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University-Earned Credit (UEC) FAQs

General Questions

  • What is the University-Earned Credit (UEC) program?
    • The UEC program allows very strong students to earn credit for certain SOA exams by meeting course and exam requirements at approved universities that have previously qualified as Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE). The courses and exams must meet standards established and monitored by the SOA.
    • The UEC program enables students who are enrolled in bachelor or graduate degree programs at approved CAE universities and participate in that university’s actuarial science program to earn credit for specific SOA exams after receiving required scores in courses that cover that exam’s syllabus.
    • The UEC program is thorough and intensive with oversight from the CAE Evaluation Committee and the new UEC Oversight Committee.
    • CAE universities with CAE status for two (2) years, who meet all accreditation requirements, may apply for UEC.
  • What are the benefits of the UEC program?
    • The UEC program empowers students with flexible choices and alternatives within the actuarial pathway. It is the first component of the SOA’s modernized and modularized education system.
    • The UEC program is designed to maintain and at times raise the high standards for earning SOA exam credit. Participating CAE universities may need to adjust their courses and exams to meet the new requirements established by the UEC program, in addition to continuing to meet all CAE criteria.
    • Accelerating trends changing our environment and impacting our work and studies as actuaries are driving us to innovate and design, develop, and deploy modernized education pathways. UEC offers new options and opportunities for students, candidates, and employers.
    • The ability to adapt and learn during a period of ongoing, rapid change, as well as having the social and emotional skills needed to make good judgments, convincing arguments, and to understand the intricacies of communication is critical to the future success of actuaries. These skills, often referred to as an individual’s Adaptability Quotient (AQ) and Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence (EQ) have been repeatedly identified by employers and our members as highly valuable skills essential for actuaries to lead in a world driven by data science and AI.
      • We are shifting more of our education and testing toward AQ and EQ skills and the UEC program will be expecting participating universities to do the same. University-level coursework is well-equipped to grow AQ and EQ skills with team projects, case studies, and data analyses.
  • Which universities are eligible for UEC?
    • CAE universities with CAE status for two (2) years, who meet all evaluation requirements may apply for UEC.
    • The UEC program enables students who are enrolled in bachelor or graduate degree programs at approved CAE universities and participate in that university’s actuarial science program to earn credit for specific SOA exams after receiving required scores in courses that cover that exam’s syllabus.
  • How will the SOA guarantee UEC credit is the same as passing an SOA exam?
    • The UEC evaluation process is thorough and intensive with oversight from the CAE Evaluation Committee and the new UEC Oversight Committee. We recognize the essential need to ensure quality and testing integrity throughout our examination and credentialing programs. We will apply the same rigorous standards to this process that we apply to all of our current examinations.
    • The UEC program is designed to maintain and at times raise the high standards for earning exam credit. Participating CAE universities may need to adjust their courses and exams to meet the new requirements established by the UEC program, in addition to continuing to meet all CAE criteria.
  • How can the SOA equate university courses to exams?
    • This UEC program will meet all the quality and rigor requirements that members expect of SOA exams. Additional quality checks and rigorous requirements are provided by:
      • An oversight committee of SOA members who have no conflicts of interest with the universities.
      • An External Examiner (EE) for each university who is an SOA member with no conflict of interest.
      • External scrutiny of the course content to ensure that it covers the exam syllabus and at an appropriate level.
      • The mark required to earn exam credit meets or exceeds that of an exam-passing candidate and the mark is consistently applied across universities.
  • When does UEC go into effect?
    • UEC approved courses would begin at any approved CAE universities in the 3rd quarter of 2022.
  • Why does this program apply to only CAE universities?
    • As the UEC program will demand a high academic standard, universities meeting the CAE program criteria provide the ideal foundation for success.
    • Each CAE university must meet eight specific criteria. These relate to offering an actuarial degree or concentration, strong curriculum coverage of SOA exams, a minimum graduate count, faculty composition that includes credentialed actuaries, a demonstration of high-quality graduates, appropriate integration with other areas of study including business and communication courses, connection to industry, and faculty actuarial research and professional involvement.
    • CAE universities provide an actuarial learning community with connections to industry, internship opportunities and job prospects, actuarial speakers on campus and actuarial club activities that offer leadership opportunities.
    • CAE universities include skill building for their students through teamwork and project activities, as well as through courses in business and communication.
  • How is the SOA reviewing and evaluating the courses?
    • The UEC evaluation process is thorough and intensive with oversight from the CAE Evaluation Committee and the new UEC Oversight Committee.
    • CAE must meet course coverage and administration requirements for a minimum number of exams.
    • CAE must have at least one SOA member actuary (ASA or FSA) on the faculty who will serve as the CAE’s Accreditation Actuary. This faculty member will work closely with an External Examiner in reviewing coursework, syllabi, and exams.
    • UEC course(s) must have coverage of at least 85% of the related exam’s learning objectives with alternative material making up the difference.
    • A high percentage of the grading points for each UEC course must be based on proctored examinations.
    • The final exam for the UEC course must be cumulative (covering material from throughout the course) and be worth a minimum percentage of the grading points for the course.
    • No more than two courses may be used to cover a given exam.
    • If the same course is taught by more than one faculty member at a university, all sections must follow all UEC requirements.
    • In addition to the above course/exam requirements, CAEs applying for UEC must demonstrate that skills related to Adaptability Quotient (AQ) and Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) are appropriately incorporated and assessed across the program. More information will be provided on this aspect, but it is anticipated that this would include a focus on the skills needed to communicate effectively to non-technical audiences, to influence decision-makers and to manage ambiguity and uncertainty in actuarial work.
  • How is the SOA ensuring academic integrity?
    • The same rigorous standards we apply to all of our examinations will apply to the UEC program to ensure quality and testing integrity throughout all our examination and credentialing programs.
    • Testing guidelines must be followed when administering course exams to students in UEC courses. These guidelines will be similar to those the SOA has historically used for the administration of exams and highlight protocols such as spacing between students and use of additional proctors when student numbers are higher.
  • Why is the SOA not offering the UEC for exam P?
    • Probability courses are not typically under the control of the actuarial department at universities. In addition, Exam P serves as a screening device for both employers and candidates on future exam success.
  • Are there other programs like UEC?
    • Other actuarial organizations have been successfully running programs like this for decades.

