SOA -- College Credit for Exams

I guess they’re doing it as a fait accompli.

the official press release:
https://www.soa.org/resources/announcements/press-releases/2021/2021-modernized-education-system/

via email:

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is excited to share with you details about the first program in our new ground-breaking, modernized, and modularized education system empowering candidates with choices and alternatives within the actuarial pathway.

The University-Earned Credit (UEC) program is the first component of this transformative approach to roll out over the next few months. The UEC program allows very strong students to earn credit for certain SOA exams by meeting course and exam requirements at participating universities who qualify as Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE). The courses and exams must meet standards established and monitored by the SOA.

Members can be confident the UEC program will meet all the quality checks and rigorous requirements that you expect of SOA exams. The value and relevance of your education and career achievements are the core of the SOA’s mission and vision. We recognize the value you hold in your credentials – that is and will always be the SOA’s main strategic focus and top of our minds.
Case for Change

Every day, actuaries analyze more data than ever before and manage the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of risk. Major changes are affecting our profession, from modern technologies and shifting demographics to the globalization of business and the need to foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive profession.

We studied the accelerating trends changing our environment and impacting our work and studies as actuaries. We identified the following six critical issues through this strategic effort:


These issues are driving us to innovate and design, develop, and deploy modularized education pathways that offer new options and opportunities for students , candidates, and employers. Making these changes is critical to the ongoing relevance of actuarial education and credentials and to the future success of our candidates and members.

Also critical to the future success of actuaries is having 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. 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 these skills and through the UEC program will be asking participating universities to do the same. University and college-level coursework is well-equipped to grow AQ and EQ skills with team projects, case studies, and data analysis.
New Modernized Education System and UEC

This summer , we will announce the details of a modernized and modularized education approach , the first phases of which are targeted to launch this fall with the remainder staged over the course of the next year. This new platform will empower candidates to tailor their education goals and provide them with recognition of achievements of knowledge and skills throughout the SOA’s education pathway and before a candidate reaches the level of ASA or FSA.

The first component of this suite of success strategies is the UEC program , which uses a comprehensive accreditation process to recognize qualified CAE universities’ actuarial-related courses. The UEC program will enable students who are enrolled in bachelor or graduate degree programs at approved CAE universities and who participate in that school’s actuarial science program the ability to earn credit for specific SOA exams after receiving a required score in courses that cover that exam’s syllabus.

The SOA will continue to maintain and offer our current exams as that will be the main pathway for most candidates.

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 crediting programs and 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 qualifying coursework. 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.

Some of the preliminary exams will be eligible, such as FM and SRM, but exam P will remain an SOA-administered exam. More information will be included in the second announcement in June with more detail of our new modernized and modularized curriculum.

As part of the SOA’s ongoing efforts to address the need for greater diversity within the actuarial profession, plans are underway to extend the UEC program to select universities serving underrepresented groups. Details will be forthcoming regarding this important initiative.

Finally, we want to assure members, employers, and candidates that despite these changes, the SOA’s examination pathway will remain a strong and principal means of attaining an SOA credential. We will continue to offer all the examinations required for our pathway in all parts of the world where we have candidates interested in pursuing our credentials.
Your Credentials/Your Feedback

You may have questions and, if so, we invite you to join volunteer and staff leadership for a live webinar and Q&A . This webinar will be recorded and made available on soa.org. Please send your questions and comments to membercomms@soa.org anytime.

UEC Webinar

Monday, May 24, 2021

1:00 p.m. CT

Save My Seat!

UEC Webinar

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

8:00 AM GMT+8

Save My Seat!

Best regards,

Roy Goldman, Ph.D., FSA, MAAA, CERA

President, Society of Actuaries

Greg Heidrich

Chief Executive Officer, Society of Actuaries

Surprised that “kids don’t want to take exams these days” and “some of our influential professors in the SOA want more students at the schools where they work” weren’t “critical issues.”
Yes, I’m cynical. Just following the money.

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They’ve wanted to do this for decades, and opposing this drove my vote in the last election. Others were claiming this was a dead cause, and we shouldn’t not vote for someone just because they favored UEC.

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reddit thread:

This has to be frustrating for the colleges that have comparable courses for P/FM as the CAE schools but are not CAE-qualified because they don’t offer upper levels classes covering the more advanced materials like STAM/LTAM. It’s creating a distinction that shouldn’t necessarily be there.

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In scanning the list I see penn state is on it. I know of several penn state grads who couldn’t pass exams. So now they will just be handed ASA?

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I dont know how someone could be more tone deaf. Diversity by giving advantages to select/expensive universities does not make sense. This is as bad as launching a diversity initiative and then simultaneously raising the price of exams. What a joke. “Keep the poors out” SOA probably.

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I sent them the following email:

Congrats on making this a fait accompli, I guess. I will leave it to others to get huffy over the college credits for exams. Plenty people will likely do so.

