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Heartland Community College

Heartland partners with Lincoln College to expand Prior Learning Assessment credit

June 15, 2021

Heartland Community College (HCC) and Lincoln College have signed a new articulation agreement, announcing a partnership that grants HCC students and alumni the ability to complete their bachelor’s degree through the Lincoln College Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) Program. The agreement also articulates a pathway for employees of State Farm® to transfer prior learning assessment (PLA) credits awarded by Heartland for their training programs into the baccalaureate degree program at Lincoln College.

Heartland Community College (HCC) has formalized Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit for State Farm Custom Care Center (CCC) employees. The credit recognizes learning that is completed outside of the classroom and can allow a student to enroll in more advanced courses without some prerequisites. Lincoln College will accept PLA credit toward a bachelor’s degree for transfer students, ensuring a smooth transition from HCC to Lincoln College for students utilizing PLA credit.

State Farm will facilitate their CCC employees in requesting the PLA credit from Heartland. As with any PLA credit, State Farm CCC students must provide documentation demonstrating learning equivalent to the outcomes of the course.

“These free college credits for State Farm CCC employees are a win-win,” said Steve Florence, CCC assistant vice president. “After meeting eligibility criteria, employees may earn college credits for training they took while working. This saves them time and money and can jump-start their college career.

“State Farm can better attract and retain employees. We Carle for these employee's educational and professional development. The result is a pool of candidates primed for future promotions as well as degree completion.”

PLA credit will apply toward an Associate of Arts (AA) degree at Heartland, which represents the first two years of study for students pursing a bachelor’s degree.

“Heartland recognizes student learning gained both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Rick Pearce, HCC Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We know that in some instances, such as with military training, on-the-job learning translates into what we would consider as transferable credit. Other PLA is developed on a case-by-case basis. This agreement with State Farm establishes an assessment processes to apply workplace skills and training directly toward a student’s academic pathway.”

Heartland Community College graduates can transfer into bachelor degree programs in Organizational Leadership, Business Management, Criminal Justice, Health Services Administration, Liberal Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Supply Chain & Logistics Management to Lincoln College’s Normal Campus or into one of the twelve degree programs offered at the Lincoln Campus.

"We are very pleased to have Heartland Community College as an ongoing education partner,” Lincoln College President David Gerlach said. “We are confident this will be an excellent option for many students, including State Farm employees looking to complete their degree.”

The Accelerated Bridge to Education program is designed for adult learners and is offered on the Lincoln College campus in Normal; on the main Lincoln College campus in Lincoln; on the Illinois Valley Community College campus in Oglesby; on the campus of Illinois Central College in Peoria. The State Farm Foundation helps support lifelong learners by providing a grant to Lincoln College  for student scholarships.  

Students take one five-week course at a time, which combines classroom instruction with online learning that is equivalent to a traditional full semester course. Nine start dates are offered each year, giving adult students greater flexibility to balance their class load with their work and personal schedules.

To be admitted to the 5-week ABE Program, students are required to be at least 22 years of age, have a minimum of two years of post-high school, full-time employment, and have a cumulative grade point average of a 2.00 from all previous institutions attended. Any student who has earned an associate’s degree from Heartland shall automatically be admitted into the ABE Program based in Normal or into the traditional program at the Lincoln campus.

Written by: Steve Fast