CAE Universities

  • Do we need to adjust our coursework to be eligible for UEC?
    • Yes, CAE universities may need to adjust their courses and exams to allow candidates to qualify for exam credit. As part of this program, the CAE must meet all requirements set by the CAE Evaluation Committee and new UEC Oversight Committee.
  • What is the process for a CAE to apply for this UEC program?
    • CAE universities will have time to evaluate the program to determine if they want to apply. The UEC program is optional. Non-participation does not impact current or future CAE designation. Application materials for the first UEC review cycle will be made available in July of 2021 for an October 15 application deadline.
  • What is the application time period?
    • A tentative timetable for the first review cycle is provided here. Dates are subject to change. Subsequent review cycles will be held annually on a similar timetable.

2021

May 31

Initial expressions of interest due from CAE

July 16

Application and guidelines available on SOA.org

October 15

Application deadline (with all required documentation)

December 15

Universities notified regarding selection for a site visit

2022

January - April

Site visits held

 By May 31

UEC approval decisions communicated

August

Review and confirmation of exams for any approved courses beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2022

2023

Early 2023

Candidates receiving the required mark for UEC courses in 2022 may apply for exam credit if it is the final course needed for that credit.

  • Can all CAE universities apply?
    • CAE universities with CAE status for two (2) years, who meet all evaluation requirements may apply for UEC.
  • Is there a fee for CAE universities to apply for UEC?
    • There are no fees for a qualifying CAE to apply for the UEC program.
    • If a site visit is granted an administrative fee will apply at that time.

Candidates/Students

  • How can I apply for UEC?
    • The UEC program will enable students who are enrolled in bachelor or graduate degree programs at approved CAE universities and who participate in that university’s actuarial science program to earn credit for specific SOA exams after receiving a required score in approved courses that cover that exam’s syllabus.
    • UEC approved courses will begin at any approved CAE universities in the 3rd quarter of 2022.
  • When applying for UEC credit, what are the fees for candidates?
    • Eligible students who meet or exceed the required mark in a UEC approved course(s) pay a fee equal to the fee for the corresponding exam. Candidate applications for UEC credit must be submitted within two years of completing the final required courses.
    • Students are also eligible for student discounts on the UEC fee.
  • Does the UEC program increase travel-time to ASA designation?
    • In fact, it could shorten travel-time for candidates in UEC-accredited CAE universities.
  • Will UEC be retroactive?
    • Future eligible students at UEC approved universities have potential to earn UEC without additional assessment. UEC approved courses will begin at any approved CAE universities in the 3rd quarter of 2022.
  • How will UEC benefit me when applying for a job or internship?
    • The program helps meet the needs of today’s candidates and employers while maintaining the highest standards to achieving the ASA and FSA designations.
    • UEC will help eligible candidates attain exam credit earlier in their time at university. That credit can be added to their resumés when looking for internships or jobs.
    • It provides more education in critical skills – such as EQ/AQ – by building more material into the university’s curriculum, assessments, and activities.
  • Will the existing SOA exams continue to be offered?
    • SOA’s examination pathway remains a strong and principal means of attaining an SOA credential.
    • We will continue to offer all the exams required for our pathway in all parts of the world where candidates are interested in pursuing the SOA’s credentials.
  • What if I don’t attend a CAE university with the UEC program?
    • All candidates, whether they attend a CAE university or not, have the ability to take the SOA exams.
    • The SOA will continue to offer all the exams required for the ASA and FSA pathways in all parts of the world where candidates are interested in pursuing the SOA’s credentials.

Members

  • Will the existing SOA exams continue to be offered?
    • SOA’s examination pathway remains a strong and principal means of attaining an SOA credential.
    • We will continue to offer all the exams required for our pathway in all parts of the world where candidates are interested in pursuing the SOA’s credentials.
  • How does the UEC program impact the value of my credential?
    • The value and relevance of our members’ and candidates’ education and career achievements are the core of the SOA’s mission and vision.
    • We recognize the value our stakeholders hold in SOA’s credentials – that is and will always be the SOA’s main strategic focus and top of our minds.
    • The UEC program will meet all the quality checks and rigorous requirements that you expect of SOA exams.
    • The SOA will ensure the mark required to earn the exam credit meets or exceeds that of an exam-passing candidate and that the mark is consistently applied across universities.
  • Why have you selected CAE universities for the UEC?
    • As the UEC program will demand a high academic standard, universities meeting the CAE program criteria provide the ideal foundation for success.
    • Each CAE university must meet eight specific criteria. These relate to offering an actuarial degree or concentration, strong curriculum coverage of SOA exams, a minimum graduate count, faculty composition that includes credentialed actuaries, a demonstration of high-quality graduates, appropriate integration with other areas of study including business and communication courses, connection to industry, and faculty actuarial research and professional involvement.
    • CAE universities provide an actuarial learning community with connections to industry, internship opportunities and job prospects, actuarial speakers on campus and actuarial club activities that offer leadership opportunities.
    • CAE universities include skill building for their students through teamwork and project activities, as well as through courses in business and communication.