Getting Credit for Life

Let’s face it, education is expensive. And as more and more lenders pull out of student aid programs, corporate-funded tuition reimbursement programs get cut and competition for scholarships increases, students might wonder whether starting a degree program is desirable — or even feasible — right now.

However, in a tight job market, having the right credentials is crucial. For this reason, some IT professionals are turning to prior learning assessments (PLAs) rather than enrolling. PLAs can validate experience by determining that learning outside the classroom is equivalent to that of an academic curriculum and therefore deserving of college credit.

Before delving into the various PLA options, let’s first take a look at some of the current challenges to traditional education.

Lack of Financial Aid

Inaccessibility of financial aid has put school out of reach for many families. A study by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) to gauge the impact of the credit crisis on student populations found that “45.8 percent of private colleges said that at least some of their students were ‘stopping out of school or switching to part-time status,’ a finding that conflicts with the widely held notion that students had not, by and large, been seriously deterred from pursuing their studies,” as reported by InsideHigherEd.com. Another finding highlighted that almost 18 percent of independent colleges said “they had enrolled fewer returning students than they had expected, and 19 percent had smaller incoming freshman classes than expected.”

Students who want to attend…


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