PASSHE announced a new program last week that promises course credits for adult learners with work or military experience.
Kenn Marshall, the Media Relations Manager for PASSHE, stated that the program is targeted to nontraditional students who have not been in college classrooms but instead, have learned through military training and real world work experience. A nontraditional student is anybody who goes into higher education, but not straight out of high school.
“It’s really a way to help nontraditional students who want to earn a degree, better themselves, be able to get a job, or to advance higher into their current career,” Marshall said. “A lot of businesses require that if you want be promoted into certain positions, you have to have a college degree. If you’re already out in the workforce and have a family, it could be difficult to leave all that behind for 120 college credits, when you may have already had a solid education and training.”
As of now, the program is not completely sorted out yet, Marshall explained. Students will have to go through a certification process to prove that they have all of the knowledge that would be needed to pass the classes. The main way that they will do this is to make a portfolio that documents their experience, writing, certifications, and evidence of prior training.
Amanda Yale, the Associate Provost for Enrolment Services, explained that the program can be compared to assessments such as Advanced Placement courses in high school and College Board’s Level Examination Program in the fact that multiple faculty members from around the nation are responsible for grading the student’s work.
“This is going to be most attractive to the individual who has been in the work environment for 15, 20, 25 years and who want to get a degree,” Yale said. “Maybe it’s because they want to get, promoted but to get promoted, you have to have a bachelor’s degree.”
Select SRU faculty members attended a meeting last week to be introduced to the basic concept of the program. Currently, PASSHE is finalizing the contract with LearningCounts.org. After the contract is agreed upon, SRU faculty will begin their training in the program. Yale estimated that PASSHE will begin to reveal the finer details about the program within six months.