Policy No. 2:01:00:00


SUBJECT:  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, and life experience credit. 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. 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 “P” (pass), which will not be calculated in the GPA.
  3. Credit for Military Experience/Training
    ​CSCC awards credit taken on a non-credit basis in the following case:
    1. Documented military training courses as indicated by the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces, American Council on Education.
  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 “P” (pass), which will not be calculated in the GPA.
  5. 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 upon admission to the college. Dual credit students do not apply for admission to Cleveland State until after high school graduation; therefore, no tuition or fees are paid as the student does not officially register for a course.


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 and 10/16/14.  Approved by President’s Cabinet 11/27/12 and 10/28/2014.