February 2, 2015

Community Colleges Launch First Statewide College Credit FastTrack Program

Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges Monday announced the launch of the first statewide Prior Learning Assessment initiative in the country, called College Credit FastTrack.
College Credit FastTrack allows PA’s 14 community colleges to allow adult learners to earn credit for learning through training and work experiences – and establishes common standards for awarding these credits across the state.
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. Students who are granted PLA credits have better academic outcomes, better degree completion, better persistence, and shorter time to completion than non-PLA students.
“Some postsecondary education is as necessary now as a high school degree was in previous generations, and many adults want to gain a degree and gain re-employment with as little time in the classroom as possible,” says Dr. Nicholas Neupauer, president of Butler County Community College and board chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “College Credit FastTrack will enable these students to complete a life-changing degree program more quickly and at a reduced cost.”
College Credit FastTrack 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 all of our community colleges.
Students will be shepherded through the process by connecting with a PLA advisor at one of the colleges through the site and developing and submitting a portfolio for review for college credits. Then the portfolio is evaluated by college faculty to determine which credits will be awarded.
Current community colleges have already been engaging in PLA processes at their campuses with great success.
Anthony Caso, a forty-two year old single father, has been awarded 27 credits towards his associate’s degree in criminal justice at Montgomery County Community College, which will cut his time to degree completion nearly in half. With College Credit FastTrack in place, it is anticipated that more Pennsylvania students will gain PLA credits than ever before.
Headed by lead institution Montgomery County Community College, College Credit FastTrack was made possible by a $2.5 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information, visit the College Credit FastTrack website.