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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about how Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) can save you time and money. Visit a campus Student Services Center to meet with an academic advisor.

Q:  What is Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)?
A:  The College awards CPL for college-level learning that can be assessed and documented. CPL must be for a specific PCC course within your program of study.

Q:  Who should consider CPL?
A:  You should consider CPL if you have extensive work, volunteer or military experience, current certifications, licenses or industry credentials or have completed professional training programs.

Q:  When should I consider CPL?
A:  You should consider CPL early in your educational planning to prevent taking classes on material you already know. 

Q:  What are the eligibility requirements for CPL?
A:  CPL may be awarded if the following requirements have been met:

  • Applied for admission to PCC
  • Declared a program of study (certificate or degree)
  • Submit completed credit for prior learning request form to an academic advisor
  • Received evaluation that knowledge/skills are college-level
  • Paid required fees (fees are charged for challenge exams, portfolio assessment and evaluation of noncredit coursework) 

Q:  Are there courses/program areas where CPL cannot be evaluated?
A:  Yes. Consult with an academic advisor, who can help you decide if CPL is right for you and which courses you may challenge.

Q:  What is a portfolio?
A:  A portfolio is a collection of materials that documents what you have learned, where you earned it, and how that learning equates to college-level learning. Parallels are made between stated course outcomes, as shown on course syllabi, and your learning through work, volunteering, and other experiences by way of written narratives. You may submit more than one portfolio for evaluation.

Q:  Are there any prerequisites for having my portfolio evaluated?
A:  Yes. Portfolio development requires a great deal of writing, so college-level writing skills are a necessity. You must enroll in the mandatory, noncredit, online portfolio development course that is designed to help you identify, describe and document the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through your prior learning experiences. The enrollment fee for the noncredit portfolio development course is $49.

Q:  Who evaluates the portfolios?
A:  Your CPL portfolio will be evaluated by a PCC faculty member who is a subject matter expert. 

Q:  How long does it take to earn CPL?
A:  The process to earn CPL varies depending on the type. A portfolio assessment, depending on your work, may take 4-8 weeks, compared to a challenge exam, which could take 1-2 weeks. 

Q:  If I cannot demonstrate college-level knowledge/skills, will I receive a refund?
A:  CPL is not guaranteed. Fees paid for assessment are non-refundable. 

Q:  Can CPL be used to satisfy a previously failed course?
A:  No. 

Q:  If I do not receive CPL, can I appeal?
A:  Yes. You may request an appeal if you have additional information/evidence that demonstrates the assessment recommendation was not made objectively. All appeals will go to the appropriate academic dean or designee for final review and recommendation. 

Q:  Can CPL be used to satisfy College in-state residency requirements?
A:  No. 

Q:  Does CPL transfer to other institutions?
A:  CPL may transfer. Students who plan to transfer to another college or university should check with that school to be sure the CPL will transfer. Credits awarded for national standardized exams will be designated as TP (transfer pass) on the transcript. All other CPL methods will be designated as PLA (prior learning assessment) on the transcript.

Q:  Can I use financial aid to pay for CPL credit?
A:  No. CPL hours do not count as hours of enrollment for the purposes of financial aid.

Q:  Does CPL count toward my grade point average (GPA)?
A:  No.

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