Credit for Prior Learning

PLA Policy                                 

Seattle Colleges recognizes several methods by which students may receive college credit outside of the traditional classroom, referred to as Prior Learning. The following options provide several avenues for students to get credit for the knowledge that they learned from working or taking industry exams on their own.

A maximum of 50% of the required credits in any program of study may come from the credit for prior learning options. Credits awarded for prior learning do not fulfill residency requirements towards a certificate of degree.

Prior Learning credit must be approved by the appropriate department chair, following initial approval and coordination by the designated departmental faculty member. Student must have an academic record at NSC and be in good financial standing with the college to qualify.

Transferability of credits awarded for prior learning will be subject to the policies of the receiving institution.

Seattle College District procedure can be found here.

  1. Prior Experiential Learning Portfolio Review

    • Faculty review and evaluate student portfolios and identify achievement of learning outcomes
    • Vice President of Instruction approval is required for requests of credits between 25% and 50%.
  2. Course Challenge

    • Comprehensive exams developed by faculty for a specific course
  3. Extra-Institutional Learning (Crosswalk)

    • Extra-Institutional Learning includes military training, apprenticeships, and other standardized trainings. Crosswalks include, but are not limited to, industry-related certificates of completion of training, occupational crosswalks, and American Council on Education (ACE) crosswalks.
  4. Credit by Testing

    • Standardized and commonly accepted higher education equivalency exams including CLEP, DANTES, Advanced Placement Exam (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cambridge International

Grading and Fees

Credit by Testing and Extra-Institutional Learning are not eligible for decimal grades. Students will be charged a flat rate of $100 per PLA for these assessments.

Prior Experiential Learning Portfolio and Course Challenges must include a grading rubric and can be either S/U or decimal grade. Students will be charged a flat rate of $100 per PLA in addition to $40 per credit.

PLA Procedure

  1. Student meets with designated faculty member or coordinator at the appropriate department to seek initial approval, discuss options, and review Prior Learning Assessment Application Form.
  2. The designated faculty member/coordinator and the student fill out the preliminary information on the Prior Learning Assessment Application Form and sign.
  3. Student brings the application form to the Cashier’s Office to pay for nonrefundable Prior Learning Assessment fee. Assessment will not be completed until after proof of payment.
  4. Student shows proof of payment from the Cashier’s Office to designated faculty member before assessment begins.
  5. Faculty member assesses materials for Prior Learning. The evaluation process may take up to 8 weeks.
  6. Faculty member submits completed Assessment Form with final results, (grading rubric if applicable), date, and signature to Division Dean for review.
  7. Division Dean submits finalized PLA Assessment Form, signed and dated, directly to the Registrar in alignment with standard grade submission deadlines for each quarter.
  8. The Registrar transcribes course to student’s transcripts. The transcription process may take up to 6 weeks. Credits earned will carry a grade, as assigned by faculty. A grade of “S” does not impact GPA.