Enroll in our Sunday school and become a college graduate.”

Preposterous. Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Nontraditional ways to acquire college credits or a degree are growing in number and variety. The most familiar ones are extension, correspondence, and evening courses. Some newer developments, though, suggest the possibility of providing college-level training through Sunday school and other church organizations.

• Every year colleges grant credit or degrees to thousands of adults who make satisfactory scores on the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. Where, when, and how recipients acquired their knowledge is not a consideration.

• Courses for credit are offered in such unusual off-campus settings as railroad commuter cars, office buildings, factories, and union halls.

• Many colleges cooperate with social institutions, business and industry, government agencies, and the armed forces in tailoring degree programs to the special needs of these groups.

Participants in nontraditional college programs are primarily adults who are unable or unwilling to attend fulltime on-campus courses because of other responsibilities. The likeliest participants are those with some previous college experience. In 1971, 12 million persons over the age of twenty-two had one to three years of college education. Each year a greater percentage of high school graduates enter college. Generally, fewer than half of those who enter graduate with their entering class. Most of those who drop out would like to finish college someday.

Another group of potential participants in nontraditional education are the 15 million college graduates over twenty-five. Many are interested in continuing their education, to earn other credentials or just for intellectual ...

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