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APUS to Participate in American Council on Education Alternative Credit Project to Increase Completion Levels for Nontraditional Learners

Charles Town, W. Va., Dec. 15, 2014American Public University System (APUS) today announced its participation in an American Council on Education (ACE) alternative credit consortium as part of an innovative initiative to create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of nontraditional learners.

As one of 25 institutions serving in the pilot project, APUS has agreed to accept all or most of the transfer credit sought by students who successfully complete courses that are part of a selected pool of approximately 100 low- or no-cost, lower-division online general education courses. The institutions will also help identify the sources, criteria and quality of the courses. They represent a diverse group of four- and two-year, public and private, non-profit and for-profit colleges and universities with a strong commitment to access and attainment for nontraditional learners.

The initiative, made possible by the generous support of a $1.89 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will initially focus on the more than 31 million adults who have completed some postsecondary coursework but lack a degree or credential. However, many of these students represent first-generation, low-income students, so findings from this investment will likely also apply to younger students from this population.

"The institutions serving in this pilot project will play a valuable role in helping enhance the work we have been doing for many years in developing quality mechanisms for determining the credit worthiness of education, training and life experiences outside of a formal higher education classroom setting," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.

“We’re very pleased to be part of this important cross-sector effort to enhance access to underserved learners through more versatile academic programs,” said Dr. Wallace E. Boston, APUS president and chief executive officer. “Coupled with our participation in the Gardner Institute’s Gateways to Completion™ (G2C™) and Higher Learning Commission Academy for Student Persistence and Completion, this initiative further validates our standing commitment to provide optimum student learning outcomes.”

APUS and other participating institutions have agreed to provide anonymized data to ACE regarding the amount of credit their institution accepts, as well as progress and success rates of students transferring in courses through this project. Additional college, university and system partners will be recruited in fall 2015 to join the consortium. As an additional part of the effort, ACE will expand its current work in the area of college credit recommendations by developing a quality framework and guidelines for issuing recommendations for digital micro-credentials, competency-based programs, and non-degree certificate programs.