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Outdoor and Experiential Education Program Partnerships

Center for Learning and Innovation

Outdoor and Experiential Education Program Partnerships

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Earn credit while participating in valuable learning opportunities.

Western Colorado University’s Center for Learning and Innovation program has developed partnerships with quality outdoor wilderness education and other experiential education programs to offer college credit.

The Center for Learning and Innovation offers students the opportunity to earn credit while participating in valuable learning opportunities provided by our contract partners through field expeditions and cultural exploration, as well as through leadership training and various certifications.

How it Works

Outdoor adventures

Kenzie Bode climbs up fixed ropes on rock climbing day.

How it Works

How to enroll in the Outdoor and Experiential Education Program Partnerships.

If you are planning to enroll in a course and would like to earn college credit, please complete the Outdoor Programs Application Request to receive your credit registration packet. Please note: Summer registration won’t open until April 3, 2023 with our new online registration system. Fall registration will open on May 1, 2023.

Credit Registration Process

Beginning Summer 2022, tuition for WCU Academic credit is $170 per credit hour.

  1. Register for the outdoor program course you plan to attend.
  2. If registered for NOLS Expedition or Outward Bound, please complete the corresponding “Credit Registration Form” linked above. If you registered for another Outdoor Program, please complete our Online Application Request Form and we will email the corresponding academic credit registration packet for your outdoor program.
  3. The credit registration form must be completed and submitted to outdoorprograms@western.edu at least 30 days prior to your course start date.
  4. Once Western receives your Credit Registration Packet, you will receive an email from Western with instructions on next steps.
  5. Western will then verify your enrollment for the course you are registering for academic credit for with your program. Please allow 2-3 business days for Western to receive verification from the program.
  6. Once enrollment is verified, you will receive a registration confirmation email that contains your WCU bill with your total balance due, and if applicable, assignment prompt and instructions, due at the end of your course.
  7. When you receive your invoice, initiate payment to Western. Payment methods include out-of-pocket (Personal CC/Check), 529 funds and/or AmeriCorps funds.
  8. Please indicate on your credit registration packet to Western what payment method you will be using and if you would like to be billed for the program course fee as well.
  9. The registration process is considered complete once your funding has been received and processed.
    • If applicable, any funds being processed for your program course fee will be sent to the program the following week of being received at Western.
    • You will receive a “Paid in Full” email and updated invoice showing funds as received by Western and when funds were sent to the program for you.

Payment Process

*Payment is due in full before the course begins*

  1. Out-of-Pocket Funds (Personal CC/Check)
    1. CC: Once you receive your invoice for balance due from Western’s Center for Learning and Innovation Office, please call the Western Cashier’s Office at (970) 943 -3003, Monday through Friday, 9AM – 4PM (MST).
    2. Check: Payable to. Western Colorado University, and sent to:
      1. Western Colorado University
        Taylor 303
        1 Western Way
        Gunnison, CO 81231
  1. AmeriCorps Vouchers
    1. Once you receive your invoice for balance due from Western’s Center for Learning and Innovation Office, log on to your AmeriCorps portal and submit an educational voucher to “Western State Colorado University” in the amount that is listed on the invoice.
    2. Once Western receives your AmeriCorps award request, we will review your voucher and authorize it to be certified and processed for your balance due at Western.
    3. This process can take 7 business days for the award to be received by Western and processed to your account at Western.
    4. Your award will change from “Pending Institution Action” to “Accepted by Institution” once your award is processed by Western.
  2. 529/Educational Savings Plans
    1. Once you receive your invoice for balance due from Western’s Center for Learning and Innovation Office, initiate funds to be released from your 529 plan account to Western Colorado University in the amount that is listed on the invoice.
    2. Make sure you know how to request a withdrawal of funds from your account. Talk to your Financial Advisor if you have specific questions about your account.
    3. Some accounts will send a check directly from the account to Western, some disperse funds to the requester, and some will wire funds directly to Western if requested.
  3. Private Student Loans

*Please note, this is not financial aid. FAFSA and government loans are not available through the Center for Learning and Innovation for outdoor program courses.

