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American Council on Education Selects CTU for Alternative Credit Pilot Program

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, program aims to create a more flexible pathway toward degree completion.

American Council on Education Alternative Credit ProjectCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 5, 2015 – Colorado Technical University (CTU), a leading provider of higher education for career-motivated students, is one of 25 colleges and universities nationwide that will participate in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Alternative Credit Project, which aims to create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of non-traditional learners.

The pilot program, made possible by a $1.89 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to benefit the more than 31 million adults who have completed some college but lack a degree or credential.  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 non-traditional learners.

As part of its involvement with ACE, CTU will accept eligible transfer credit earned by students from a select pool of 100 low-cost or no-cost general education online courses. This means that eligible students can potentially enroll with up to two years of credit already completed toward a four-year degree. Participating institutions will also provide ACE with anonymized data to track the long-term success of students who transfer credits through this program.

“Our participation in this project demonstrates our commitment to achieving our national higher education goals, including reducing tuition costs and increasing graduation rates,” said Andrew H. Hurst, university president of CTU. “Like ACE, CTU is making education more accessible to non-traditional students and encouraging other institutions to accept alternative forms of credit so that today’s modern learner can complete their degree and pursue their professional goals.”

“The institutions serving in this pilot project will play a valuable role in helping enhance the work we have been doing for many years in developing quality mechanisms for determining the credit worthiness of education, training and life experiences outside of a formal higher education classroom setting,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad in a press release issued by ACE about the Alternative Credit Project.
“We very much appreciate this generous investment and the commitment it represents to the effort to provide a more flexible and cost-efficient way to increase the number of Americans able to gain a college degree or credential.”

Similar to the ACE Alternative Credit Project mission, which aims to develop systems for defining the credit value of experiences outside of the classroom, CTU strives to find new and effective ways to help students receive the credit they deserve for their prior work and learning experiences. For example, CTU created Fast Track™, a set of technology-driven institutional proficiency assessments that allow students to earn credit for prior knowledge toward their associate or bachelor’s degree. 

“We recognize that not all knowledge is gained in a formal classroom,” Hurst said. “Whether through on-the-job training, military service, or corporate experience, we strive to honor the skills and experience students bring with them to CTU.”

“As the needs and expectations of students and employers change over time, so must institutions of higher education adapt to remain current, relevant and worthy of the investments our students make in themselves,” said Dr. Connie Johnson, chief academic officer and provost of CTU. “As a career-oriented university that supports many nontraditional students, our degree programs and prior learning assessment practices align closely with the mission of the ACE Alternative Credit Project. We’re thrilled to be a part of this effort.”

In addition to this ACE collaboration, CTU has recently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Programs for its online Bachelor’s degree programs, Master’s in Information Technology, and Master’s in Criminal Justice and was named Outstanding eLearning Program by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC). The University also received a WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) Outstanding Work (WOW) award for its use of intellipath™ adaptive learning technology in its online MBA program. CTU’s cybersecurity program has also earned the designation of being a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

About Colorado Technical University
Founded in 1965, Colorado Technical University (CTU) provides higher education to connect students to what matters most in reaching their professional goals. CTU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs taught by real-world faculty members who enrich the curriculum with their industry experience and prepare students for today's challenges and the hard-hitting problems of tomorrow. CTU's personalized, online learning system allows students to control what, where, when and how they learn. Students can also learn and connect on campuses in Colorado Springs and Aurora (Denver). With the help of faculty, industry professionals and more than 70,000 alumni, CTU students can also grow a powerful professional network to use their entire career. Learn more at www.coloradotech.edu or follow CTU on Twitter @ctuniversity.

CTU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org. CTU is also a member of the Career Education Corporation network of universities, colleges and schools.  For more information, visit www.careered.com. CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at http://www.coloradotech.edu/financial-aid/student-disclosures. The ability to reduce time in school and/or reduce tuition using Fast Track depends on the number of Fast Track™ tests successfully passed. Fast Track™ program credits are unlikely to transfer. 

About ACE
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions. Representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

Media Contact:
Melissa Balsan
(224) 293-5990  
mbalsan@ctuonline.edu