From left, Johnelle Welsh, CTC dean – Student Services; Tina Ady, CTC deputy chancellor – U.S. Campus Operations; receive the PLA Best in Practices award from Diane Tompkins, coordinator - Prior Learning Assessment PLA Portal Project.

Central Texas College was recently recognized as a leader among colleges offering students college credit for military training and experience. The Prior Learning Assessment Military Best Practice Institution in Texas award was recently presented to CTC by Diane Tompkins and Tricia Thomas-Anderson of Eastfield Community College The award is funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board through a Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement grant.

“The PLA Portal Project sought to recognize a Texas institution of higher education for innovative model development and enhancement to evaluate and award veteran students credit for military training, experience and prior learning,” said Tompkins, coordinator of the Prior Learning Assessment Portal Project. “While other colleges and universities had impressive prior learning assessment military practices, Central Texas College rated the overall highest score of those we reviewed.”

CTC was cited for ease and accessibility of its programs awarding military credit — Fast Forward and College Credit for Heroes — and the effectiveness of both programs Initiated last summer, Fast Forward offers students a cursory credit review of military training. It not only provides an immediate idea of potential evaluated credit, but also allows prospective students to see how that credit would apply to any of CTC’s degrees and certificates and gives students a personalized tuition-cost calculator which can help them determine an estimated cost to complete their degree plan Fast Forward also allows students to do a live job search for employment opportunities in their area based on their chosen degree plan and will allow students to build or submit their resume online.

The CTC College Credit for Heroes website was launched in 2012 as part of the Texas Workforce Commission’s College Credit for Heroes program. Students can search the College Credit for Heroes databases for recommended college credits that may be awarded for military occupations, military courses, Community College of the Air Force courses and designated nationally recognized examinations (CLEP, DANTES and Excelsior).

On the website, students can request an official evaluation of their military experience and training through the program and may request an unofficial evaluation before initiating the formal process if they have a copy of their military transcripts. They can also request a transcript of awarded credits be sent to a participating Texas college of their choice, check the status of an evaluation and/or transcript request and upload, view and download military evaluation results and related documents.

The PLA Portal Project for Prior Learning Assessment was designed by an administrative team at Eastfield College in partnership with the North Texas Community College Consortium and Texas A&M University-Commerce. Its goal is to increase the capacity of post-secondary institutions in Texas to provide innovative assessment options in awarding college credit toward programs of study for prior career or military training and experiential learning. To date, the project has provided training for personnel at more than 50 colleges and universities throughout the state of Texas in the areas of professional development for competency-based education and prior learning assessment.

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