Must Haves

The following must have policy elements ensure efforts are comprehensive and center equity, accountability, and quality.

Foundation

  • Require participation of all state and state-related two- and four- year institutions.
  • Require recognition that competencies can be mastered in many different settings and that institutions award academic credit for mastering competencies regardless of where
    the learning took place.
  • Create standardized requirements on how out-of-classroom learning is translated to college credits, often achieved through statewide crosswalks of competencies to credits and credentials.
  • Uniformly apply credit recognition across all institutions.
  • Uniformly apply process for assessing quality prior learning.
  • Adapt curriculum from traditional seat time requirements to competency-based education.

Equity

  • Require Black, Latinx, and Native American policymakers, institutional leaders, and students be involved in creating policy or regulation.
  • Include out-of-classroom learning that is frequently obtained by minoritized and low-income learners (e.g., learning that occurs in low-wage jobs and occupations, volunteering, or community service).
  • Address equity gaps uncovered in annual reports by focusing on the policies and practices that contribute to inequity and shift policy as necessary.
  • Mandate systematic examinations of how any proposed policies or decisions may affect different racial, ethnic, and other relevant demographic groups.

Accountability

  • Require annual reports that document how out-of-classroom learning is credited and credentialed.
  • Report on percentages of attempted or reviewed vs. awarded credit toward major vs. awarded credit as elective.
  • Adjust policy as necessary to ensure uniform application of policy and equitable practices.

Quality

  • Create clear standards and definitions of quality that are applied to both competency-based education and traditional education.

Affordability

  • Create policies that ensure that obtaining credit for out-of-classroom learning has no cost for students.

Additional Facilitating Policy Reform

  • Uniform statewide student transcript form with common course numbering and aligned competencies across like courses to facilitate recognition of learning across institutions.
  • Financial aid reforms such as state-funded support to subsidize credit for prior learning and other non-traditional credits that are not covered under federal financial aid.

State Exemplars

While no state has established a uniform system of applying all quality learning towards credits and credentials, these three states represent a variety of approaches to increasing the type of out-of-college learning that institutions must recognize in an ALC state policy environment.

West Virginia: Recognizing All Learning through Statewide Degrees

West Virginia: Recognizing All Learning through Statewide Degrees

West Virginia increased the recognition of out-of-classroom learning through the development of two statewide degree programs that standardize the way institutions award academic credit for prior learning and count that learning toward a degree: the Regent’s Bachelor of Arts and the Board of Governor’s Associate of Applied Science. Students may earn a majority of credits in both degrees from standardized prior learning credits.

Read More
Colorado: Focus on Crediting Work-related Experience

Colorado: Focus on Crediting Work-related Experience

Colorado House Bill 20-1002 mandates the Colorado Department of Higher Education to develop a single set of minimum standards across higher education institutions to award credits for work-related experience, which institutions would be mandated to evaluate and award accordingly, but may go above the recommendation.

Read More
Ohio: Standardized State Guidance on Awarding Military and other PLA Credit

Ohio: Standardized State Guidance on Awarding Military and other PLA Credit

Ohio recognizes out-of-college learning through a combination of legislation that mandates institutions to recognize learning acquired through military courses and occupations, and a series of system polices to standardize how institutions award academic credit for apprenticeship learning, career and technical trainings, course equivalency exams, and portfolio reviews.

Read More

Resources

West Virginia Board of Governor's Associate of Applied Science Handbook

West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education

Handbook for the West Virginia Board of Governor's Associate of Applied Science.

Read More

West Virginia Regents Bachelor of Arts Handbook

WV Higher Education Policy Commission

Handbook for West Virginia's Regents Bachelor of Arts.

Read More

Colorado House Bill 20-1002

Legislation mandating the General Education Council, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), to develop standards across higher education institutions to award credit

Read More

Ohio House Bill 488

This bill authorizes the Ohio Department of Higher Education to develop a set of statewide standards for the granting of college credit for military training, experience, and coursework.

Read More

PLA with a Purpose

Tools and rubrics produced by Ohio's PLA with a Purpose initiative which institutions can use to standardize their processes around portfolio review.

Read More

Ohio House Bill 59

This bill requires the Ohio Department of Higher Education to develop a transfer and articulation system for graduates of the Ohio Technical Centers meeting certain minimum standards.

Read More