Expanding Access to Credit for Prior Learning


​​​​​​​​​ACE is committed to expanding flexible pathways to postsecondary credentials through effective applications of credit for prior learning (CPL) at colleges and universities.​

ACE's Learning ​Evaluations team is actively working on new tools to help learners better utilize their credit recommendations and to better connect learners, colleges and universities, and employers. Several new initiatives are underway to shape our improved framework ​for increasing awareness and acceptance of credit for prior learning.  ​

During the development of our new initiatives, ACE will not maintain a list of credit-accepting institutions as we have done with some previous initiatives.

Many institutions across the nation continue to support credit for prior learning​ through the acceptance of ACE credit recommendations. If you are a learner seeking to attend a postsecondary institution, please visit our learner transfer guide for more information and for tips on determining if your desired college or university accepts ACE credit recommendations for credit.

Learn more about our current initiatives and past programs below.

ACE's Approach to CPL

ACE supports all learning, including skills gained from experiences outside postsecondary education. Credit for prior learning provides a range of options, from recognition o​f military and workforce training to national examinations and portfolio development. With more options to document learning comes the increased ability for greater numbers of learners to complete a degree or certification program.​

​ACE has partnered with digital credential leader Credly to reenvision the translation of workplace learning and college credit. The Working Transcript​ is designed to allow learners to easily transition between work and postsecondary education while retaining a record of all their learned skills.

​If you are a postsecondary institution interested in learning more about how your college or university can implement credit for prior learning policies, support learners, or become a member institution to partner with ACE on thought leadership around these issues, check out our additional resources below.

New and Pilot Initiatives

​Apprenticeship Pathways

With support from the Charles Koch Foundation, ACE developed new standards for determining college-level equivalencies and workplace competencies for apprenticeship programs in 2021, during the pilot phase of the ACE Apprenticeship Pathways initiative.

ACE is now actively evaluating apprenticeship programs and is also developing helpful resources for postsecondary education institutions, employers, learners, and providers of apprenticeship programs.

Learn more by visiting the ACE Apprenticeship Pathways page.

​​Learn More

ECMC Prior Learning Network

Supported by a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation, ACE is embarking on a two-year project to prepare students for the future by connecting them with flexible college pathways. ACE will launch a network of colleges and universities that guarantee acceptance of ACE credit​ recommendations from select providers.

Learn more by visiting the project page.

​​Learn More​​​
Former Initiatives

The Alternative Credit Project

ACE established the Alternative Credit Project​™ ​​(ACP) to encourage greater acceptance of adult learners’ alternative credit and create a more flexible pathway toward degree completion.

The project began in 2014 and grew to include 53 colleges and universities that guaranteed to accept all or some of the 104 ACE credit-recommended courses in the project that were offered by six participating nontraditional general education course providers. Colleges agreed to accept the courses for direct transfer credit toward a student’s degree program and share anonymized data with ACE on the ACP students’ retention, persistence, and success.

The ACP grant-funded project formally ended on March 31, 2018. Please refer to the final report for information about the key takeaways from this project. ACE is grateful to the institutions that participated in the project for their ongoing commitment to increasing access to quality education opportunities and postsecondary attainment. Many of the participants continue to articulate ACE credit recommendations.

Learners can also reference the ACE National Guide for updates on the credit recommendations for courses previously included in the ACP, as well as all ACE credit-recommended courses from employers and nontraditional providers.​​


​ACE Credit College & University Partnerships

The Credit College & University Partnerships network was established to provide a list of postsecondary institutions that had articulated polices for accepting prior learning for credit, including ACE credit recommendations.

Over time, the services provided to ACE postsecondary institutions have evolved to focus on smaller, more defined and transparent ecosystems with guaranteed credit acceptance pathways. ACE is grateful to these institutions for their commitment to increasing access to quality education opportunities and postsecondary attainment.

ACE will continue to provide online resources and tools to help institutions develop credit for prior learning policies.

 Learner Transfer Guide

ACE credit recommendations may be applied to both postsecondary credentials and employment opportunites. Learn how recommendations may be used in our learner transfer guide.

Learner Transfer Guide