Inver Hills working to expand Credit for Prior Learning opportunities
Along with seven other Minnesota State colleges and universities as well as seven community-based organizations, Inver Hills Community College is a partner in a $350,000 Lumina Foundation “All Learning Counts” Grant awarded to the system. The grant is focused on creating transparent pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for adult learners of color and Native learners.
Kendrah Pearson serves as director of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at Inver Hills and Dakota County Technical College (DCTC). Kendrah welcomes the grant as a great way to help streamline the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) process between Minnesota State schools. Under CPL, students are awarded academic credit when they demonstrate college or university-level knowledge attained via informal or experiential learning outside the classroom as well as through industry-based certification training.
“Inver Hills is recognized as an exceptionally adult-friendly college both inside and outside the Minnesota State system,” Kendrah said. “Both Inver and DCTC are pilot colleges in the Minnesota State Credit for Prior Learning Assessment Network, or C-PLAN, a multi-campus assessment collaboration program.”
Kendrah reported that Ben Franske, Inver IT faculty, has developed a cross-walk plan that allows IT professionals to turn their certifications into college credits leading to a degree.
“That’s important because HR departments throughout business and industry are looking to hire employees with degrees as a way to fill future management positions,” she said.
Kendrah added that Credit for Prior Learning is awarded through a rigorous assessment process that involves:
- Faculty evaluation of learning via combination assessments
- A student may be asked to demonstrate a skill along with writing a paper, or taking an exam, or possibly all three
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or other standardized examinations
- Military training and/or service reviews
- Portfolio reviews
“We are very excited about receiving the Lumina Foundation Grant,” Kendrah said. “Helping adult learners achieve their academic and career goals is central to our college mission.”
Inver Hills Ranked #12 by Washington Monthly
Washington Monthly, a bimonthly nonprofit magazine covering U.S. politics and government, ranked Inver Hills Community College #12 on its 2018 College Guide and Rankings: Best Colleges for Adult Learners—2-Year Colleges.
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The following is the official Minnesota State media release:
Minnesota State Receives Lumina “All Learning Counts” Grant
Program seeks to expand opportunities for adult learners to earn Credit for Prior Learning
ST. PAUL, Minnesota, September 30, 2019—Lumina Foundation has awarded Minnesota State a $350,000 grant under its “All Learning Counts” initiative to build transparent pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for adult learners of color and Native learners. The grant will allow Minnesota State to expand its program of awarding Credit for Prior Learning, which can reduce the cost of completing a degree and contribute to student success.
“Increasing the number of post-traditional adult learners served by our colleges and universities is one of our key strategies for increasing educational attainment in Minnesota and eliminating equity gaps,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “This grant will help our colleges and universities address the pressing issues facing adult learners and learners from traditionally underserved populations and help us better meet the state’s need for workforce talent.”
Lumina Foundation News & Views
“Recognizing learning outside of the classroom: Lumina Foundation awards $3.5 million in grants for ‘All Learning Counts’ initiative”
INDIANAPOLIS – Lumina Foundation is releasing $3.5 million in grants to nine organizations committed to building clearer pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for people of color and Native learners. Lumina’s All Learning Counts initiative will support organizations working to ensure that knowledge, skills, and abilities gained outside formal higher education—through work, military, and other experiences—can be recognized and applied toward programs that lead to credentials of value.
“Through All Learning Counts, we are recognizing exemplars who want to ensure many more Americans will have skills they need to thrive by earning college degrees, certificates, and industry certifications,” said Haley Glover, the Lumina strategy director who will provide leadership for the grant program. “We need to think in new ways about the recognition of learning after high school. We must see that all college-level learning, regardless of how and where it is gained, can be applied toward meaningful post-high school credentials.”
Under Credit for Prior Learning, academic credit can be awarded to students who successfully demonstrate college or university-level learning achieved through informal or experiential learning outside of the classroom. Credit for Prior Learning is awarded through sound methods of assessment such as faculty evaluation of learning via challenge exams, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or other standardized examinations, reviewing military training or service, or portfolio reviews.
Because these credits can be applied to course, program, or degree requirements, they can reduce the student’s cost and decrease the time it takes for a student to obtain a degree. For adults and traditionally underserved populations, Credit for Prior Learning can improve persistence and reinforce the idea that a college credential is within reach. Across Minnesota State, nearly 84,000 students are over the age of 25, and 30 percent of these are students of color.
“Increasing the number of post-traditional adult learners served by our colleges and universities is one of our key strategies for increasing educational attainment in Minnesota and eliminating equity gaps. This grant will help our colleges and universities address the pressing issues facing adult learners and learners from traditionally underserved populations and help us better meet the state’s need for workforce talent.”
— Devinder Malhotra, Chancellor, Minnesota State
Funding from the All Learning Counts grant will support initiatives by colleges, universities, government, and community partners to broaden the view of Credit for Prior Learning to consider life experience and college level learning of low income and under-represented communities. This includes creating “cross-walks” in which work-based training programs are pre-evaluated by faculty teams for college credit at multiple institutions. Program activities funded by the grant will include building an organization of internal and community-based partners that will provide planning and oversight, share best practices, advise on equity and inclusion, and expand outreach to new and returning adult learners.
Minnesota State partners who helped develop the proposal include:
- Inver Hills Community College
- Lake Superior College
- Metropolitan State University
- Minnesota State University, Mankato
- Minnesota West Community and Technical College
- Riverland Community College
- South Central College
- Southwest Minnesota State University
Community-based partners include:
- Adult Basic Education
- Goodwill Easter Seals
- Project for Pride in Living
- Minnesota Office of Higher Education
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
- Summit Academy OIC
The Greater Metropolitan Workforce Council is a lead partner, supporting additional outreach and fundraising.
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. The foundation envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Lumina’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.
Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 350,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.
ASAP: Adult Success through Accelerated Pathways
ASAP is what Inver Hills calls academic programs that have been identified as the most flexible and convenient for nontraditional adult learners. Whether you are looking to transfer to a four-year institution or simply finish an associate degree for a career change or promotion, you will have the opportunity to earn a college degree at an accelerated, flexible and independent pace.
You can earn your degree while potentially getting college credit for the knowledge and skills you’ve gained through your work and life experiences. ASAP uses Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) and other Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) tools to match your know-how with college courses, saving you money as well as time in the classroom.
Learn more about Credit for Prior Learning at Inver Hills by contacting:
Director of Prior Learning Assessment
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College
Learn more about the Lumina Foundation “All Learning Counts” Grant by contacting:
Communication and Media Director