  1. Once you have submitted your credit registration packet to Western and received an invoice back for total balance due, please have your loan sent to Western Colorado University.
  1. AmeriCorps Reimbursements
    1. If you are paying for your course and credit with AmeriCorps funding through Western, you may have the opportunity to be reimbursed for required expenses related to your outdoor programs course. All expenses must be verifiable and auditable as eligible current educational expenses, and Western may only certify AmeriCorps funds directly related to educational expenses. Eligible expenses include: course and credit fees, books, supplies and equipment, approved travel and lodging expenses to and from courses that are not included within the program course fee billed in initial the tuition and academic credit fee. Personal expense reimbursement requests for relocation, alcohol, entertainment or any item not required for your course are not eligible expenses and will not be approved.
  2. Complete your course and receive a letter grade of a “C” or above or a passing grade of “S”.
    1. If you receive a grade lower than a C, your AmeriCorps reimbursement request will not be processed.
  3. Request an AmeriCorps Reimbursement Request Form from outdoorprograms@western.edu.
  4. Submit your reimbursement request form within 30 days of your course end date to outdoorprograms@western.edu as a PDF or Word document.
    1. If your reimbursement request is submitted later than 30 days after your course ending, it will not be processed.
    2. If your AmeriCorps award has expired before the amount as been certified by Western, your reimbursement will not be able to be processed by Western.
    3. Your reimbursement request can be submitted before your course begins if you have all expenses and receipts listed on the packet and will not be adding any other expenses later.
    4. Be sure you have saved all receipts for expenses you are requesting reimbursement for. Receipts must be itemized, clearly numbered and show paid transactions.
    5. Attach numbered receipts to your reimbursement packet as PDF or Word documents.
    6. Include the equipment/packing list that was provided to you from your program.
    7. There is a $25 processing fee for all reimbursement requests that are at least $100.00.
  5. Western will review and process your reimbursement request.
  6. Once a grade is received for your academic credits you received on your course, Western will send you an email confirming your approved amount for reimbursement. Log into your AmeriCorps account and send Western a voucher for the approved amount.
  7. Western will review and process your award you have submitted. Once certified, Western will verify a current mailing address to send your refund via check to.

Receipts for Expense Reimbursement Policies

  • Students must depart and return from their home address as stated on original registration forms.
  • Students are expected to travel to and from courses in a reasonable time frame surrounding their course (1-2 days on either end of the course).
  • Car rental receipts must clearly show dates in a reasonable time frame surrounding course.
  • Gasoline receipts that show dates and locations along a route directly to the course location and back from the student’s home address on file with our office. Please submit a screenshot of your route along with your gas receipts.
  • Air ticket receipts must clearly show dates in a reasonable time frame surrounding course.
  • Baggage fees will be approved with paid receipt.
  • Daily transport services to and from course venue (such as light rail or bus) during course dates are reimbursable with valid receipts showing dates and locations.
  • Lodging and meals while traveling to and from a course from home address on original course registration forms are reimbursable with valid receipts showing dates and locations along travel route and within 1-2 days of course beginning and course end.
  • Total meal reimbursement per day may not exceed the domestic (CONUS) per diem rates as regulated by Western in compliance with the State of Colorado Travel Fiscal Rule.
  • Be sure alcohol is not listed on your itemized receipts from hotels or eating establishments. (Request a separate receipt from your server for any alcoholic beverages.)
  • Students must provide a written explanation of their personal travel circumstances at the same time the reimbursement request packet is submitted.
  • Students must detail where they are traveling from, their final destination and the reasons.
  • When this information has been provided, Western will review and determine what a reasonable round-trip ticket would cost from the student’s home address in a reasonable time frame surrounding the course. The cost of this ticket (if less than actual ticket purchased), is the adjusted amount that will be approved.

  1. Please refer to your Western credit registration packet and/or your Western “Registration Confirmation” email to determine if you are required to submit an assignment as a portion of your grade for academic credit(s).
    1. If your credit registration packet or “Registration Confirmation” email does not include assignment prompts or details, no assignment is needed as a portion of your grade and your program will provide Western with your grade at the end of your course to be posted on your Western transcript.
  2. In your “Registration Confirmation” email from Western, along with an invoice and policy information, the email will include your assignment prompt, details and due date (if applicable).
  3. Please submit completed assignments in a Microsoft Word or PDF format to outdoorprograms@western.eduby your assignment due date.
    1. If your assignment is turned in after your assignment due date, 1 percent will be deducted from your final grade for every day it is late.
    2. Due date extensions are only granted for confirmed extenuating circumstances.
    3. An extension request must be submitted in writing to the Center for Learning and Innovation Office before the original coursework due date and be accompanied by documentation of the reason for the request.
    4. If a portion of the students grade for academic credits is from an Instructor Evaluation, Western can only accept evaluations from the program directly. The program will send the evaluation to Western directly at least 15 business days from the course end date.
    5. Once Western receives the students’ completed assignment by the due date (and evaluation from the program) those documents will be graded by Western faculty.
      1. Faculty have 15 business days to grade the assignment and evaluation provided for the student and submit a grade to be posted on the student’s Western transcript for the academic credit(s).
    6. Once a grade is posted to the student’s Western transcript, Western’s Center for Learning and Innovation Office will email the student notifying them of their grade being available to view.
      1. Do not order a transcript before you have received notification of your grade being posted to your transcript
    7. To order a transcript go to www.getmytranscript.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

The only fees associated with Western are your Western credit costs.

