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You may be able to earn credit for what you already know and have accomplished.
Our students come to us with a vast array of work experience and training, and we recognize that not all learning has resulted from traditional classroom attendance. Our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program provides students with the opportunity to earn credit for learning outside the confines of a traditional classroom.
The PLA portfolio program might be right for you if you have developed college- or graduate-level knowledge, skills, and abilities, and are able to demonstrate that these skills meet the learning objectives of an academic course. This prior learning may be a result of your:
A study by the Lumina Foundation revealed that students who participate in PLA programs are more likely to persist and graduate. PLA provides many benefits to students because it may:
You are eligible to participate in the PLA program if you meet these requirements:
Note: Independent study courses and the senior seminar are not eligible for PLA.
To be awarded credit for prior learning, you must be able to demonstrate that you have met the learning objectives required in a university academic course. This is done by creating a portfolio.
Your prior learning portfolio is a collection of materials or artifacts compiled to demonstrate previous college-level learning relevant to your academic degree plan. A portfolio consists of multiple required components. Each component plays a role in demonstrating mastery of course objectives. The components that make up a portfolio include:
View your academic plan or search our course schedule to view syllabi for individual courses.
You must submit a separate portfolio for each course where you seek to petition for credit. Some components of your original portfolio may be used in multiple submissions. We strongly encourage you to work on one portfolio at a time, as this allows you to use feedback from the initial portfolio to inform the development of additional portfolios.
If you are accepted into the undergraduate PLA program, you must enroll in COLL200, which is a mandatory 8-week, 3-credit-hour elective course designed to help you think and write about your prior experience in terms of the learning that resulted.
The COLL200 course provides specific exercises to assist you in the identification of individual prior learning that may be credit-worthy. Upon completion of the course, you will have developed one PLA portfolio.
You are only required to participate in COLL200 once, but can submit more than one portfolio for evaluation upon successful completion of the course. The review of the first portfolio is done as part of the course tuition, and there is a $250 fee for the submission of each additional portfolio. Submitting additional portfolios may save you money because each portfolio submission costs $250, which is 2/3 less than the cost of tuition for a 3-credit-hour course. Note: The $250 portfolio review fee is non-refundable even if the review does not result in the award of academic credit.
Graduate students are required to participate in a no-cost/no-credit workshop that will assist you in the identification of individual prior learning that may be credit-worthy. You will work through a variety of exercises to analyze your experiences in terms of learning and to develop the various portfolio components.
This self-paced workshop can be completed independently in about 4 weeks. Throughout the workshop, a PLA team member provides feedback on assignments and portfolio components. You will complete the portfolio by the end of the workshop, though final editing of it might take a bit longer. The fee to submit a graduate level portfolio for review is $325, which is about 2/3 less than the cost of tuition for a 3-credt-hour graduate course. Note: The $325 portfolio review fee is non-refundable even if the review does not result in the award of academic credit.
Credit petitioned via PLA must be for a specific university course within your academic program, but cannot be applied toward seminar, capstone, and/or independent study courses. The university awards credit for college-level/graduate level learning that can be assessed and documented. Credit is awarded for learning, not experience. Evidence is critical for a successful portfolio. Your prior learning must be:
PLA credits are considered "non-traditional" transfer credits. Accrediting guidelines limit the amount of non-traditional credit applied toward degree completion as follows:
Credit for the Prior Learning course - COLL200 will be applied to elective credits with a letter grade. Credit received for prior learning will be posted to the academic transcript in fulfillment for the course petitioned as PLA credit and counted toward transfer credit limits. There is no letter grade assigned and it is not factored into the GPA. Note: PLA credit awarded cannot duplicate previously awarded credit.
If you are an undergraduate student, please take this quick PLA self-assessment quiz to determine if the PLA program is right for you. The PLA office will review the self-assessment and your academic plan. If it is determined that you are eligible to participate in the PLA program, you will be asked to provide supplemental information and receive feedback.
Graduate students must be approved by the PLA team to participate in the program. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request application instructions.
For more information, please contact the staff of the Prior Learning Assessment office at email@example.com or visit our student Help Center.