Georgia Colleges Employ New Strategy to Help Boost Completion Rates

May 11, 2013

Georgia has one of the nation’s lowest college completion rates. According to national data, in 2009, just 47% of the state’s college students graduated from a four-year school. Now some schools are trying to boost rates by reaching out to adult learners.

Prior Learning Assessment programs give students credit for college-level learning acquired through previous school or work experience. Judy Wertheim, the Vice President of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, cites a recent Council study of more than 60,000 adult students.


“For those who did apply the Prior Learning Assessment credit, 56% of those people graduated, compared to 21% of those who did not apply PLA credit,” Wertheim says. 


The Council recognized Valdosta State University for launching Georgia’s first PLA program. Dr. Jerry Merwin directs VSU’s adult and military programs. He says there are several ways students can earn PLA credit.


“If the person has knowledge, but we can’t determine from a transcript or a test what they’ve learned, then we can help them compile a portfolio,” Merwin says. 


Now 13 Georgia colleges offer PLA credit.