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LaGuardia Community College Launches an Innovative
Effort to Re-Engage Former College Students
Featuring Degree Credit for Workplace Learning, Debt Relief, The Initiative is the Only One of Its Kind in CUNY
A $1 Million Grant from Robin Hood Will Support the Newly Created Office of Credit for Prior Learning
Long Island City (February 23, 2022)–LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams today unveiled the Credits for Success Initiative, an innovative effort to encourage working-age New Yorkers with some college but no degree to resume their education. Through the initiative, the only one of its kind in the CUNY system, former college students enrolling at LaGuardia will be able to earn degree credits for knowledge and skills acquired outside the classroom. Former CUNY students also may be eligible to have outstanding tuition and fee balances forgiven.
Nearly 700,000 working-age New Yorkers, most of them Hispanic and Black, started college and earned some credits, but did not complete the course requirements for a degree. The Credits for Success Initiative will recognize knowledge they gained from workplace experience, including military service, earning an industry credential and standardized exams, among other avenues for earning degree credit.
Supported by a $1 million grant from Robin Hood, the initiative will be led by the newly created Office of Credit for Prior Learning. Funding for student debt relief will be provided by the LaGuardia Community College Foundation. “With the job market continuing to trend toward a higher-skilled workforce, a college degree is more central to success in the workplace than ever before,” President Adams said. “For an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic that genuinely lifts all of our communities, it is imperative that we re-engage former students and get them on the path to college completion and career success.
“For their support of this critical initiative,” President Adams added, “I want to thank Robin Hood and the LaGuardia Community College Foundation.”
“A college degree is a proven pathway to career growth and economic mobility, yet New Yorkers from underserved communities face persistent barriers to degree attainment,” said Robin Hood’s CEO, Richard R. Buery, Jr. “Robin Hood is proud to support this landmark effort from CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College to remove common barriers that prevent so many from realizing their dreams of completing college.”
In its report Building an Inclusive Economy in NYC: Boosting College Attainment, the Center for An Urban Future analyzed Census data and found that:
- • 678,871 working-age residents across New York City—14.3 percent of all New Yorkers between 25 and 64—have some college, but no degree.
- • This includes roughly 220,000 Hispanic New Yorkers, 210,00 Black residents, 170,000 white residents, and 61,000 Asian residents.
- • 21 percent of working-age Black New Yorkers have some college, but no degree, compared with 17 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers, 11 percent of white New Yorkers, and 8 percent of Asian New Yorkers.
The college will award credit for knowledge and skills acquired in the workplace, in the military and through non-college trainings, in accordance with new policies adopted by CUNY.
In awarding degree credits, the newly created Office of Credit for Prior Learning will apply academically rigorous assessment methods to these four areas of experience:
Military Training: The Joint Services Transcript is an academically accepted document that validates a service member’s occupational experience and formal military training along with the corresponding American Council on Education college credit recommendations.
Standardized Exams: Students will be awarded credit for meeting the scoring threshold on these exams: Advanced Placement; Advanced International Certificate of Education; College-Level Examination Program; Defense Language Proficiency Test; DANTES Subject Standardized Tests; and International Baccalaureate.
Industry Credentials: Credit will be awarded for licenses, certifications and training that have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) or by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). The college will also evaluate other trainings and credentials.
Portfolio Assessment: Credit will be awarded for prior learning demonstrated through the development of a portfolio evaluated by the college’s new Office of Credit for Prior Learning. The portfolio process enables students to document their learning in the workplace, community work, self-study and personal experiences.
“This initiative will enable us to reach out to student populations who heretofore may not have considered coming to LaGuardia or back to college at all,” Provost Paul Arcario said.
Developed by LaGuardia’s Vice President for Adult and Continuing Education, Sunil Gupta, in close collaboration with Academic Affairs leadership and faculty member, Dr. Janice Karlen-Pollack, the Credits for Success Initiative will focus on developing partnerships with community-based organizations to create awareness of the initiative and establish a referral pipeline.
“This formalized collaborative relationship with CBO partners will enable their constituents to connect to a valuable resource, assessment for college credit, which can potentially accelerate a student’s trajectory towards the critical metric of time to college completion or transfer,” Vice President Gupta said. “We will proactively be reaching out to community-based organizations to take an inventory of their workforce training programs in order to codify where degree credit can be awarded.”
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LaGuardia Community College, located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle, Dare to Do More, reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become.