Research shows that when students receive credit for prior learning (CPL), they are more likely to complete a two- or four-year college degree.

This study expands that research by evaluating the impact of CPL on students seeking short-term non-degree credentials, such as certificates. The students in the study were seeking certificates from one of the 13 institutions in the Colorado Community College System.

Achieving credit for CPL, which recognizes skills and knowledge students have gained outside the classroom, had a positive impact on students who were earning certificates from a Colorado Community College. For students of all ages in a certificate program, the impact of earning CPL credit increased the probability of earning a certificate from 16.2 percent to 25.7 percent.

Yet while CPL has a statistically significant impact on completion of a certificate, only 4 percent of the students in the Colorado system had been awarded CPL. The study also found that male students were more likely to receive CPL credit than female students.

The project, which examined CPL award rates from 2013-2017, was conducted by the Rutgers Education & Employment Research Center (EERC) and was based on a prior research study, Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Programs (CHAMP), which was funded by a $24.9 million federal grant.

View the brief