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The Registrar

Prior Learning Assessment

Additional information on the PLA process and the handbook are both available for download as a pdf.

PLA Portfolio Process

PLA Portfolio Handbook

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process used to earn college credit for learning that has been acquired outside of the traditional classroom. A maximum of 32 credit hours from all programs (including high school Advanced Placement credit) can be earned toward a Bachelor’s degree and 16 credit hours can be earned toward an Associate degree. Up to 25% of the total program hours required for a Master’s degree can be earned through PLA. While credit is awarded for prior learning, no grades are assigned. Certain programs cannot award credit for prior learning because of rules created by Indiana licensing and regulatory agencies. No duplication of credit is allowed.

Transfer credit can be considered a type of prior learning, but it is not included here and not included in the maximum earned limits for PLA.

Types of Prior Learning Assessment

  1. Proficiency Examinations (CLEP, EXCELSIOR) – A description and listing of the tests offered by these programs is included in this brochure. In addition, some academic departments at the University of Saint Francis may offer challenge examinations that allow a student to demonstrate college-level competency by means of internally constructed examinations. These USF credit-by-exam opportunities are not available in all departments; please contact the specific department if you would like more information.
  2. Military Training – The American Council on Education (ACE) has worked cooperatively with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Armed Services in establishing standards for recognizing learning acquired in military service. This learning may be worth college credit. The student must submit a military transcript (e.g., AARTS, College of the Air Force, etc.), DD214, and/or DD295 to the Office of the Registrar for evaluation.
  3. Portfolio – The student-prepared prior learning portfolio is the most commonly accepted method used to evaluate prior learning. It is a collection of narratives and written documentation that articulates a student’s academically relevant, non-college classroom learning on a per course basis.

Students should meet with the Registrar in the Pope John Paul II Center, Room 207 (260-399-7700 ext 6524) to review the portfolio process. The portfolio handbook, which explains the process and contains the forms to submit, will be provided at the time of the interview. Before beginning the portfolio process, students must pay a fee at the Business Office in Trinity Hall.

Once the portfolio is completed and turned in, a faculty evaluator will review it to determine if credit can be awarded. The student will receive notification of the outcome of the portfolio evaluation from the Registrar’s Office.