BP 9-42 – Prior Learning Assessment Credit

State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education

BP 9-42

APPROVED: June 14, 1990
EFFECTIVE: June 14, 1990
REVISED: June 10, 1999
REPEALED: September 14, 2000
READOPTED: August 25, 2001
REVISED: February 11, 2015


/Richard E. Martinez Jr./
Mr. Richard E. Martinez Jr., Chair


The State Board recognizes the value of prior learning in the achievement of academic goals. It is the policy of the Board that a student’s college level learning shall be evaluated for college credit at the student’s request. Students have the right to clear and concise information concerning how Prior Learning Credit (PLA Credit) might help them reach their academic goals.


This policy applies to all State System community colleges.


The learning addressed in this policy is defined as college level knowledge or skills that have been attained outside a traditional academic environment and that have not been previously evaluated for or awarded college credit.


Through this policy, the Board recognizes the following educational principles:

  1. Learning occurs both within formal educational settings and in the community at large.
  2. The criteria for evaluation of such learning should take into consideration the educational goals which are identified by the student, as well as institutional and State System requirements.
  3. Evaluation of prior learning should provide substantive information about the knowledge, competencies, attitudes, values, and other dimensions of personal development which the individual possesses.

Statewide Minimum PLA Credit standards shall be based on the criteria delineated below:

  1. The prior learning shall be assess in accordance with national standards and best practices as outlined in The PLA Credit Manual.
  2. Prior learning shall be assessed and awarded through: Portfolio, Challenge Exam, and Standardized Testing, the use of Published Guide or through the use of the PLA Credit Matrix in the PLA Credit Manual.
  3. The prior learning shall be college level.
  4. The credits earned through accepted PLA credit methods shall be treated equally in their application and use in course equivalencies.
  5. The PLA Credit granted shall be accepted as transfer credit by all of the State System community colleges.
  6. The knowledge and skills being assessed shall be relevant to the student’s program of study and meet current program requirements.

With regard to the award of credit through acceptable PLA Credit methodologies:

  1. Credit shall be awarded.
  2. Credit shall apply towards specific degree or certificate requirements.
  3. Transcripts shall note credit/no grade.
  4. No FTE shall be generated for credit under this policy.
  5. The cost of assessing student learning for PLA Credit shall be standardized across all State System community colleges as determined by the President or designee.
  6. PLA Credit shall not be utilized to fulfill institutional residency requirements.


The system president shall promulgate procedures as necessary to implement this policy.