Indiana State University Newsroom

Adult Career Education program to help working adults complete college

June 9, 2010

Indiana State University is making it easier for people who have completed some college but stopped short of graduating to earn a four-year degree.

The Adult Career Education (ACE) program targets persons 25 or older with approximately 60 hours of college credit or more. It awards a Bachelor of Science degree to those who complete the accelerated program that focuses on online courses and provides credit for college-level learning gained outside the classroom.

With more jobs requiring a four-year degree, ACE is designed to help Indiana residents advance in their current professions, change careers or prepare for an advanced degree. Students will have the flexibility to design a flexible, individualized approach to completing their degrees.

"More than ever, education holds the key to success in life. By helping more people complete a college degree, Indiana State University will be helping our state and nation be more competitive," said ISU president Dan Bradley. "The ACE program is just one way Indiana State is working to assist in economic recovery."

Students enrolled in the ACE program will take eight core courses offered in eight-week sessions. The courses focus on skills that are highly valued in the work place, such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, team building, communication and work-life integration, said Steve McCaskey, assistant professor of technology management and ACE program coordinator. The ACE program is being offered by the College of Technology but is open to those in any career field.

"The introductory course will help students customize their own unique educational program and identify potential credit from prior learning experiences," McCaskey said.

"I am excited that ISU has recognized the need of adult learners wishing to complete their undergraduate degree. This degree program satisfies those needs by offering accelerated coursework, accepting various forms of assessment of prior learning, and working one-on-one with an adviser to ensure their degree compliments their career and personal goals."

Jeff McNabb, associate dean of the College of Technology, said "the real appeal to this program will be the flexibility it offers students to design a course of study that really connects with their individual needs and interests."

Another advantage for students who enroll in the Adult Career Education major is the possibility of earning credit for prior learning, which could include military training, non-collegiate sponsored training, proficiency exams, and work experiences.

Census figures show more than 54 million American workers have some college credit but lack a degree. A 2008 report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education found those with a bachelor's degree can increase their annual earning potential by more than $17,000 over a person with some college but no degree.

The ACE program is consistent with Indiana State's strategic plan that calls for the university to expand its community engagement efforts and ensure more students complete four-year degrees, Bradley noted. It also reflects a key Higher Education Commission initiative to increase the number of Hoosiers with college degrees and President Obama's goal for the United States to have the world's largest share of college graduates by 2020, he said.

ACE is not a new program but rather represents a major revision to the College of Technology's longstanding Career and Technical Education curriculum. The revised program is multidisciplinary and offers classes from all of Indiana State's five undergraduate colleges. Students must earn a minimum of 124 credit hours to graduate. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-478-7003.

Contact: Jeff McNabb, associate dean, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-237-2987 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or



Story Highlights

The Bachelor of Science in Adult Career Education targets persons 25 or older with about 60 hours of college credit. It awards a degree to those who complete an accelerated online program and provides credit for learning outside the classroom.

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