Press Releases

Modern States, the Largest “Free College for Credit” System in the U.S., Surpasses 400,000 Learners

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

  • Over 125,000 credit-bearing exams taken by students, and paid for by Modern States; an estimated $300 million savings on college costs for students and families
  • Key alliances in place with Purdue, HBCUs, New York City high schools and others
  • “Freshman Year for Free” program creates an “onramp” into more than 2,900 traditional colleges and universities

Modern States Education Alliance (“Modern States”), the nation’s leading philanthropy dedicated to making a college degree more affordable and accessible for everyone, today announced that it has over 400,000 registered students on its online learning platform. offers a collection of completely free freshman-level courses online that lead to real credit at thousands of colleges and universities. To date, students have completed 128,000 courses and received full reimbursement by Modern States for exam fees. Assuming 10 college courses per year, this is the equivalent of up to 12,800 free years of college; a potential savings of approximately $300 million, at an average cost of college of $30,000 per year, all in.

“The philanthropic goal of Modern States is to give away great, free, credit-bearing college courses to everyone who wants them. The free Modern States courses, plus our willingness to pay the fees 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 produced and created an online library of over 30 top quality online college courses, all available to everyone at, and all 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.

“I saved a ton of money and time, and I’m not sure what my life would look like now if I didn’t use it,” said Logan Lathrop, a Modern States learner who thought he would never pursue college. He discovered CLEP during his time in the Air National Guard and took advantage of the program to further his education while deployed in Kuwait. “I’m now a 1L at Harvard Law School and without using Modern States to clear out a full semester and a half of courses, it’s very possible that the entry into higher education would have been too daunting for me to consider starting.”

Any learner – high school students, college students, active-duty military and adults – can sign up at in minutes and began taking these self-paced 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.

Like a digital public library, the Modern States free online courses are available 24/7 and are self-paced, allowing students full flexibility and convenience. All it takes is an internet connection and a desire to learn. Some students take courses on their cell phone.

“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.

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 $1.7 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.

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 Corp., the Hearst Foundation, The Heckscher Foundation, The Starr Foundation, the “I Have a Dream” Foundation and many others, including The Archdiocese of New York.

It also has forged partnerships with Purdue University; with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) led by Morgan State University; with hundreds of high schools and colleges; and with numerous cities and states.

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 3,500 registered students from 100 New York City public high schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The NYC students who receive stipends for passing courses and exams use Modern States courses to earn free college credit during high school.

The overall pass rate for CLEP students has been 74 percent to date, which is about 10 percentage points higher than the national average pass rate for all CLEP test takers. Research has shown that students who pass CLEPs are more likely to graduate, and more likely to do well on the follow-up course.

“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. The philanthropy aspires to help over one million learners and to save students and taxpayers over $1 billion in total. The program also symbolizes a model of a national or global free digital library of college and vocational training, that a government or NGO could institute on a broader scale.

For more information about Modern States and its courses, please visit

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, including most HBCUs. Learn more at a class=”noexitmsg” href=””>

Sign Up Now.

Freshman Year for Free

Sign Up