Valdosta State offers new program for adult learners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta State offers new program for adult learners

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - More than one million Georgians have earned some college credit without completing a degree program--that's twenty-two percent of the state's workforce.

Now, going back to school has become a realistic option for many.  Valdosta State University is leading efforts by the University System of Georgia to help adult learners earn their degrees by turning work experience into credit hours.

It's all done through the school's Prior Learning Assessment.

"Programs like Prior Learning Assessment will encourage adult learners to return to universities and maybe some of those who had started a college degree years earlier," says Sharn Gravett, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.  "They'll say, 'Oh! There may be some ways I can complete it.' "

The assessment gives academic credits based on a person's professional training, professional certificate programs, and military service.

Mark Smith, a retired Master Sgt. of the U.S. Air Force, is turning his military service into class credits at Valdosta State.

After working as a jet engine mechanic at Moody Air Force Base, he decided to go back to school.

"It was hard for me to find a job in the Valdosta area in aircraft maintenance," says Smith.  "I began to look at returning to school to be able to get a degree in something other than aircraft maintenance."

Thanks to the PLA, Smith will be able to pursue his dream of working as a child psychologist. "It's going to benefit me greatly because it will allow me to obtain credits so I can complete my degree program a lot sooner," says Smith.

Valdosta State hopes other adult learners will follow in Smith's footsteps, and realize their former goals of a college degree are not out of reach. 

To  find out more about Valdosta State's Prior Learning Assessment, log on to: http://www.valdosta.edu/pla/

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