning college credit, certificates and degrees during difficult economic times will help create new career pathways for individuals and help Michiganders increase their earning potential.”

To further advance Michigan’s Sixty by 30 goal – increasing the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030 – Modern States Education Alliance has committed to paying for 10,000 CLEP exams for Michigan residents in the next year.

Private equity investor, long-time education reformer and Michigan public school alumnus Steven Klinsky is founder of the Modern States Education Alliance. His concern for the higher education inequity problem in our country led him to pursue alternative ways to make college affordable and accessible for all. He designed and funded the organization’s first initiative – “Freshman Year for Free” – as a philanthropic effort that empowers people to earn college credits through tuition-free online courses. 

Modern States is a practical on-ramp into the traditional college system. The fast-growing program enables learners of any age and background to earn academic credits at more than 2,900 major colleges and universities within the United States.  

“With activities cancelled and social distancing guidelines in place, we are seeing many individuals turn to Modern States, which is always open, to further their education while also occupying their time at home,” said Steve Klinsky, founder and CEO of Modern States. “The sustained growth of the program speaks to the need for online pathways to higher education and new ways to support individuals who want to attain their educational goals.”

For over 50 years, the CLEP program has been helping students earn college credit and save time and money towards a degree. CLEP offers 34 exams covering introductory-level college course content. With a qualifying CLEP exam score, a student can earn three or more credits and test out of the corresponding college course. Participants can take CLEP exams at test centers across Michigan and receive scores immediately for most exams. There are no class requirements for CLEP, so students can prepare for exams on their own schedule and accelerate toward a degree. Research shows that students who earn credit through CLEP perform as well as or better in sequent or subsequent courses and are more likely to complete their degree. An adult student who earns 15 CLEP credits to apply toward a degree could save nearly $5,000 at the average public four-year institution and more than $17,000 at the average private non-profit institution.

“We are delighted to partner with Modern States and Michigan to provide opportunities for Michigan students to earn college credit through CLEP exams, which propel them on the path to a college degree and career success,” said College Board CEO David Coleman. “We applaud Gov. Whitmer’s bold Sixty by 30 initiative and look forward to continuing to work with the state in support of Michigan students.”

Registering for Modern States’ courses is free and easy – learn more and get started at Michigan.gov/SkillsToWork.

To learn more about Modern States, visit modernstates.org.

To learn more about CLEP, visit the College Board’s CLEP website at clep.collegeboard.org.


For more information about job seeker training, contact your local Michigan Works! American Job Center.

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