Prior Learning Credit
Not all education occurs in a traditional college classroom, and to recognize the wealth of experiences students matriculating through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) bring, Mount Vernon Nazarene University assigns prior learning credit (PLC) for extra-institutional learning, military training, professional licenses, and certain test scores.
Prior learning credit, also known as a prior learning assessment (PLA), has been gaining traction in recent years, especially amongst adult and other non-traditional students. PLC benefits these students by:
- Lessening the time students take to earn their degree.
- Reducing program costs and helping students graduate with less debt.
- Reducing the rate of remediation and increasing the likelihood working adult students will complete their degree.
Types of Prior Learning Credit Accepted
We welcome students who have experienced qualified learning opportunities outside of the classroom post-high school and award prior learning credit for several forms of non-traditional education, including:
- Military training
- On-the-job technical and professional training
- Standardized exams, including the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests
- Professional licensure
- Corporate and/or professional training, including courses sponsored by businesses, industry, the armed forces, professional schools, and other credible government associations and agencies
- Specific government and industry training programs
- Other activities with credible associations and agencies.
Among these options, CLEP, administered by the College Board, encompasses 33 exams across a range of subject areas. These are divided into: History and Social Sciences, Composition and Literature, Science and Mathematics, Business, and World Languages. Depending upon the institution, a CLEP exam may be equivalent to three to 12 credits.
DSST, while similar in application, was originally created for military personnel to assign college credit for training received in the field. The tests were later modified for civilian usage and, similar to CLEP, cover business, humanities, mathematics, physical science, social sciences, and technologies. Based upon how an institution utilizes DSST scores, students may earn up to three credits for a single exam.
Outside of these two exams, MVNU evaluates all PLC types based on college-level learning, defining it not strictly as equivalent experience but education obtained outside the traditional classroom setting and before taking any formal college coursework in a particular subject area. In the process, students seeking college credit for prior learning must be able to convincingly demonstrate a college-level learning outcome for their prior training, license, or education. To do this, students are asked to assemble and submit a portfolio that demonstrates their mastery of a particular subject.
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