People's Choice Nominees: Best Affordable Credit Options

Oct 05, 2011

Lots of resources exist to help students acquire a little extra knowledge, navigate their college paths more easily or otherwise gain a slight advantage when it comes to their education. Education Insider News Blog is out to find the best of them in a number of categories, and we want our readers' help! Today we turn our attention to programs that grant college credit for knowledge gained outside a traditional classroom. How do these programs help students succeed in school?

Voting for the 2011 Education Resource People's Choice Awards has closed. Click here to see the final list of winners.

By Eric Garneau

best online study guides peoples choice awards

One of the primary issues keeping many away from attending college is the price. That's something our nominees below are working to combat. Each one offers college credit for showing proficiency in various skills, and at a fraction of the cost of actually taking a college course. Programs like the ones listed below are helping to make education more accessible to all, especially individuals who've accrued significant skills outside the classroom. Which program do you like best? Check them out, then come back here to vote for the winner.

College Board's CLEP & AP

The College Board's AP program is probably familiar to a number of our readers. Since 1955 it's been providing college credit to high school students interested in pushing themselves a little further than the norm academically. Perhaps less familiar is the College Board's CLEP, or College-Level Examination Program. Through this program, hopeful students can take tests to earn college credit for knowledge they've acquired in the world outside academia, with the idea being that it will encourage them to pursue college without feeling like they're wasting time or money retreading material they already know. The program's especially aimed at adult learners who consider going back to school to increase their job skills or marketability. CLEP tests are available in subjects like financial accounting, French and college composition; there are 33 in all.


A branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, DANTES (or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) exists primarily to help military servicemen gain college credit for the considerable abilities they learn while enlisted. However, civilians can benefit from DANTES as well. Through the DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests), both military and non-military individuals can demonstrate their knowledge of academic subjects like information systems and geography to earn college credit; all told, 38 tests are available to them. While civilians pay a nominal fee, many servicemen and women are able to take the tests for free.

Annenberg Learner

Unlike the two programs listed above, education resource Annenberg Learner grants graduate-level credit to its users. Through a partnership with Colorado State University, students can earn credit in many 500-level classes throughout a variety of disciplines, including science, math and the humanities. This is accomplished by watching a series of video lectures, downloading supporting materials and participating in discussions and homework. In the end, students spend around $300 or less for those credits, a significant markdown from a graduate-level education.

All three nominees do great work, but only one can win. Support your favorite, and don't forget to get the word out and vote on Facebook by October 21st!

Not on Facebook? We've also got a SurveyMonkey to help you vote for your favorite education tools and resources.


What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?