Ranger College to be part of pilot program aimed at helping adults obtain degrees

Ranger College - Stephenville

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by Tommy Wells, Public Information Officer for Ranger College

RANGER – Think you’re too old to get that college degree? Think too much time has passed for you to get back into the classroom?

Think again.

Ranger College officials announced recently they would be part of the state-wide Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) program designed to allow older Texans who have acquired skills through hands-on experience to convert their experience into college hours that can lead to an undergraduate degree or a certificate – and, ultimately, higher paying positions. Ranger College is one of approximately eight community colleges in the state to help kick off the LearningCounts program this fall.

“This is really thinking outside the box,” said Ranger College Dean of Administration Cherie Beltran. “We think it is really a good program that will allow individuals with work experience to get farther along with their degrees.”

As part of LearningCounts, adults who have extensive experience in a field can submit a portfolio of their experiences to CAEL instructors, who, in turn, can credit the student with college credit based on their level of expertise. Students can earn up to 25 percent of the hours needed to receive a degree or certificate through CAEL. Students can enroll in on-line classes through the Virtual College of Texas and work toward receiving a degree from the college.

The Virtual College of Texas is a service of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and works to provide the CAEL program through LearningCounts.

“I think it can help people who have work experience,” said Beltran. “This is another avenue for them to continue their education.”

LearningCounts is designed to help students with skills gained through experience in the workforce to convert their knowledge into college hours. Experiential learning allows students to receive college credit for equivalent educational experiences acquired through earlier schooling situations, work/on-the-job training or life experiences.

Upon enrolling in Ranger College, a student may petition for a review of their experiential learning experiences. Experiential learning credits may be earned through a portfolio assessment through enrollment in an existing section of a course and development of an individualized plan for participation and testing based on the instructor’s evaluation of skill and experience levels.

Students enrolling in the program will have to meet several requirements, including being able to write at the college level, having taken an online class previously, and having several years of professional experience. Students will also need access to a computer connected to the Internet for at least 8 weeks, and the ability to access and upload work products and/or certificates that will enable the college to verify the skills they obtained outside of the classroom.

No graduation, residency, degree or certificate program requirements will be waived as a result of credits earned through this process, Ranger College officials noted.

For more information about CAEL or the LearningCounts program contact Beltran at Ranger College via e-mail at cbeltran@rangercollege.edu or via telephone at (254) 647-3234. Information is also available on-line at www.learningcounts.org.

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