Credit for Prior Learning
Did you know you could earn college credit for prior knowledge and experience? Your prior learning experiences are valuable and may allow you to complete your degree sooner. We can assist you with options for converting prior knowledge to college credit. Credit for prior learning (CPL), also known as prior learning assessment (PLA), empowers students by recognizing college level learning regardless of where and when it occurred.
Who Benefits from CPL/PLA?
You can benefit! Whether you need 3 credits or 30, PLA may help you earn your degree sooner and save money. According to the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) credit for prior learning is underutilized in higher education. According to “The PLA Boost”, a study completed in 2020, students who received credit for prior learning earned on average 12-15 credits, yet only 11% of students have used prior learning methods.*
See how you may be able to make credit for prior learning a reality.
How do I earn credit for prior learning?
Prior learning starts with your experiences and background. Did you learn to speak a second language fluently at home? Do you have volunteer, business, or military experience? College level learning can be validated in the following ways:
Standardized exams (AP, CLEP, IB, DSST, UExcel)
Department challenge exam
Saylor Direct College Credit
You may start the credit for prior learning conversation by emailing PLAAdvisor@trocaire.edu.
Are there any limitations?
Credit for prior learning limitations vary by program. Contact PLAAdvisor@trocaire.edu to learn about how prior learning credit may fit into your program.
To learn more about specific forms of CPL/PLA, please see the following resources.
Students must earn a score of 50 or above on the CLEP exam, and submit an official score report from the College Board to receive credit. Please see equivalency table for credit recommendations.
College Board (CLEP) website: https://clep.collegeboard.org/
Students must earn a score of 3 or above on the AP exam, and submit an official score report from the College Board to receive credit. Please see equivalency table for credit recommendations.
College Board (AP) website: https://ap.collegeboard.org/
Trocaire College recognizes International Baccalaureate (IB) programs and grants a maximum of 30 credit hours for an earned IB Diploma. Academic credit for individual
Standard Level or Higher Level examinations, with scores of four or above, will earn three elective course credits per examination. Higher Level examinations with scores of five or above, will be evaluated for additional
Students must submit an official IB transcript to receive credit.
DSST exams are offered through Prometric. Students must earn a score of 400 or above, and submit an official transcript, to receive credit for DSST exams. Please see equivalency table for credit recommendation.
Go to https://www.getcollegecredit.com for more information on DSST exams.
Trocaire College participates in the Excelsior College Examination Program and will grant credit to students who successfully complete Excelsior College Examinations in accordance with the standards established by Trocaire College.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with the appropriate Program Director will consider requests on a case-by-case basis. Students must submit an official Excelsior College transcript to receive credit.
Go to https://www.excelsior.edu/exams/ for more information.
Credit may be awarded for certain approved educational experiences and training in the armed services.
Students from the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy must submit an official Joint Services Transcript (JST) to receive credit.
For more information go to https://www.acenet.edu/Programs-Services/Pages/Credit-Transcripts/Military-Guide-Online.aspx
Students from the Air Force must submit an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force.
Some workplace certifications may translate into academic credit. The ACE National Guide and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) can help determine if the credential or training meets credit guidelines.
ACE National Guide:
National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS):
Trocaire College accepts many Saylor Direct Credit exams. Please see Saylor equivalency table for credit recommendations. Saylor courses are self-paced and free of charge. Students who wish to take the Saylor Direct exam for credit pay a small proctoring fee.
Saylor equivalency table:
*Klein-Collins, R., et.al. (1920) The PLA Boost: Results from a 72-Institution Targeted Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes, CAEL | WICHE, https://www.wiche.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/PLA-Boost-Report-CAEL-WICHE-Revised-Dec-2020.pdf, p. 7.