Governor signs bill to ease college overcrowding
nEnables students to earn credit by exam
City News Service | 10/24/2013, midnight
(Sacramento)—Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill, AB 1025, authored by Assemblymember Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) designed to ease overcrowding and deal with the lack of access to core classes at California’s Community Colleges and at the Cal State system. It will take effect January 2014.
Currently, most campuses have a system of Credit By Exam (CBE) where students with prior learning can take the equivalent of a final exam, without the requirement of class attendance. If a student successfully passes the exam, they will receive credit for a completed course.
This measure requires the California Community Colleges and the California State University to provide information about CBE opportunities wherever course and class information is available. This information will now be required to be posted on a website or course catalogue, to inform students of the CBE testing option and an explanation of the process used to apply for testing. AB 1025 also requests the University of California comply with these same requirements.
“Today, with a 2000-to-1 student to counselor ratio in our Community College system, students aren’t being given clear information about the CBE option,” Garcia said. “At many schools even the professors are unaware that CBE is available on their campus. This law will inform students that CBE testing is available and this will help students formulate a better plan to graduate,” she added.
According to a recent research brief by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, underserved students who earn credit through prior learning assessments have faster course completion rates and would receive their degree in a shorter period of time. There is a financial savings benefit for low-income students who take and successfully pass credit by examination tests. The cost of having prior learning evaluated for credit is typically less than the cost of the tuition for the same number of credit hours.
“Due to severe funding cuts to higher education and fewer class offerings, I’m concerned that our students are getting lost in the system. Better informing them of their options to progress faster and complete courses is the goal of my legislation, and I think it will make a difference,” Garcia concluded.