CCAC part of state-wide initiative enabling individuals to earn college credit for prior experience
PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County, in addition to Pennsylvania’s 13 other community colleges, is participating in College Credit Fast Track, the first statewide prior learning assessment (PLA) initiative in the country. The initiative enables current and prospective students to earn college credit at one of the state’s community colleges based on prior work or life experience—and establishes common standards for awarding these credits across the state. Credit can be awarded for previous employment, training programs, military service, independent study, community service and completing free online courses.
PLA is the process used by many institutions to determine if an individual’s prior educational, workforce and life experiences can be translated to college credits. According to the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, students who are granted PLA credits have better academic outcomes, better degree completion, better persistence and shorter time to completion than non-PLA students.
College Credit FastTrack (ccfasttrack.org) is a new website and e-portfolio platform, which provides a single point of entry for adult learners in Pennsylvania to access prior learning credits at CCAC and the rest of the state’s community colleges. Students will be shepherded through the process by connecting with a PLA advisor through the site and developing and submitting a portfolio for review for college credits. The portfolio is then evaluated by college faculty to determine which credits will be awarded. PLA advisors are available at each of CCAC’s four campuses.
Headed by lead institution Montgomery County Community College, College Credit Fast Track was made possible by a $2.5 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the US Department of Labor.