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Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

Despite signs that the national economy is getting back on its feet, Americans who lost their jobs to the recession are having a harder time getting back on theirs. Jobs have changed—a lot—and along with them the skills and knowledge required to enter and advance in the workforce.

In the new economy, more jobs require the skills and knowledge obtained in postsecondary education. But for adults lacking degrees, the traditional structure and organization of higher education often pose significant roadblocks to success.

“In a time when more jobs are requiring postsecondary degrees, adults wanting to advance in the workplace are facing the challenges of balancing work, life, and going to school,” says Mark P. Campbell, vice president of “ helps adults accelerate their degree completion in an accessible and affordable manner that meets their needs.” is a partnership between the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), the College Board and ACE CREDIT that helps adults earn college credit for learning acquired through work, employer training programs, military service, independent study, non-credit courses, volunteer or community service and open source courseware. As more adult learners return to school, they will gravitate toward institutions that are most equipped to accept college credit for prior learning through the PLA process.

Referred to by educators as “Prior Learning Assessment” (PLA), the term describes learning gained outside of a traditional academic environment. CAEL recently conducted a study on PLA and adult student outcomes. The study examined data on 62,475 adult students at 48 colleges and universities across the country. CAEL found that students with PLA credit completed degrees at much higher rates than students without such credit. PLA students also had higher persistence rates and a faster time to degree completion.

Students can find institutions across the country that accept PLA credit. Institutions are arming themselves with the tools necessary to help adult learners accelerate their degree completion and help them succeed. allows you to speak one-on-one with an advisor to find out which PLA option is right for you.

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