You learn in many ways – through career experiences, volunteer work, community service, leadership roles, even travel – and the Mount offers credit for this college-level learning that takes place outside the classroom

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the process for earning college level credit for learning that takes place outside of the college or university setting. The Mount is committed to responding to the need for lifelong learning by providing a full range of educational services adapted to the needs of adult students. As part of this commitment, the Mount recognizes and gives credit for college-level learning through PLA. Learning is acquired in many ways and includes, but is not limited to, career experiences, community service, military service, structured educational programs, self-taught skills, and even travel. 

The Mount regards PLA as a process of selfassessment for the student with the purpose of receiving credit. As a result the following guidelines/policies have been established:
• Only matriculated students seeking a degree or pursuing a certificate at the Mount are eligible to apply for a possible award of prior learning assessment credit.
• PLA credit must fit within the student’s degree requirements.
• No more than half of the total number of credit hours required for graduation can be awarded through prior learning assessment.
• PLA credit earned at the Mount may or may not transfer to other institutions.
• Duplication of credit is not permitted.
• Credits earned through PLA neither fulfill nor interrupt the residency requirements.
• Credits cannot be counted toward the 45 semester hours of coursework needed for graduation with honors (See the Graduation with Honors section of the catalog for information).

PLA Options at the Mount

Credit by Credential Information

Students who have completed structured education programs, including the military, may present official credentials for review as possible direct award of credit. All credit awarded will be general elective credit. There is no fee for credit by credential evaluation.

Credit by Validation Process

Validation:
Validation is an option for students who attended extensive, informal trainings or a comprehensive series of workshops. The knowledge and skills acquired must be comparable to learning outcomes in a course offered at the Mount.

Validation for Work Experience:
Validation for Work Experience is an option for non-traditional (adult undergraduate) students who have current work experience related to his/her degree. The validation grants up to nine general elective credits and satisfies the core experiential learning requirement.

Validation for Service Learning:
Validation for Service Learning is an option for non-traditional (adult undergraduate) students who have prior service experience. It is used to compare knowledge acquired through service to learning outcomes for the experiential learning core requirement at the Mount and must also relate to a Mount course you have completed in the past two years or are currently enrolled. Validation for Service Learning satisfies the core experiential learning requirement. Fees for each type of validation evaluation are $80 for the first credit hour (non-refundable) awarded and $20 for each additional hour.

Credit by Portfolio Process

The Portfolio process is an option for students who have gained significant college level learning outside the classroom setting. Learning acquired through noncredit courses, workshops, online courses, self-taught knowledge or skills, career/work experiences, volunteer work, community service, travel, leadership roles in associations and organizations, or personal life experiences might qualify. The knowledge and skills acquired must be comparable to learning outcomes in a course offered at the Mount. Fees for portfolio evaluation are $90 per credit hour awarded.

Credit by Examination 

College Level Examination Program
(CLEP): The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) (clep.collegeboard.org) is a national program offering a variety of standardized tests to earn college credit. CLEP exams are taken pass/fail. Please click here for details, including the list of CLEP tests accepted by the Mount and their course equivalencies. CLEP charges $85 per CLEP exam and the test center may charge an additional registration fee.

The PLA Process at the Mount

Students can contact the PLA Coordinator to discuss the student’s prior experiences and learning. If the PLA coordinator feels the student’s learning is college level, they will then discuss the student’s options for learning credit through PLA at the Mount. Credit may be denied for any reason at any time during any of the processes.

Options for earning credit include:

  • Structured education programs in the armed forces, nursing, business or industry may be reviewed for a possible direct award of credit.
  •  College Level Examination Program is a national program offering a series of standardized tests to earn college credit.  The Mount accepts for credit in a variety of subjects.  
  • Credit by Portfolio Process allows students to evaluate their life and career experiences and may equate their learning and knowledge to specific course credits.
  • Credit by Validation is an option for students who have attended extensive trainings, completed a series of workshops, or have attended a non-accredited institution.
  •  Validation for Work Experience Process allows Adult undergraduate students with significant work experience related to their degree to be evaluated for course credit.

Contact Information

For more information, contact the Career and Experiential Education Center: