Open edX-Based Freshman Year for Free Initiative Reaches 100,000 Students Milestone

The “Freshman Year for Free” initiative has announced a key milestone: the registration of 100,000 students. The project, developed by a philanthropy called Modern States Education Alliance, runs on a sophisticated Open edX ecosystem. Every month over 8,000 new learners join this educational platform.

Taught by professors from leading universities, Modern States’ free online courses prepare students for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam offered by the College Board.

“Having over 100,000 learners registered on ModernStates.org is a significant milestone for our organization and is particularly meaningful to me as I believe access to education is a fundamental right,” said Steve Klinsky, founder and CEO of Modern States. “Total student debt in America now exceeds $1.4 trillion dollars. With higher education playing a key role in the strength of our country, now and in the future, educating people on the cost-saving resources available to them is imperative.”

ModernStates.org classes are high-tech recorded sessions taught by professors from schools such as Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and George Washington University, and prepare learners to pass a CLEP exam. Course materials include free online textbooks and readings, plus practice questions from the College Board. Students can study each course at their own pace and take the CLEP exam when they feel ready.

There are no fees or costs of any kind to access the materials, and each CLEP exam costs $87. As part of its philanthropic commitment, Modern States is paying the CLEP exam fee for the first 10,000 people who take a course. Students request an exam fee voucher once they’ve finished a course.

“Whether someone takes one of our courses or enough credits to fulfill their freshman year requirements, it’s rewarding to provide a path to college for many types of students,” said Klinsky.

In the long term, Modern States aspires to help over one million learners earn credit at no tuition cost, saving students and taxpayers approximately $1,000 per course and over $1 billion in total.