Members of the Society of Actuaries have shown keen interest in a proposal to let students substitute strong grades in accredited actuarial courses for taking some SOA credentialing exams.

The SOA, Schaumburg, Ill., is working with two other actuarial groups – the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Ottawa, Ontario, and the Casualty Actuarial Society, Arlington, Va. — to review a number of ideas for improving the credentialing process in the United States and Canada.

The SOA, the CIA and the CAS are talking about creating a university actuarial program accreditation process to support development of the academic track alternative to some of the actuarial exams now used.

Exemptions from exams would be given only to “students who perform exceptionally well in designated courses,” S. Michael McLaughlin, president-elect of the SOA, writes in a letter to SOA members.

During a formal member comment period on the proposal that ended Sept. 10, members of the SOA, the CIA and CAS have sent 1,000 letters commenting on the proposed changes, McLaughlin writes.

“Please know that we sincerely appreciate your thoughts and will be reviewing them carefully,” McLaughlin writes. “It’s important to know that [the proposal] is still very much in the exploration phase; it is not at a decision stage.”

A formal proposal would not be completed until February 2010, and it would be “well into 2010″ before the SOA board could contemplate a recommendation, McLaughlin writes.

No decision on the proposal will be made at the SOA board meeting, which is set to begin Oct. 24, and the meeting will feature a session the proposal, McLaughlin writes.