Greenville University Blogs

One Step Closer to Finishing your Degree: Prior Learning Assessment

2019_common_day_learning_29Did you know that students at Greenville University can earn credit through avenues other than courses? This is known as the Prior Learning Assessment or PLA. Students with prior learning, experiences, or knowledge could be eligible to earn college credit for additional education they received before coming to college. In more specific terms, “Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process whereby learning you have acquired since high school and have not had transcripted by a college is evaluated to determine whether it is comparable with what is taught in college and, if so, is recognized by the award of college credit.” PLA is an incredible opportunity for students looking to complete their degree. 

There are four categories of learning experiences that could earn a student credit:


ben-mullins-oXV3bzR7jxI-unsplash1. Proficiency Examinations

Several organizations offer proficiency exams, but the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program in the United States is the College Level Examination Program. The CLEP helps students earn college credit for the knowledge they already possess. 3-12 credits can be obtained for each exam taken, as long as the student meets the test score requirement. 

2. Professional Training Programs

Students can also obtain college credit from training conducted by military professionals, corporations, or government agencies. GU will honor any program evaluated for credit by The American Council on Education (ACE) or the Council on Post-secondary Accreditation (COPA). If either of these organizations does not accredit the program, faculty advisors evaluate the training program on a case-by-case basis. 

3. Licenses and Certifications

Licenses and certifications are seen as an equal level of learning as a college course and count as college credit. As long as there is no overlap with other subject matter on the student’s transcript, these credits will transfer. Some licenses and certifications that have already been approved include basic corrections officer, cosmetology license, and certified professional secretary. 

2018_elementary_school_404. Credit by Local Assessment

Sometimes a learning experience cannot be proved by providing documentation. This does not mean that college credit cannot be given for that learning experience. Credit by local assessment can be given for things such as locally created proficiency exams, individually constructed examination, presentations, recordings, and demonstrations.

Up to 60 hours of college credit can be earned through PLA! There are advising and evaluating fees that come with transferring the credits. However, the small fees are worth the possible credits that can be earned! Call 618.664.6751 or e-mail onlinegu@greenville.edu to speak with an admissions counselor today.