I spent the last two days at the Non-Traditional No More meeting in Denver.  Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education, this WICHE-run project works with five states – Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota – to identify their “ready adult” population – those adults who are close to having enough credits to obtain a degree but have not yet returned to college.

The project has worked with institutions in the state to identify practices and policies that are barriers to students returning to complete their degrees.  There also was great attention to harvesting data from collegiate and other sources to find these students where they are now and to welcome them back to college. Each state reported on the great progress they have made:Non-Traditional No More project logo

  • Arkansas – developed a lottery-funded scholarship for adult learners and has teamed with Acxiom, Inc. to use their data systems to locate ready adults.
  • Colorado – Metro State College and the University of Colorado Boulder served as pilot institutions in welcoming students back.
  • Nevada – developed a “concierge” model for helping ready adults navigate the re-entry processes.
  • North Dakota – newer to the project, they have a statewide Adult Learners Council that expands interest in this issue across government and business constituencies.
  • South Dakota – developed a comprehensive set of data about ready adults and policies to assist this population, some of which have been enacted and some that are pending.

The NTNM website has much more links and information about state work to serve ‘ready adults’.

At this week’s meeting, participants heard from several states and organizations that had performed similar work or will help the states meet their goals.  Below are brief descriptions and links to those initiatives.


Know How to Go – the Kentucky Version
Part of the “Know How to Go” network, this Kentucky’s version of a portal informing potential college students on a variety of issues to prepare them for college.

KCTCS Online’s On Demand Modules

I’m very intrigued by this idea.  They are using on-demand, open-ended, open-exit, competency-based modules that are available at a distance.  Courses are run by ‘facilitators’ and students can take the exit exam to test out of the course.

Oklahoma College Start
The state’s official website that provides information about higher education in Oklahoma for students, counselors, and parents. It is designed to be the most comprehensive and current source for college planning for Oklahoma students, beginning as early as middle school.

Reach Higher Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s flexible, affordable way for adults to complete a degree program at a state institution.  With eight-week classes that are mostly online, students are not charged an admissions fee.

Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana
Serving both new and returning students, these courses are offered at a distance in four and eight-week modules.  State institutions have partnered to offer the programs and jointly market them.


Education Commission of the States
Getting Past Go

If you are looking for statistics, successful models, and strategies for improving your remedial education processes, Bruce Vandal and “Getting Past Go” is a good place to start.  If you have not figured it out yet, we are spending lots of money with poor results in remedial education.



Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Virtual Prior Learning Assessment Center

This November, CAEL will be piloting a new service that will offer a course on prior learning assessment to unaffiliated students.  As part of the course, students will create a portfolio that they can have assessed for a fee.  Institutions will decide to grant credit based upon this portfolio assessment.  The project is still looking for pilot institutions.  The

above link gives general information about prior learning assessment.  If you are interested in the Virtual Prior Learning Assessment Center (they are changing the name) or in having your institution serve as a pilot site, contact Judy Wertheim at jwertheim@cael.org.

Russ Poulin
Deputy Director, Research & Analysis
WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies


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