A new way of expanding educational opportunities for all youth

Credit-for-learning programs, also known in some communities as extended learning opportunities (ELOs), are revolutionizing the way youth learn. By participating in these programs, youth are able to earn credit by participating in student-centered, engaging, hands-on learning opportunities outside of their regular classes.

Afterschool and summer learning programs can play a critical role in both providing and supporting credit-for-learning opportunities. Successful credit-for-learning programs incorporate student voice and choice, often through strong community-school partnerships, areas in which afterschool and summer learning programs excel. From earning STEM credits in a boat-building class to learning the art of filmmaking from a local industry professional, youth are able to dive deeply into their interests and explore potential career paths, while earning credit in their afterschool or summer learning program.

Interested in bringing credit-for-learning programs to your community? The resources in this toolkit will help you advocate for these opportunities with key policy makers at both the state and local level.

Talking points

These talking points will help you raise awareness of credit-for-learning programs with your local community.

Building a State Campaign

A state campaign for credit-for-learning opportunities can help educate state policymakers and other key individuals about the benefits of these programs, resulting in laws or regulations that allow their implementation. This resource will walk you through elements of creating a successful state campaign.

Potential funding resources

There are a variety of funding sources that can be used to support credit-for-learning programs. This list offers suggestions on funding sources that may be available to your community.

To learn more about the research behind credit-for-learning programs, best practices, and how credit-for-learning programs are making a difference for their students today, check out our issue brief, "Credit for Learning: Making Learning Outside of School Count."

Credit for Learning: Making Learning Outside of School Count (Nov 2021)

Creating new and engaging learning opportunities for middle and high school students can help them find their inspiration, gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom, and play an active role in designing their own learning journey to reach their full potential. This issue brief, complemented by in-depth afterschool program profiles, explores the ways in which afterschool programs can provide older youth with opportunities to explore their interests and participate in activities that also allow them to earn credits toward their graduation requirements. Read the issue brief.