Success from the session: Governor signs key higher ed bill supporting working-age adults
Although unaccompanied by any public fanfare or ceremony, a bill that will help more working-age adult students enroll in college and complete their post-secondary credentials was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Saturday.
The bill, HB 12-1072 ("Higher Ed Prior Learning Assessments"), was one of several pieces of legislation that resulted from work over the summer and fall by the legislatively established Educational Success Task Force. The bill requires Colorado's public post-secondary institutions to adopt programs for granting academic credit for students' prior college-level learning gained outside of the classroom through employment, military service or independent study.
The Bell Policy Center strongly supported HB 1072. In our testimonies before the House and Senate Education Committees, we stressed that granting credit for prior learning encourages more working-age adults to pursue post-secondary credentials, increases student persistence and completion, and supports the development of the skilled workforce necessary for our state's economic competitiveness.
Research clearly shows that adults who are granted college credit for prior learning have strikingly better academic outcomes than those who are not granted such credit, including significantly higher completion rates. Additionally, given the fact that two-thirds of the people who will be in our state's workforce in the year 2025 are already working adults today, Colorado simply cannot meet its post-secondary credential completion goals or fill its future workforce needs without helping more adult college students succeed.
We thank the governor for signing this important bill and the bipartisan legislative sponsors – Reps. Tom Massey and Rhonda Fields, Sens. Bob Bacon and Keith King – for carrying it.