California Community College System Endorses CLEP

NEW YORK — The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges — the largest higher education system in the nation, with 112 colleges and nearly three million enrolled students — has endorsed a policy providing guidelines for the use of College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations as the basis for awarding general education credit. A similar policy was established by the California State University system in May 2010. 


Accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and administered in over 1,700 test centers, CLEP allows students of a wide range of ages and backgrounds, including military service members, to demonstrate their mastery of college-level material in introductory subjects and earn college credit. Students can earn credit for what they already know and can accelerate toward college completion while saving money. With a qualifying score on an exam, a student can save from $600 to $2,400 in tuition at an average urban four-year public institution. 


CLEP helps create a more dynamic classroom experience and increase retention rates, as it accurately places prepared, engaged and motivated students. It also facilitates the credit transfer process from one academic institution to another. 


"Articulation officers, transfer center directors and counselors at all of the California Community Colleges are thrilled to have our statewide academic senate endorse the California Community College General Education CLEP List,” said Dave DeGroot, articulation officer at Allan Hancock College. “Many of our colleges already have local GE CLEP equivalencies, but now we're hopeful that many more of our colleges will adopt the statewide endorsed model. Having a common GE denominator for the use of CLEP really helps our students, as many attend more than one community college." 


California colleges and universities, like many others around the nation, are seeking ways to meet the financial and enrollment challenges of graduating more students with fewer resources. As the most widely used college-based credit-by-examination program, CLEP has proved to be an academically sound tool to accomplish both goals. 


The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning, funded by the Lumina Foundation, reinforced the vital role prior learning assessments (PLA) such as CLEP play in achieving our nation’s education goals. In a 2010 report, “Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: A 48-Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes,” 43 percent of PLA students earned bachelor’s degrees, compared to only 15 percent of non-PLA students. The most dramatic difference was for Hispanic students at the bachelor’s degree level; Hispanic PLA students earned bachelor’s degrees at a rate that was almost eight times higher than that of Hispanic non-PLA students.