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QCC’s Credit for Prior Learning Program Makes College More Attainable

December, 2020
  • Paramedic student Maria Soja.
    Paramedic student Maria Soja.

At Quinsigamond Community College, students are attaining their dreams for a higher education in less time through Credit for Prior Learning. By earning credit for life experience, students save time earning their degrees, as well as realize substantial tuition savings. In 2020, 1,472 credits were awarded to 310 students.

QCC’s Career Services and Credit for Prior Learning Office works with students to assist them in translating their life experiences into college credits. Students may earn college credit for acquired life experience in a variety of ways that include taking a challenge exam, having portfolio assessments, or through credentialing of prior certificates and trainings such as military service, firefighting academy and emergency medical technician training. Credit for Prior Learning offers a significant savings over QCC’s already affordable tuition rates. The program offers a savings of between $130-$205 per credit.

President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D. noted that these types of savings are extremely beneficial, particularly during a pandemic when many students are struggling to make ends meet. 

“While financial concerns may be exacerbated by the pandemic, credit for prior learning not only offers a way for students to save money, but also enables them to graduate earlier and enter the workforce sooner with less debt,” he said.

Student veteran Javier Viera spent 30 years serving in the Army before coming to QCC. During his first 12 years in the Army he worked as a combat engineer and the last 18 years as an Army recruiter. Mr. Viera was awarded 69 credits for prior learning, of which he used 35 credits for a human services degree.

As a former Army recruiter, Mr. Viera said he has always promoted and was aware of credit for prior learning, however, “... seeing it applied when I came to QCC was a great surprise,” he said.

Mr. Viera said that while he could have used the majority of his awarded credits for a general studies degree, he chose instead to use all applicable credits toward the human service degree he really wanted. His plan is to graduate from QCC in Fall 2021 and then work with veterans.

“I can’t say I wasn’t temped to go for a general studies degrees,” he said. “The applicability of my military time for credits blew me out of the water.”

“The Credit for Prior Learning program is a great way for students to take advantage of the knowledge they’ve gained over the years and have it pay off in a lucrative way,” Dr. Pedraja added.

To learn more, visit Credit for Prior Learning.