ECMC Foundation Grant for Prior Learning Network

About the Project

​​​​​ACE has received a two-year grant from the ECMC Foundation to help empower motivated learners to achieve their college and career goals. Building on its long legacy of validating and recognizing prior learning, ACE will create a network of colleges and universities that guarantee acceptance of ACE credit recommendations to connect learners with flexible college pathways.

Completing a college degree remains one of the most impactful steps someone can take to gain economic mobility and career opportunities. Sixty-five percent of jobs require postsecondary education, yet there are still 36 million working adults who never completed a degree, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and Workforce. Adult learners face many challenges in attaining degrees, from time and cost considerations to child and family obligations. These have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit for prior learning (CPL) from workplace training or professional certifications can save learners time and money. Additionally, research shows that learners who have CPL are far more likely to complete a degree. Credential completion was 22 percentage points higher for adult students with CPL than those without it, according to research by CAEL​. But while many colleges recognize CPL, many learners don't know how to access the credits that would help them complete a college degree.

ACE will address this challenge by creating an innovative network that connects learners to colleges that will guarantee acceptance of credit for prior learning and provide greater transparency about learners’ possible college pathways. This program, like the ACE Apprenticeship Pathways program, builds on ACE’s years of experience with credit for prior learning networks and will also provide information and processes to streamline course review, helping colleges act and evaluate prior learning more easily.

This grant-funded network is a pilot project with an expected launch date in 2022.

Supporting Learners, Employers, and Postsecondary Education Institutions

This network will address current challenges for the three stakeholders of learning evaluations: adult learners, employers and training providers, and postsecondary education institutions. Learners will gain an unprecedented level of clarity and personalized access to possible degree pathways available, institutions will be able to contribute to research and will have access to new and informational data, and employers and training providers will be better able to track the results of their learning programs.

Learners: Learners who have completed courses or exams reviewed by ACE Learning Evaluations (formerly CREDIT®) will be able to:

  • Access and see which institutions will accept and guarantee college credits for their prior learning
  • Learn how many credits they will receive and view educational insights about college degree pathways tailored for them
  • Access time and money savings estimates
  • Invite colleges to contact them

Postsecondary Education Institutions:
Joining this network presents many unique opportunities for colleges and universities interested in taking a leadership role in helping adult learners achieve their educational goals. Colleges will have the opportunity to:

  • Reach and recruit thousands of dedicated, hardworking, and motivated adult learners
  • Access data and tools to support enrollment goals
  • Join a network of innovative higher education institutions with a shared vision of taking action to support educational and employment opportunity for post-traditional learners

Employers and Training Providers:
This network will be yet another way that ACE is enhancing the value of our training providers’ courses and credentials by connecting them to higher education opportunities. Employers and training providers that receive ACE credit recommendations and participate in the credentialing program will have the opportunity to:​

  • Enhance the value of their trainings by connecting learners to colleges that will guarantee credits for their credentials
  • Save on tuition assistance
  • Simplify the course articulation process with colleges
  • Access learner outcomes and training ROI
  • Connect more of their learners to college pathways and help equip them for the future


Fall 2020: ECMC grant begins and network pilot launches.

Spring 2021: Recruit founding members.

Summer–Fall 2021: Conduct research, test engagement practices, begin building network.

Spring 2022: Increase learner and college engagement opportunities.

Spring–Summer 2022: Public launch of network.

​Fall 2022: Finalize operating model, evaluate outcomes, publish learnings, and share best practices.​

About Learning Evaluations

ACE's Learning Evaluations seeks to improve the economic mobility of independent learners by connecting traditional and nontraditional educational experiences to meaningful degree and employment opportunities. ACE has been dedicated to lifelong learning for more than 100 years through the contribution of research, alternative education resources, validated learning and evaluations, quality assurance, and thought leadership in the area of credit for prior learning.


​Contact Us

Have questions about the ECMC Foundation grant? Please contact ACE Learning Evaluations at