What is Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a program that helps students accelerate their progress toward graduation. Through course challenges, industry and military crosswalks, and prior learning portfolio, students can demonstrate what they have learned and petition to have their work and life experiences assessed for college credit.
What Departments offer PLA?
Many departments offer students the option of challenging a course through a variety of PLA pathways. However, not all courses may be challenged. The PLA Coordinator is your first point of contact to assess your PLA options and to provide appropriate advising.
How do I get started?
To begin the process of PLA, you should first meet with the PLA Coordinator to discuss your specific case.
Do I get credit for life and work experience?
Indirectly, yes. Academic credit results from knowledge demonstrated at the college level, and your knowledge may be a result of your work and life experiences. This knowledge may fit the equivalent of a college course taught at Frederick Community College and may meet the requirements of your degree program.
Must I be a Frederick Community College student to participate in PLA?
Yes, to be eligible to earn PLA credit through many pathways, you must be a student at FCC and you must declare a major in a degree or certificate program. However, if you are petitioning for ‘Portfolio’ or ‘Institutional Departmental Exam’ credit, you must also be enrolled in a minimum of three (3) credits (excluding the PLAC101 course credit) in the same semester you are pursuing PLA credit or you will be completing a program through reverse transfer.
How much credit am I allowed to earn through PLA?
Students may earn up to 75% (45 credits for degree options) required for a program of study through ‘All’ Prior Learning Assessment pathways. However, a maximum of 15 credits earned through the Portfolio and Institutional Departmental pathways can be used toward an Associate degree or certificate program.
Students must earn at least 25% (15 credits for degree options) of the credits required for a program of study at FCC. PLA pathway credit awards do not count toward the 25% credit requirement.
Can I earn a “block of credit”?
No, credits earned via PLA at Frederick Community College relate specifically to a course-by course evaluation within programs listed in our catalog and credit may be awarded based on an individual course assessment.
Will I get the academic credit I have requested?
Submission of a PLA application does not guarantee that you will receive credit. FCC faculty and staff will work with you to maximize the possibility of earning academic credit toward your program of study.
Are there any restrictions for PLA?
Yes, some externally accredited programs and specific FCC programs and courses, clinical, and internships are not eligible to receive Prior Learning credits.
Will other colleges accept PLA credit?
Although an increasing number of private colleges and public universities are accepting PLA credit, not all do. If you are planning to attend another college or university, check the institution’s transfer and PLA policies. The Registrar and the PLA Coordinator at FCC can provide an explanation of your credit to the particular institution.
How long does the process take?
It depends on which PLA option you plan to use. Students must consult with the PLA Coordinator for advising related to the specific PLA options policies and procedures.
How much does PLA cost?
Fees for PLA credit are significantly less than tuition and fees for traditional courses. Financial Aid does not cover PLA credits awarded and students must pay fees and tuition on an out of pocket basis. PLA pathways such as the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), Challenge Exams, International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), Certification and Licensure, Military Training and Service, ACE and NCCRS evaluations and credit awards are not assessed fees or tuition cost.
Note:All Prior Learning Assessment fees and tuition cost are out of pocket expenses. No financial aid may be used.
Institutional Departmental Exam Fees
Students will be assessed 50% of the current tuition per credit for an Institutional Departmental Exam.
Portfolio Development Course
Students will be required to enroll and complete the PLAC101 course and will be charged the current tuition rate for a one-credit course.
Students petitioning for Portfolio Assessment & Evaluation will be assessed 50% of the current tuition for each credit awarded.
Does PLA credit affect my financial aid award?
No. However, the number of semester credits in which you are enrolled determines part-time or full-time status. Since you do not enroll for a PLA pathway, do not count courses you are attempting through PLA toward part-time or full-time status. For specific information regarding financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 301.846.2480
Can I use Financial Aid for the PLAC101 course for Portfolio Development?
Students may use Financial Aid for the PLAC101 course only if the course is listed as an open or general elective for the certificate or degree program the student is enrolled in and the student has not exhausted the program’s open/available elective requirements.
How will I know if I have earned credit?
The Registrar’s Office will notify you officially as to whether you have earned credit.
If I am granted credit, what will appear on my transcript?
The credit earned is documented on your transcript as Transfer Credit (TC), which is categorized as non-traditional credit. The PLA pathways do not affect your GPA.
Does the Grade appeal process apply to Prior Learning Assessments?