Northern Arizona University to Participate in ACE Alternative Credit Project

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NAU Participates in ACE's Consortium Aiming to Increase Attainment Levels for Nontraditional Learners

Northern Arizona University joins ACE's alternative credit consortium

Northern Arizona University joins ACE's alternative credit consortium

For NAU, access and attainment are inseparable.

ACE announced that Northern Arizona University (NAU) and 24 other colleges and universities are joining an alternative credit consortium as part of an innovative initiative to create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of nontraditional learners.

As part of the 25 institutions serving in this pilot project, NAU has agreed to accept all or most of the transfer credit sought by students who successfully complete courses that are part of a selected pool of about 100 low-cost or no-cost lower division general education online courses. NAU will also help identify the sources, criteria and quality of the courses.

The participating institutions represent a diverse group of four-year and two-year, public and private, non-profit and for-profit colleges and universities that have a strong commitment to access and attainment and serving nontraditional learners.

All participating institutions, including NAU, have agreed to provide anonymized data to ACE regarding the amount of credit their institution accepts, as well as progress and success rates of students transferring in courses through this project.

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of a $1.89 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its initial focus will be on the more than 31 million adults who have completed some postsecondary coursework but lack a degree or credential. Many of these students represent first-generation, low-income students, so findings from this investment likely will apply also to younger students from this population.

“For NAU, access and attainment are inseparable,” said, Dr. Fred Hurst, Senior Vice President of Extended Campuses. “We look forward to working with our ACE colleagues to expand and improve higher education opportunities for nontraditional learners.”

As an additional part of the effort, ACE will expand its current work in the area of college credit recommendations by developing a quality framework and guidelines for issuing recommendations for digital micro-credentials, non-degree certificate programs, and competency-based programs like NAU’s Personalized Learning.

“This project will yield multiple and long-lasting benefits to the participating institutions, the wider higher education community and potentially millions of nontraditional learners,” said Deborah Seymour, ACE assistant vice president for education attainment and innovation. “It will help lead to the greater acceptance of alternative forms of credit in a way that ensures quality and encourages more people to complete their postsecondary education.”

About The Extended Campuses of Northern Arizona University: For more than 30 years, the Extended Campuses of Northern Arizona University has delivered a respected, accredited and affordable university education to students wherever they want to learn. Non-traditional students, including working adults, are empowered to advance personally and professionally through a network of more than 30 satellite campuses throughout Arizona and extensive online options offering over 100 degrees, certificate and endorsement programs across various disciplines. NAU-Extended Campuses continues to introduce innovative educational options to fulfill the growing need for public administrators, health professionals, teachers, business experts and community leaders within the state of Arizona, and beyond. To learn more about The Extended Campuses at Northern Arizona University, go to http://www.nau.edu/extended.

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Kaitlyn Wightman
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