Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning (CPL) may be awarded to PCC students who can demonstrate college-level learning in subject areas that PCC offers.

Credit awarded for prior learning must be directly applicable to meet requirements for general education, a certificate, a degree, or electives as outlined by PCC’s academic catalog.

Credit awarded for prior learning may not be used to meet the college residency requirement.

Students are responsible for the fees charged for processing the CPL request.

PCC offers two types of CPL: institutionally assessed and externally assessed; these are defined below.

Institutionally Assessed CPL:

Institutionally assessed CPL is awarded through the course challenge process and may include

  • examinations
  • portfolio evaluations
  • performance evaluations

PCC considers this type of credit to be prior experiential learning which, according to accreditation standards, shall not exceed 25% of the credits applied to a degree or certificate.

Institutionally assessed CPL is awarded for active PCC courses.  Not all courses can be challenged.  Each Subject Area Committee (SAC) shall determine which of its courses can be challenged.  See S701: Subject Area Committees [].

Students who believe that they satisfy the content and outcome objectives of a current PCC course must obtain the approval of the appropriate faculty department chair, division dean, or administrative supervisor to challenge the course.

Students cannot challenge courses in which they are currently enrolled or that already appear on their transcripts.  A course may only be challenged once.

The challenge measurement and process established by the SAC shall assess whether a student has met the course content and outcome objectives so that credit can be awarded.  An instructor who teaches the course shall determine the grade earned by the student.  The grade shall be submitted through the faculty department chair, division dean, or administrative supervisor.  In the event that the instructor is also the faculty department chair, the grade shall be submitted through the relevant division dean or administrative supervisor.  Only grades of C or P or better will be transcripted as institutional credit and designated with a CPL notation.

Externally  Assessed CPL:

Externally assessed CPL is awarded for learning that has been assessed outside the traditional college setting.  Examples of external assessments that may warrant the awarding of CPL include

  • industry certifications (e.g., CDA, CPR, Journeyman)
  • professional licensure
  • ACE-recommended credit for corporate courses or exams, Joint Services Transcripts (JST) coursework, or military occupations (MOS)
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

According to accreditation standards, externally assessed CPL is not considered credit for prior experiential learning so it is not subject to the 25% limit on the credits applied to a degree or certificate.

Externally assessed CPL is awarded in subject areas that PCC offers and may include specific course numbers or elective credit in that subject area.  A SAC member (e.g., a faculty department chair) shall recommend the amount of credit awarded.

Students are responsible for providing official transcripts, score reports, certifications, or any documents required for conducting a CPL evaluation.

Externally assessed CPL is transcripted in the same manner as transfer credit and is not considered institutional credit.

Policy/Standard Name:  Credit for Prior Learning
Policy/Standard Identifier:  C102
Authority:  Oregon CPL Standards, NWCCU Standards 2.C.7 and 2.C.8
Units responsible for review and update:  Dean of Academic Affairs
Approval:  College President
Responsibility:  Vice President for Academic Affairs
Date of Final Approval:  July 2017
Effective Term:  Fall 2017
Prior Versions:  Yes