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Credit for Prior Learning

  1. Policy

    Salt Lake Community College supports students' educational pathways by merging traditional learning with knowledge and skills obtained through military experience, life experiences, and other nontraditional methods to give students the most inclusive and transformative education possible.

    The following procedures are based on the policies and standards of the Utah Board of Higher Education and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and outline how SLCC awards credit for prior learning.

  2. References
    1. Credit for Military Service and Training, Utah Code Ann. § 53B-16-107.
    2. Configuration of the Utah System of Higher Education and Institutional Missions and Roles, Utah Bd. of Higher Educ., r. 312.
    3. General Education, Common Course Numbering, Lower-Division Pre-Major Requirements, Transfer of Credits, and Credit by Examination, Utah Bd. of Higher Educ., r. 470.
    4. Credit for Prior Learning, Utah Bd. of Higher Educ., r. 472
    5. Standards for Granting Academic Credit for CTE Course Work Completed in Non-credit Instructional Formats, Utah Bd. of Higher Educ., r. 473.
    6. Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Standards for Accreditation.
  3. Definitions
    1. Awarded Credit: Credit granted to a student after the student has demonstrated proficiency in a skill or level of knowledge through one of the methods listed in the following procedures.
    2. Graded Course Credit: Credit that carries a letter grade and impacts on a student's GPA.
    3. Prior Learning: Knowledge and skills acquired through life experience, work experience, and structured or unstructured study which occurred outside a traditional educational setting, such as technical skills gained through training in the workplace or military service, foreign language skills, and academic knowledge and skills gained in informal study.
    4. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): A proven, validated process through which qualified teaching faculty evaluate a student's previously learned knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies in a specific field and award credit when appropriate.
    5. Ungraded Course Credit: Credit that is recorded as a "P" and carries no grade and has no impact on a student's GPA.
  4. Procedures
    1. Guidelines
      1. Consistency with SLCC's Mission and Role
        1. Credit awarded for prior learning shall be consistent with Salt Lake Community College's educational mission and goals.
        2. SLCC will only award credit for approved, lower-division, credit-based courses the college offers. Developmental course credit shall not be awarded.
        3. SLCC will not evaluate prior learning for courses that the college does not offer within a current approved curriculum.
      2. Awarded Credit
        1. Credit awarded for prior learning shall apply to appropriate general education, degree, or certificate course requirements.
        2. Credit awarded for prior learning must not duplicate previously earned at SLCC or articulated transfer course credit.
        3. The amount of credit awarded shall be consistent with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities' standards, the Utah System of Higher Education, and any specialized or program accreditation guidelines.
        4. Once recorded on a student's transcript, credit awarded for prior learning is transferable as if the student earned it at SLCC. SLCC cannot guarantee the applicability of courses at the transfer institution.
      3. Evidence of Prior Learning
        1. SLCC will award credit for prior learning only for documented learning aligned to course learning outcomes, knowledge, skills, and competencies of relevant academic and technical disciplines.
        2. Documented evidence may take the form of:
          1. credit for military service;
          2. nationally recognized standard examinations such as Advanced Placement (AP), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB);
          3. course challenge exams, competency examinations, or skills demonstrations;
          4. learning portfolios;
          5. recognized industry certification; and
          6. other mechanisms approved beforehand by qualified teaching faculty.
        3. SLCC will not award credit without reliable evidence.
      4. Communication of Prior Learning Assessment
        1. SLCC will inform students of:
          1. accepted opportunities for prior learning assessment;
          2. how credit is awarded and posted to a transcript;;
          3. the potential impacts on financial aid; and
          4. the process for evaluation.
        2. SLCC shall publish related information in the SLCC catalog, SLCC website, and other transparent channels.
        3. Faculty, academic administrators, and staff shall be informed of prior learning assessment policy, procedures, methods, and evaluation standards.
        4. SLCC shall report prior learning assessment annually, according to the Utah Board of Higher Education requirements.
      5. Transcript Integrity
        1. A student's SLCC transcript shall identify awarded credit as Credit for Prior Learning.
        2. Awarded credit shall be non-graded according to the specific PLA assessment strategy unless a documented bases exists for assigning a letter grade
        3. SLCC does not award partial course credit for prior learning.
    2. Student Eligibility
      1. Enrollment Status

        Students must be currently admitted to and pursuing a degree or certificate at SLCC when they request credit for prior learning.

      2. Financial Aid Eligibility
        1. Awarded credit for prior learning is not eligible for financial aid or veterans' education assistance.
        2. Awarded credit will not count toward full-time status for scholarship purposes.
        3. Awarded credit will count toward the maximum time frame to graduation for financial aid purposes.
      3. Fees
        1. SLCC may assess a recording fee to post awarded credit to a student's transcript.
        2. SLCC will not base fees on awarded credits.
        3. Current fees will be maintained and published in the SLCC catalog, SLCC website, and other transparent channels.
    3. Awarding Credit
      1. Comparability
        1. SLCC will award credit for prior learning only for demonstrated learning outcomes and competencies comparable in nature, content, and extent to courses taught at SLCC.
        2. Comparability shall be based on officially approved learning outcomes and competencies documented on approved course curriculum outlines (CCO) and program curriculum outlines (PCO).
        3. SLCC will not award credit for prior learning that is not current in rigor, nature, and content.
      2. Authority to Award Credit
        1. SLCC will only grant credit for prior learning upon the assessment and recommendation by qualified teaching faculty and academic administrator in an associated discipline.
        2. Qualified teaching faculty and academic administrators may use a variety of methods of assessment.
      3. Accepted forms of a PLA include:
        1. Credits earned through extra-institutional settings, such as:
          1. military service; or
          2. Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
        2. Nationally recognized, standardized exams, including:
          1. Advanced Placement (AP);
          2. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP);
          3. International Baccalaureate (IB); or
          4. Subject Standardized Tests (DSST).
        3. Nationally recognized industry certification, such as COMP TIA, LPN, AWS.
        4. Nationally recognized organizations, including:
          1. American Council of Education (ACE);
          2. National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS); or
          3. board-approved postsecondary associations.
        5. Assessment by qualified teaching faculty through:
          1. specific course challenge exams;
          2. an individual portfolio assessment;
          3. an individual performance assessments or skills demonstration; or
          4. non-collegiate programs or training courses that demonstrate proficiencies
      4. Procedures for Awarding Credit for Prior Learning
        1. Procedures for students to petition for prior learning assessment shall align with this policy.
        2. Procedures for prior learning assessment shall be developed and documented in each school, division, and department.
        3. SLCC shall publish the procedures for prior learning assessment (PLA) in the SLCC catalog, SLCC website, and other transparent channels.
      5. Student Appeal

        A student who wishes to appeal the decision not to award credit or the amount of credit awarded shall follow prior learning assessment appeal procedures

    4. Reviewing Program Processes for Awarding Credit for Prior Learning
      1. At the time of a cyclical program review, programs shall report specific procedures, methods, and instruments employed by program faculty for assessing prior learning
      2. A program's academic administrator is responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance
      3. If a program does not comply, the provost may require the program to discontinued awarding credit until the program satisfactorily revises its procedures.

Date of last cabinet review: May 24, 2022

is the assistant provost for curriculum and academic systems. Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the originator by calling 801-957-4563