- New Jersey announced Monday with nonprofit course provider the Modern States to allow some residents to earn college credit for free.
- Centenary University, Mercer County , and Thomas Edison State University are taking part in the pilot. The schools to participate.
- State officials say the initiative will help New Jersey reach its goal of having 65% of all working-age adults earn a by 2025.
New Jersey has that goal within its sights. Nearly 51% of New Jersey residents ages 25 to 64 had an associate degree or higher in 2019, and another 6% had a short-term credential, according to. Combined that puts the state a few percentage of the national average for degree attainment.
However, attainment rates are unevenand vary widely based on race and ethnicity. Nearly 80% of Asian and Pacific Islander residents and 57% of White residents had at least an in the age group Lumina tracked. Meanwhile, around 35% of and American Indian residents and 28% of Hispanic residents had that degree or higher.
New Jersey officials hope the Modern States partnership will expand higheraccess statewide, especially for adult learners. The state also earlier this year.
Modern States provide free courses and materials that help people prepare for exams to earnahead of enrolling, such as the College Board’s College-Level Examination Program or CLEP. It also works with , Michigan’s , and colleges, including the and . Qualifying students can request a voucher to cover the cost of the tests.
The organization is working with theprepare for the CLEP exams. These tests are a form of prior learning assessments, which nontraditional credit for their past work and learning experiences. Participating , while Modern States will cover fees for the first 1,000 CLEP exams, a spokesperson said in an email.
When students register, “they will be reminded to confirm which courses will be accepted for credit” at their current or prospective college in New Jersey, a spokesperson for the state’s higher education office said in an email. The pilot institutions will also promote which Modern States courses they would accept for transfer and how they work.
According to research by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the Council forwho get credit for prior learning are likelier to complete a credential.
Courtney Brown, vice president of impact and planning at the Lumina Foundation says that many states are trying to figure out how to help more of their residents earn a postsecondary credential. “I applaud New Jersey in just thinking about new and alternative ways … to find more affordable pathways for their students,” Brown said, noting the schools should alsocan complete a credential. already accept CLEP credits. An MCCC spokesperson said in an email that the partnership is partly a way to help support nontraditional students. Additionally, the Modern these credits, a Thomas Edison spokesperson said in an email.