It was this other part that I have questions about:

As part of the SOA’s ongoing efforts to address the need for greater diversity within the actuarial profession, plans are underway to extend the UEC program to select universities serving underrepresented groups. Details will be forthcoming regarding this important initiative.

I was wondering if y’all were looking at Historically Black Colleges and Universities?

I’d really like to hear more about this. I have family & friends who went to HBCUs, and I recall proposing this some years ago to various SOA leaders.

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I am glad to hear that my FSA credentials are being watered down.

Why stop at UEC? Let’s press that ASA designation into the palms of high schoolers too with some HSEC (High School-Earned Credit)

This is absolutely retarded. If I would have known voting actually had an impact on important shit like this I would have voted to keep this clowned face joker out.

Also this post will get zero visibility since it is not in the sandbox. RIP SOA. RIP AO

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If I hear that those losers who couldn’t pass actuarial exams from Penn State are suddenly ASA after all these years, I’m gonna be so pissed off.

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There are still minorities at these select universities who may join the field if they can get exam exemptions.
Much like how subprime lending standards increased mortgage approval rates across all racial groups, this, too, will increase actuarial candidates across all racial groups.

I think this new program will increase diversity in the field.

ASA is pretty much toilet paper status, and it seems the SOA plans to use the ASA primarily for pimping diversity numbers in their annual reports.

ASA distribution:

  • 50% whites
  • 25% Asian
  • 25% Non-Asian minority

FSA distribution:

  • 75% whites
  • 24% Asian
  • 1% non-Asian minority

Credentialed Actuaries (Both ASA and FSA):

  • 60% white
  • 25% Asian
  • 15% non-Asian minority

Just look at that 15% figure. Wouldn’t you say that’s a huge PR win for the SOA to claim they now have 15% credentialed non-Asians?
No use complaining about this. Society demands diversity, so the SOA is giving society what it wants.

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FSA is not being watered down, only ASA.

Going forward, ASA will be a ceremonial position with the sole intent of pimping diversity figures in the SOA’s annual reports.

Promoting this thread:

This is absurd. Membership has protested this repeatedly. Why won’t they give this up? I don’t like paying dues to an organization that seeks to devalue my credential.

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Super. Not sure why I even bothered to get ASA in that case. Not planning on FSA.

Also kind of disagree that this is not watering down fsa. FSA’s had to pass the exams for ASA first. This shot guns people who went to the right schools ahead in that regard. They already have an advantage being spoon fed the material. Let them prove it by passing asa exams.

Part of the reason I stopped at ASA was because I was sick of exams and too damn old for it. Had I gone to one of those schools FSA exams would be the starting point

Because society values diversity. Since the BLM movement, a lot of focus has been on black and, to a lesser extent, brown representation in prestigious levels of society. The SOA will receive a ton of backlash if current credentialed demographics doesn’t improve.

The government is very scary when it comes to proportional racial representation in finances, academia and professional societies. When blacks and Hispanics were being denied $900k mortgages due to poor credit scores and low incomes, the government sued the banks and forced them to lower lending standards for everyone. The Democrats celebrated higher mortgage rates for black and brown people and sacrificed the entire economy for it, so that should tell you that to society and government, diversity is the most important thing and they will risk the entire financial system and play with people’s lives if it means getting more diversity.

The government is also the one that gives SOA and CAS the authorization to credential who they want. If the government doesn’t see any improvements in black and brown representation, they can sue both societies or create their own credentialing process. What would you say if getting a fellowship consisted of passing 1 exam with a 95% passrate? That’s what the government can do if the SOA and CAS continue to piss them off.

Right now, the actuarial societies are in a good spot, because society doesn’t know the distinction between an ASA and an FSA. The SOA is making the best decision it can by sacrificing standards for the ASA and preserving standards for the FSA. The FSA may continue to see lop-sided racial demographics, but the ASA will have a lot more URMs, which will keep society and the government quiet.

One thing I’m concerned about is if some ASA who went to a CAE signs off on something and tanks a large financial institution. We’ll have to wait and see. The last time we lowered standards for diversity, the entire financial system collapsed.

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They’re probably going to add more exams to the FSA track. The ASA credential is being sacrificed to protect the FSA credential.

Do not blame the SOA. Society demands diversity, so the SOA is giving it to them.

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that’s it, i’m voting republican! fuck this

If it’s anything like Canadian, they set the marks high enough that arguably accreditation is tougher than passing exams. There’s lots of folks who can pass exams and not reach the marks required for accreditation.
The only benefit imo of the Canadian system is if one finds it easier to get 80s on two or three courses than to pass one big SOA exam. And that’s reaching.

One example, an 82 on one course and a 78 on another where accreditation requires an 80 on both doesnt let u skip an exam. Getting 80s across the board without exception is tougher than it sounds. I bet most Fsa’s wouldn’t have received all their credits under the current Canadian system.

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