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Prior Learning Assessment

Monday, October 14, 2019

pla student

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College recognizes that individuals involved in various aspects of life have already acquired learning of a measurable, college-level dimension outside a traditional college classroom setting. This has sometimes been referred to as ‘adult experiential learning’ or ‘life experience credit’.

The assessment of learning gained during life experiences is called prior learning assessment (PLA). Such learning may result from employment/work experience, professional certification, non-credit courses, hobbies, volunteer experience, civic activities, travel related specifically to a degree plan, or military and other experiences. Although there are commonly recognized avenues of assessing college-level learning at a high school level, the assessment of prior learning is primarily for students who have been out of high school and/or college for several years and who are entering or returning to UA-PTC to earn an Associate’s Degree or Technical Certificate.

Students must complete the appropriate PLA Application form to request any college credit earned outside of the classroom setting. The advantages to earning credit through PLA include lower costs for awarded credit than by taking the classes themselves and gaining advanced status toward a certificate or degree, thereby reducing the time it takes to graduate. The opportunities and policies for earning credit by PLA are summarized below.

UA-PTC has adopted the following general policies for awarding PLA credit:

  1. Credit for prior learning can be awarded only after the assessment of prior learning experiences and only for documented learning that demonstrates achievement of all identified learning outcomes for a specific course or courses.
  2. A maximum of 30 credit hours of transferable degree requirements (e.g. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, etc) can be satisfied by receiving academic credit through PLA.
  3. For certain certificate programs and non-transferable degree programs (e.g. Technical Certificates, Associate of Applied Science, etc), the maximum credit hours that may be satisfied through PLA will vary.
  4. To be eligible to petition for PLA, the student must be currently enrolled and in good standing at UA PTC, or be eligible for re-admission to the college.
  5. Credit may only be awarded for courses applicable to the student’s declared degree plan.
  6. All PLA credit must be awarded prior to the student’s last semester of enrollment (before graduation).
  7. PLA credit does not count toward the 15 credit hour residency requirement of the college, nor meet eligibility requirements for financial aid or loan deferment.
  8. Students who are denied credit through PLA for a specific course may not petition for credit again for that course by any options defined under PLA.
  9. A student may not receive credit twice for a course that has been awarded through PLA.;

PLA fees are not to purchase college credit. Therefore, all PLA-associated fees are non-refundable. Paying any required fees is not a guarantee of credit approval; it is to pay for the service of evaluating the student’s documentation. Financial aid does not cover PLA fee expenses.

Prior learning credits will be noted on the student’s transcript as having been awarded through PLA. Grades are not recorded when credits are earned through PLA, nor is a student’s grade point average affected.

UA-PTC does not guarantee that another college or university will accept PLA credit in transfer. Every effort is made to collaborate with UA-PTC’s major transfer institutions to ease the process of transferring credit, but you should check with any school about their transfer and PLA policies.

There are two broad categories of PLA services. Further information is provided on the links below.

Credit By Examination
Credit by examination includes CLEP, AP, DSST, certifications and licenses, or non-transferrable coursework evaluation. Military credit assessment and credit earned through agreements with other institutions and agencies are also considered.

Portfolio Assessment
Students produce a narrative and provide documentation in a portfolio in order to describe the learning that occurred during life experiences.

Advising and Forms

If you have further questions regarding the opportunity to earn credit through prior learning assessment, please click the appointment link below.

Make an Appointment

Credit by Exam Application (PDF)

Portfolio Assessment Application (PDF)

Appeal Form (PDF)