Credit Without Classes

Can you get college credit for just, well, living? Apparently sometimes you can. According to an article by Matthew Dembicki at Community College Times:

[The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)], A national organization that focuses on adult learning, will this summer launch a two-year demonstration project to transfer individuals’ life and work experiences into college credit.

Individuals with little or no higher education or training may find it more appealing to attain a college credential if they earn some credit for their previous learning experiences, which may include work, civic, volunteer or military experiences…. CAEL just completed a Lumina Foundation for Education-funded study of 62,475 students age 25 and older at 48 colleges to see whether prior learning experiences affect graduation rates.

This sort of thing has always seemed a little questionable, at least in part because so few schools seemed to do it.

Apparently under the proposed plan CAEL will look at potential students’ lives and then send its credit recommendations to colleges. The idea is that students are more likely to complete college if they get some credit coming in.

Of course, if students can get some credit for life experience, one wonders how far this can go. What about really experienced people? Couldn’t they just get a degree without taking any college classes at all?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer