No matter where you're at in life, not-for-profit education organization the College Board has got your back. They want you to get college credit for material you already know, and they've given you a couple different ways to do it. For high school students, that means taking advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Currently available in over 30 subjects, AP tests cover introductory college material - the same kind of stuff you'd likely find in a 100-level course on a college campus. Students who score sufficiently well can earn college credit for those classes, thus saving both time and money when they finally get to campus.
For later-in-life learners, the College Board offers the slightly more adaptable CLEP tests. These are meant to reflect experience that students have gained in the world outside academia - in jobs, perhaps, or while serving in the military. The College Board offers 33 CLEP tests in all, covering subjects like history, precalculus and Spanish. Taking the tests costs a small fee, but it's nothing compared to the cost of in-class college credit, and it saves a great deal of time. For students returning to college, earning credit for things they already know can also provide a much-needed boost of confidence and momentum.
DANTES, or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, exists primarily to help military servicemen and women gain college credit for all their hard work. However, civilians can benefit from DANTES too! The DANTES site provides a wealth of information for students who want to earn a degree, including notes on long-distance learning, finding educational counselors and taking credit-granting exams. DANTES even offers its own credit-granting test program through the DSST, or DANTES Subject Standardized Test.
Finalist: Annenberg Learner
Unlike our other two nominees, Annenberg Learner's primarily concerned with graduate school credit. That might come as a big relief to bachelor's degree-holding individuals who fear going to grad school because of its price. Through a partnership with Colorado State University, Annenberg allows students to earn graduate school credit by watching course videos, participating in discussions and completing homework and other required activities. Annenberg offers credit in a wide range of subjects, including courses in education, math, science and the humanities. If you're looking for a low-cost, long-distance graduate school education, Annenberg Learner might be your best friend.