Credit for Prior Learning Initiative
Many non-traditional students (adults age 25+) come to California community colleges with skills gained through military, workplace, and civic experiences. They hold industry credentials, are graduates of public service academies, and were trained for military occupations. At a time when our Vision for Success goals demand us to increase certificate and degree completion and reduce achievement gaps, helping students get through faster is a win for colleges and students alike. Credit for prior learning (CPL) is a strategy to help students get credit for what they already know and can do, saving them time and money on their educational path. Research indicates that students who earn CPL:
- are roughly twice as likely to complete a degree than those who do not;
- accumulate more credits through coursework at the institution than their counterparts, which translates to increased enrollment for colleges;
- save an average of 6-10 months in time to degree compared to their non-CPL counterparts.
With Vision for Success goals and related metrics in the new Student Centered Funding Formula, focus is increasing on readying colleges for the unique needs and contributions of non-traditional students. The population is broad—they comprise 43% of our student population, and in California there are more than 6 million potential students with a high school diploma but no degree. More than half of them are people of color. The time is right to expand CPL in our colleges – to help students complete a quality program faster, to increase our colleges’ value proposition and confer significant economic and equity benefits to students, colleges, and the state. This initiative is about building capacity in the system to do that.
With expanded credit for prior learning in California Community Colleges, students will experience a better sense that their previous learning has value. Perhaps more importantly, they will know that we value it.– CPL Advisory Committee member