To the Editors:
I recently read “A Recommendation to ‘Reset,’ Not ‘Fix,’ Broken Transfer System,” by Doug Lederman, and was astounded by the exclusion of the College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) by name in the Tackling Transfer Advisory Board’s full report. As a nationally recognized program capable of helping learners earn credit for prior knowledge or through courses, CLEP should be central to conversations around all relevant learning and the transfer experience for students.
There are over 2,900 colleges and universities that accept a passing CLEP score as transfer credit, including many institutions where the advisory board members are employed: Arizona State University, University of Texas, Austin, University of South Carolina Upstate and The Ohio State University. As of July 1, 2021, 21 states have state- or system-wide CLEP policies that help ensure qualified students consistently receive credit. Recognizing CLEP allows for an additional opportunity of earning credit for all types of learners, including military-affiliated students.
Yes, it is true that transferring credit can be complicated and fixing the broken system is a daunting task. But why not learn lessons from an established, 50+-year-old solution already in place? CLEP is a viable option for students, including those most impacted by a challenging transfer process. With CLEP exams, students easily earn college credit, saving them both time and money. In fact, a 2016 study showed that students who received credits through a prior-learning assessment, such as CLEP, were more likely to complete their degrees than students who did not.
As the article notes, the four-year on-campus experience and linear path to a college degree are no longer reality for many students. It’s time we embrace and promote alternate ways to earning college credit. It is no easy feat prioritizing education while navigating financial challenges, family obligations and bringing home a paycheck. Let’s not make it more difficult than it needs to be; CLEP is the answer.
It is my hope as the advisory board members and their peers at other institutions of higher education work to “reset” the transfer process, they will commit to improving and making students aware of their CLEP policies.
Executive director, Modern States