Credit for Prior Learning

Many adult learners can demonstrate college-level knowledge and competencies. Credit for Prior Learning provides a range of options from recognition of military and workforce training to national examinations and portfolio development.

Credit by Transfer

College-level coursework taken from regionally, nationally, professionally, or specialized accredited institutions or from institutions with an established Credit Transfer Agreement with University of Northwestern – St. Paul will be evaluated for the transfer of credits. All official transcripts from postsecondary institutions at which the student was previously registered must be submitted to the GCE office in order to evaluate the transfer of credit(s) and be awarded financial aid.

Proficiency Exams

Proficiencyexams are standardized national exams administered by an official testing service where credit maybe granted.

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Exams:Aseries of tests developed by the College Board initially for AP High School courses. This is also a type of early postsecondary educational opportunity.
  • DSST Exams: Defensive Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST):DSSTs are examinations administered by Prometric. UNW is a testing site for DSST examinations; information can be found online.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams:Tests of college material offered by the College Board.
  • Excelsior College Examination Program (ECE):Examinations for college credit offered by Excelsior College, NY. They are accepted pending ACE approval.
  • International baccalaureate Programs (IB):The IB Programme is an internationally accepted qualification for entry into institutes of higher education, much like the AP program.

Military & Training Programs

Military students and students who have received training from their employer may be eligible for credits. The American Council for Education (ACE) provides credit recommendations for formal instructional programs and examinations offered by non-collegiate agencies.

ACE offers a college credit recommendation service that evaluates training courses sponsored by professional and nonprofit organizations, labor unions, the government, hospitals, businesses, and industry. Credit recommendations are published in the ACE National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs, where students can access a searchable list of training programs, certifications, and examinations that have been evaluated by ACE .

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is a term used to describe learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. It is learning and knowledge students acquired while working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying massively open online courses (MOOCs). In short, PLA measures the quality and level of a student’s experiential learning.