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Modern States And Morgan State University Enter Partnership To Expand College Access To Maryland Students

Fast Start Program at Morgan Marks the Philanthropy’s Newly Launched Commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities


NEW YORK — Modern States, a philanthropy dedicated to making a college degree more affordable and accessible to everyone, today announced a partnership with Morgan State University, designed to help Maryland high school students earn up to a year of college credit at no cost. Modern States and Morgan will work together to facilitate the university’s enrollment of Maryland students. This inaugural partnership represents Modern States newly launched commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Modern States forms strategic alliances at the local, state and university levels to design programs that meet a community’s specific needs. This targeted approach is helping provide additional college readiness tools to students and the ability to earn free college credit, while also providing universities with a new recruiting tool.

Through the commitment to HBCUs, beginning with Morgan, Modern States will provide at least 10,000 free online college courses and credit-bearing exams to prospective students. This will save over $10 million in tuition and expenses for HBCU students. The Morgan Fast Start program will mirror a similar Fast Start initiative launched by Modern States and Purdue University in 2020.

“We are excited to be the first HBCU selected by the Klinsky family and Modern States to partner on the Fast Start Program. Together we will increase the number of college-ready students in Maryland while decreasing the cost of a college education,” said Kara Turner, Ph.D., vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success (EMASS). “Students who complete the Morgan Fast Start Program will be able to potentially shave a semester or even a year off the time it takes to complete their Morgan degree and that will appeal to a number of prospective students.”

Morgan will offer assured admission to Maryland high school students who pass four Modern States courses and pass the corresponding credit-bearing exams. Students also must meet standard Morgan admission requirements. The four courses and exams can save students more than $8K. The Fast Start option also can move students toward early graduation and early entry into the workforce.

The Modern States philanthropy is fully funding the Fast Start initiative, with a special gift from the family of Steven and Maureen Klinsky. The gift will enable students in high school to begin earning college credit for free.

“We’re honored that my family and Modern States can play a role in attracting great students to Morgan State and other HBCUs,” said Steven Klinsky, the founder and CEO of Modern States. “This commitment to HBCUs helps broaden our mission of helping all people afford a better education in order to reach their full potential.”

Modern States is the largest free college program in the country, with over 280,000 students since it launched in 2017. Along with the Klinsky family, Modern States has received funding from the Carnegie Foundation, the Starr Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation, among others. Modern States has partnered with numerous states including Michigan, New Jersey, and New York and universities throughout the country, including SUNY, Thomas Edison State University, and the State of Texas University System. offers 33 top-quality college courses (in the areas of English, History, Math, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting, Spanish and others), all taught by leading university professors. 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. They can be taken from any device with an Internet connection, including a cell phone.

The courses prepare students to pass College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams from the College Board. CLEP has been in place for over 50 years. A passing score on a CLEP exam is accepted for credit at Morgan State and at over 2,900 colleges and universities, including virtually all HBCUs.

Morgan State will publicize Fast Start throughout Maryland and will use the program to enhance targeted recruiting of hard-to-reach prospective students.

For more information on the program, visit the MSU Fast Start website at or contact Carl White, special advisor, Office of Strategic Enrollment Partnerships, at

HBCUs that want to explore partnering with Modern States should contact Vice President Stephanie Costner at

About Morgan
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering nearly 120 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, 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 CLEP exams, as offered by the College Board. Learn more at


About the Klinsky Family
Modern States and the Morgan State “Fast Start” program were initially funded by charitable gifts from the family of Steven and Maureen Klinsky. Steven Klinsky is a New York-based businessman and philanthropist, and a leader in the private equity industry. Maureen Sherry Klinsky is an author and novelist. They have previously funded a professor of leadership at Harvard Law School, medical clinics in Africa, after-school centers and other causes, chiefly in the fields of education and children’s health.

Media Contact(s):
Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, University PR
(443) 885-3022

Jennifer Leckstrom, RoseComm for Modern States

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