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CAEL Pathways Blog

New CAEL Report: The Case for Prior Learning Assessment Financial Aid

Prior learning assessment (PLA) works.

For decades, PLA has proven to be an effective method for helping students meet completion goals, increasingly the likelihood of graduation to a rate of two-and-a-half times greater than that of non-PLA students. Students who take advantage of PLA have also shown on average to take an additional 9.9 credits more than their counterparts who have not made use of PLA.

Yet despite these benefits, there has yet to be a policy to provide federal financial assistance for PLA.

Informed by the results of the U.S. Department of Education's Experimental Sites Initiative, in which 27 higher education institutions were given waivers to allow students to use financial aid to cover PLA costs, that could change.

CAEL's report, "Financial Aid for Prior Learning Assessment: Early Successes and Lessons from the U.S. Department of Education's Experimental Sites Initiative," highlights experiences and successful results of the experiment so far, in addition to assessing how this new application of federal financial aid might be best supported if available nationwide.

The findings from the study lend support for updated Title IV regulations that support PLA. Should there be a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in the near future, the time is right for a financial aid policy that reflects the value of PLA to the adult learner.

To download a free copy of the report, click below.

 Financial Aid for Prior Learning Assessment

Klein-Collins, R. (2010). Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success. CAEL.

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