Press Releases

Modern States Becomes Largest “Free College for Credit” System in the United States

Continued Growth of “Freshman Year for Free” Program Highlights Need for Alternative Pathways to College for Students of All Ages and Backgrounds

  • Over 300,000 registered students to date; nearly 50,000 credit-bearing exams taken by students
  • Students have saved more than $75 million on college tuition by turning to Modern States
  • “Freshman Year for Free” program creates an “onramp” into 2,900 traditional colleges and universities

NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Modern States Education Alliance (“Modern States”), a philanthropy dedicated to making a college degree more affordable and accessible for everyone, today announced that it has over 300,000 registered students on its online learning platform, and has reimbursed fees for approximately 50,000 credit-bearing exams. offers a collection of completely free freshman-level courses online that lead to real credit at thousands of colleges and universities.

“The philanthropic goal of Modern States is to give away great, free, credit-bearing college courses to everyone who wants them, like a public library of post-secondary education. The free Modern States courses, plus our willingness to reimburse the cost of the credit-bearing College Board exams, create a cost-free ‘onramp’ into thousands of traditional colleges and universities,” said Steve Klinsky, Modern States founder and chief executive officer. “Modern States’ 300,000 registered users to date, and its approximately 50,000 reimbursed exams prove that the Modern States concept works as a highly efficient way to help many people.”

Modern States created an online library of over 30 top quality online college courses at, taught by professors from leading universities such as Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Purdue. The courses include lectures, readings and practice questions (all entirely free of charge) that prepare students to pass any of the College Board’s credit-bearing College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. These CLEP exams have been widely accepted for college credit for more than 50 years, and Modern States pays the CLEP exam costs for students who successfully pass its courses.

Any learner—high school students, college students, active-duty military and adults—can sign up at in minutes and begin taking these courses in subjects such as English, Math, Science, American Government, American History, Psychology, Spanish and many others. There are no entrance, financial or other requirements to use Modern States; everyone, everywhere is welcome, just like a public library. All it takes is an internet connection and a desire to learn. Some students take courses on their cell phones.

“Modern States exists to help all people, of any age and background, including high schoolers and adult learners, save about a full year’s worth of money and time on their education,” said Klinsky. “The all-in average cost of public college is about $20,000 per year, so every Modern States course and CLEP exam passed can save students about $2,000 of cost.”

Launched in 2017, Modern States was created to help students and their families deal with the high cost of college that has resulted in more than $1.6 trillion of student debt, more than all the credit card debt in the U.S. By enabling students to save on the cost of college, Modern States reduces student debt and offers a pathway to college.

Students can take one course or as many courses as they choose. By passing 8-10 CLEP exams, students can save up to a full year of college cost. Thus far, students collectively have saved more than an estimated $75 million in college costs and gained the confidence that they can do college-level work.

As the program continues bringing its promise of free college credit to more students across the country, Modern States has forged dozens of partnerships with like-minded organizations, including the Carnegie Foundation, the Hearst Foundation, The Heckscher Foundation, The Starr Foundation, the “I Have a Dream Foundation” and others.

It also has forged partnerships with Purdue University; with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) led by Morgan State University; and with hundreds of high schools and colleges in states including Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Georgia, Tennessee and others.

Purdue and Morgan State started “Fast Start” programs with Modern States, which specially admit Modern States/CLEP students into Purdue and Morgan State at major cost and time savings.

The NYC x Freshman Year for Free program has more than 1,200 registered students from more than 25 New York City public high schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The NYC students who receive stipends for passing courses and exams use Modern States courses to earn free college credit prior to high school graduation.

The pass rate on CLEP exams for NYC public school students has been 85 percent to date, which is about 20 percentage points higher than the approximately 65 percent national average pass rate for all CLEP test takers. The overall pass rate is about 75 percent for students taking Modern States courses.

“Now, with courses taught by college professors online to prepare students to pass these exams, students can ‘get college credit for what they learn’,” said David Vise, executive director of Modern States.

Registering for Modern States courses is free and easy. Sign up here. The philanthropy aspires to help over one million learners, saving students and taxpayers approximately $2,000 per course and over $1 billion in total.

About Modern States 
Modern States is a NYC-based philanthropy dedicated to making a college degree more affordable and accessible for everyone. Its first initiative is “Freshman Year for Free”: more than 30 online college courses available tuition-free for credit, from top university professors available to anyone with an Internet connection. Students can use these courses to earn college credits by preparing for and taking credit-bearing CLEP exams, as offered by the College Board, and accepted by more than 2,900 colleges. Learn more at

Sign Up Now.

Freshman Year for Free

Sign Up