Contact your 529. The most common ways 529 plans send funds are:

  1. Sending a check directly to Western
  2. Directly depositing the funds directly into your account
  3. Reimbursing you once you have paid out of pocket
    1. If your 529 will reimburse you, pay your program and Western separately.

Once the student’s enrollment is verified, you will receive a “Total Due” invoice. Once payment is received and the student is registered, you will receive a “Paid in Full” invoice.

Once the student’s enrollment is verified, you will receive an invoice that will include the student ID.

Western certifies vouchers once a week. Once you are registered and your voucher is certified that note will disappear.

No. Reimbursements are only processed once your course is complete and Western receives your grade back as a “C” or above or an “S.”

Please refer to Section B in the Credit Registration Packet. The number of credits correlates with the number of days your course runs.

Please refer to our registration tab for more information on our registration process.

Please refer to your registration confirmation email. Your due date is included within that confirmation email.

Please refer to your registration confirmation email. Your assignment was included as an attachment. If you cannot find your registration confirmation email, please email outdoorprograms@western.edu.

No. If you were kicked off a course by a course instructor, you will receive a TF on your permanent transcripts and will not be reimbursed for any credit costs.

Email outdoorprograms@western.edu immediately to inform us of your course cancelation. If you fail to notify the Center for Learning and Innovation Office directly of any course cancelation, course transfer or withdrawal from a course in progress, you will receive an automatic TF on your transcripts.

Students must notify Center for Learning and Innovation Studies a minimum of 10 business days before their course begins of any credit registration cancellation, credit registration changes, NOLS course cancellation or NOLS course transfer. Non-attendance does NOT constitute cancellation through Western. Registration and assignments may not be changed once student is on course. At no time may credit registration changes take place after course has ended. In the event of a course transfer, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Center for Learning and Innovation Office directly and submit new registration forms for the new course. Failure to update credit registration for a new NOLS course will result in a TF in the original course and no credit will be issued for the new course. AmeriCorps funding that has been processed may only be transferred for a new course within the same term. A $50 processing fee will be assessed for cancels, transfers and credit changes.

There is a possibility of you earning some of the credits you registered for. Please send an email to outdoorprograms@western.edu explaining your situation as soon as you return from your course. If our office is not informed of your early departure within 1 or 2 days of your return home, the possibility of earning partial credit lessens. Our outdoor program staff will review your email and decide how many credits you are eligible for based on how long you were on course, as well as on instructor evaluation(s) received for the time you were on course. We cannot reimburse students for credits that are not earned.

Once a student has attended a NOLS course, they are considered enrolled. Enrolled students who are unable to complete a course for reasons beyond the student’s control (e.g., illness/injury) should notify Western Center for Learning and Innovation in writing within a week of departure from a course and send documentation of the situation. The Center for Learning and Innovation will verify student status and date of departure with the NOLS office. For a grade of Incomplete (IN) to be recorded, the student must have attended 50 percent or more of the course. The student and the Instructor of Record must agree upon a plan for the completion of their assignment within a time period not to exceed one month from original course date end. If the work is not completed, the IN will revert to a Technical Fail (TF). For a Withdrawal (W) on the permanent transcript or a complete credit drop to be processed, the percentage of course attended will be calculated by Center for Learning and Innovation to find which range is allowed according to the Registrar’s policies. Failure to notify the Center for Learning and Innovation of departure during the course date range will result in an automatic Technical Fail (TF) on the student’s permanent transcript. There is no refund of credit cost for an Incomplete, Withdrawal or Drop once a student is enrolled. The Center for Learning and Innovation must be notified in writing a minimum of 10 days prior to my course starting of any credit registration cancellation. Students will not be refunded the cost of credits and I will be subject to a $50 fee if notification requirements are not met.

Students must notify the Center for Learning and Innovation a minimum of two business days before their course begins. Registration cannot be changed once a student is on course or the course has ended. A $50 cancellation fee will be assessed to the students account.

You must notify the Center for Learning and Innovation immediately of your course transfer. Along with an email to the Center for Learning and Innovation you will need to fill out a new Credit Registration Packet. A $50 fee will be assessed to the students account.

Please visit to Papers, Grades and Transcripts tab for more information.

Department Information

Center for Learning and Innovation


Shelley Jansen

Director of the Center for Learning and Innovation

Contact Information




8am - 5pm

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Taylor Hall 303
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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