PLA Academic Policy

Policy No. 2:01:00:00 – Credit for Prior Learning

CSCC recognizes that in addition to formal classroom instruction, there are alternate methods of learning. In order to assist students to progress through the curriculum and meet program requirements expeditiously and with the least amount of redundancy, the College encourages students to demonstrate acquired learning and competencies through any of the following methods: external examinations, college proficiency examinations, credit for military experience/training, credit for prior learning/portfolio assessment, and institutional course challenge exams. In each case, academic credit is awarded upon demonstration of proficiencies specified in the official course syllabus. The Enrollment Services Office is responsible for coordinating the review of this type of alternate credit and posting it to the student’s permanent record. The definitions and limitations of these alternate methods of earning academic credit are as follows:

1. General Limitations

    1. Credit is awarded only for documented learning which demonstrates achievement of all outcomes for specific courses in an approved degree and/or certificate program being pursued by the student.
    2. Credit is awarded only to degree or certificate seeking students who are matriculated within the college.
    3. A maximum of 50% of the total hours required for a student’s program of study may be earned through any combination of Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). In all cases a student must earn 25% of hours required for a credential in instruction delivered by the institution awarding the credential. PLA credit will not count toward this 25% minimum.
    4. Credit may not duplicate credit already awarded or replace a failing grade.
    5. Credit does not apply toward meeting residency requirements for graduation.
    6. Though available to students pursuing an associate of arts or associate of science degree, such credit is not designed for these University Parallel emphases, as senior institutions vary widely in their awarding of credit.

2. Credit by External Examination – College credit may be awarded to students presenting acceptable scores earned for approved examinations available through the following testing programs:

    1. American College Testing Program (ACT)
    2. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
    3. College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    4. Advanced Placement Program (AP)
    5. DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
    6. NOCTI
    7. International Baccalaureate (IB)
    8. Cambridge International Exam
    9. Certified Professional Secretary/Certified Administrative Professional (CPS/CAP)
    10. Professional licensures or industry certifications will be considered for PLA for specifically related degrees or certificates. Credit earned by external examination will be identified on the transcript by the specific examination and a grade of “TP” (pass), which will not be calculated in the GPA.

3. Credit for Military Experience/Training
​When awarding credit to students who are veterans or military service members, Cleveland State will reference the Joint Services Transcript (JST), DD-214 and/or transcripts from the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS), Community College of Air Force (CCAF), and Coast Guard Institute (CGI). The institution will use the American Council of Education (ACE) for awarding credit for military experience, educations, and/or training obtained during military experience. The recognized procedures include:

    1. If military experience, education, and/or training are equivalent to a course that fulfills a general education or degree program requirement, the course credit will count towards graduation. Otherwise, appropriate course credit will be granted for elective credit.
    2. Should credit not be captured through ACE recommendations, Cleveland State will offer veterans and service members an opportunity for prior learning assessment via another recognized mechanism.
    3. Cleveland State will provide veteran and military service members relevant information on awarding college credit for military education, experience, and/or training.
    4. Cleveland State will maintain a set of institutional policies on the awarding of academic credit for military experience within their undergraduate catalog. The policies will include a description of the procedure for removing excessive hours applied to transcripts, which may affect student eligibility for financial aid.
    5. Any veteran or military member who has proof of current or prior military service may apply for a Prior Learning Assessment Fee Waiver. This waiver is only available with qualifying proof of military service and may be used to waive institutional fees associated with Prior Learning Assessment.

4. Credit for Prior Learning/Portfolio
Degree or certificate seeking enrolled students may request consideration of credit for prior learning/portfolio. Credit is reserved for well-documented existing knowledge and competencies that cannot be readily assessed for credit through external exams, such as AP, CLEP, and examinations administered by the college, such as Proficiency Examinations and are awarded only to matriculated students. Credit for Prior Learning/Portfolio will be noted on the transcript as Credit for Prior Learning and a grade of “TP” (pass), which will not be calculated in the GPA.

    1. Institutional Course Challenge Exams
      Course Challenge Exams may be developed by academic programs, where no other form of PLA exam exists, that assess competencies outlined in the particular course syllabus. Credit for Institutional Course Challenge Exams will be noted on the transcript as Credit for Prior Learning and a grade of “TP” (pass), which will not be calculated in the GPA.
    2. Dual Credit
      A dual credit course is taught by a high school teacher who incorporates college course objectives into the high school curriculum. Upon course completion, students have the option to sit for an assessment administered by the college. For the college, dual credit grades are based on pass/fail. If the student successfully completes the end-of-course exam, college credit is awarded. Credit by assessment grades may or may not transfer to other institutions; the grade is accepted by Cleveland State and applied to the student’s transcript after the census date of their first semester of enrollment. Dual credit students are not required to apply for admission to Cleveland State until after high school graduation; therefore, no tuition or fees are paid for dual credit as the student does not officially register for a course.
    3. Transferability of Prior Learning Assessment Credit
      Credit based on Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) awarded at another TBR institution will be accepted in transfer and applied toward the student’s degree in the same way that any other type of transfer credit is accepted.

Source: ClSCC Catalog and TBR Policy 2:01:00:04 and TBR Guideline A-030
Revised: PLA Taskforce 9/29/14. Curriculum and Academic Standards 1/13/94, 11/8/12, 10/16/14 and 3/22/18. Approved by President’s Cabinet 11/27/12 and 10/28/2014.