What is Credit for Prior Learning?
Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is the process of awarding a student credit for competency in subject matter that has been achieved through previous academic study or occupational experience. This may include, but is not limited to, credit for external advanced placement such as the Advanced Placement Program (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB), credit for non-traditional professional certifications, credit for educational/training programs (military, industry, state and federal government), Portfolio Development and Assessment, and credit for Cambridge Advanced (A/AS) examinations with scores of C or better.
Credit for Prior Learning policies at Virginia Western are consistent with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) principles and with Virginia Community College System (VCCS) policy.
Virginia Western Community College may award credit for the following competencies:
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- Credit by Credentials
- Previous College Transfer Credit
- Credit-by-Exam (Challenge Exam)
- Military Training
- Portfolio Development and Assessment
- Previous Completion
Important Facts About CPL
- To apply for Prior Learning credit, a student must be admitted to VWCC and be placed in a program of study
- CPL credit cannot fulfill the 25% residency requirement needed to graduate in a program
- CPL credit will be listed on the student’s transcript as transfer courses and will not affect the GPA
- CPL credit will appear as equivalent courses or elective courses for which credit is earned
- Financial Aid cannot be used to pay for prior learning
- CPL credits will be acknowledged and recorded on the student’s record with the transferring agency or other source of credit identified
Although Prior Learning credit may satisfy VWCC curricular requirements, it will not necessarily transfer to another institution. Students desiring to transfer advanced standing credit should contact their four-year college of interest to determine its policy. The student or advisor can also refer to the list of articulation agreements listed on Virginia Western’s website.
Programs or Credentials Evaluated by Virginia Western
Several training programs and credentials have been pre-approved for Virginia Western credit, including:
- Certified Administrative Professional
- Early Childhood Development
- First Aid and CPR
- Police Academy Certificates–VA DCJS
- Manufacturing Skills Institute; MT1
- OSHA Certification
- Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program Level 1
For related forms visit the VWCC Forms Library at this link.
Process for Virginia Western Evaluated Programs or Credentials
The student must provide credential documentation (license, certificate, etc.) or a sealed copy of transcripts directly to the Records Office in Chapman Hall. Because each program’s requirements may differ, please verify with the department dean or program head to determine the acceptable form of credential documentation (original, copy, fax, etc.).
In a survey of public and private 2 and 4 year institutions, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL, April 2011) found the following to be true:
- Students who received Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credits were more than twice as likely to graduate
- 56% of students who received PLA credits went on to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, compared to 21% of those with no PLA credit
- Employers are recognizing the benefit of PLA to help employees gain higher education, thus adding value to the company
Licenses & Attributions
© September 2015 by Northern Virginia Community College.
CC LICENSED CONTENT, ORIGINAL
College Credit through Prior Learning Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
CC LICENSED CONTENT, SHARED PREVIOUSLY
PLA Advising Guide is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
This guide was developed under the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s (SCHEV)
College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) from the U. S. Department of Education.
Contents do not necessarily represent endorsement by the federal government.