The Case for Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning helps more students graduate. Learn more about how offering credit for prior learning can be a strategy for accelerating degree completion and creating a stronger workforce.

Who can benefit?

1 in 5 Americans of working age has some college credit but no degree.

Source: A Stronger Nation through Higher Education: How and Why Americans Must Achieve a Big Goal for College Attainment. A Special Report from Lumina Foundation. D Matthews – Lumina Foundation for Education, 2012.

1 in 5 Americans

75% of today’s students are juggling some combination of families, jobs, and school while commuting to campus.

Source: Time is the Enemy: The Surprising Truth about Why Today’s College Students Aren’t Graduating and What Needs to Change by Complete College America, 2011

commuter

Source: United States Census Bureau data as presented in Center for American Progress. “Sending Veterans to School: Fast Facts on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill,” April 25, 2012

dog tags

Why is it important?

By 2020, there will be 55 million job openings and 65% will require some postsecondary education. Our current system will fail to produce those skilled workers, falling short by 5 million postsecondary credentials.

Take a look at what McDonald’s is doing to invest in their employees and help them advance in their careers using credit for prior learning.

Source: Recovery: Job Growth And Education Requirements Through 2020, Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown, June 2013

What are the barriers?

Only 27% of two- and four-year institutions grant academic credit to students for learning obtained outside the college classroom.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Institutional Characteristics Survey, Fall 2012

Additional Resources

Want to learn more?

Credit for Prior Learning: Charting Institutional Practice for Sustainability research report from American Council on Education Center for Education Attainment & Innovation and American Council on Education Center for Policy Research and Strategy

Credit for Prior Learning from the Student, Campus and Industry Perspectives whitepaper from the American Council on Education Center for Policy Research and Strategy

The Students of the Future whitepaper from the American Council on Education Center for Education Attainment & Innovation’s Presidential Innovation Lab

Award Credit for Prior Learning Assessment by Strategy Labs

LearningCounts