The PLA Questions

Because adults who are weighing their best options for a college education normally have a lot of questions about Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), we have provided answers to the most pressing questions here to help you get your bearings before we provide a brief orientation to the PLA process.


Quick Links: Advising • Alternative Course Providers • Fees • How do I…?Other • Prior CollegeTesting & PortfolioWork Experience


Work Experience, Training, Professional Development

Q: How do I get credit for my work experience?

Answer: Degree credit is not awarded for work experience directly, but rather for college-equivalent skills and knowledge that have been acquired through work and other life experiences.

Q: I ran a greenhouse for eight years. What's that experience worth?

Answer: When GSC advertises that college credit applicable to a degree may be earned for knowledge gained from life experiences, adults sometimes respond with questions about the credit value of general experiences. Staff members have no quantitative guidelines for estimating the learning that results from various kinds of activities, and therefore cannot provide easy answers. Identifying the knowledge and competencies achieved through experience and providing documentation of such competencies will be your responsibility.

However, GSC has established guidelines for developing a prior learning assessment plan to identify your current knowledge and competencies that are college-level and could apply to outstanding degree requirements. Students work with these guidelines in CRIT 502 Conducting Critical Inquiry, which is a required general education course for the bachelor’s degree. Once students have developed a prior learning assessment plan, they take CRIT 503 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment to document this learning in a portfolio to request credit.

Q: I've had a lot of workplace training. How do I know what I can get credit for?

Answer: GSC breaks the awarding of degree credit for workplace or volunteer training into two categories:

  1. Training that has been previously reviewed and preapproved for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE), the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), or GSC.
  2. Training that has not be previously evaluated and therefore requires a demonstration of learning by the student via standardized exams or portfolio assessment.

The GSC Preapproved Credit Lookup link in the sidebar on your left will provide you with information about training that has been preapproved for credit and just requires documentation of successful completion from the training sponsor.

Q: I have a lot of certificates from workplace and volunteer training. Can I submit them for credit?

Answer: GSC treats documentation of workplace and volunteer training as official transcripts, so documentation needs to be sent directly from the training sponsor to Granite State College Undergraduate Admissions. In addition, the training will need to have been preapproved for credit and not duplicate credit awarded for the same learning outcomes.

Q: I have training and/or professional credentialing from more than one source on the GSC Preapproved Credit Lookup. Can I get credit for both?

Answer: If you have prior learning that falls into more than one category, you are encouraged to submit documentation for all that you have. Credit may be awarded, based on whether or not it will meet outstanding degree requirements.

Q: I have taken courses with the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offered by the Independent Study Program. Will GSC award credit for these courses?

Answer: GSC will award credit for FEMA EMI courses that have been evaluated and recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). The EMI courses offered by the Independent Study Program (ISP) have not been evaluated by ACE, so GSC does not award credit for them. Portfolio assessment might be an appropriate option to pursue credit for what you learned from your self-study courses.

Q: I have a lot of CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Can I get credit for them?

Answer: CEUs do not translate into college credit. However, they make very good supporting documentation for a training portfolio.

Q: I have a lot of training and seminars that lasted a day or half a day. Can I get credit for them?

Answer: Short, seminar-type training experiences do not translate directly into college credit. However, if you acquired knowledge and skills from them that are college-equivalent, you can use the portfolio assessment option to request credit.

Q: Can I get credit for attending a conference?

Answer: No, conference attendance does not translate into college credit. However, you have the option to demonstrate learning from a conference through portfolio assessment. You would need to demonstrate related learning from other sources in order to ensure that the learning you’re demonstrating is of sufficient breadth and depth to be equivalent to a college course.

Q: Why can't I get credit for a course just by showing you the textbook or syllabus?

Answer: Credit is awarded based on your demonstrating what you actually learned from the training experience or course. In other words, credit is awarded for what you know, not what you did.

Q: I have a nursing certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Can I get credit for it?

Answer: Yes, GSC has evaluated a number of the certifications issued by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Check the GSC Preapproved Credit Lookup in the left sidebar to see which certifications have been evaluated and what they are equivalent to. Please note that credit will not be awarded for the General Nursing Practice certification or the Medical-Surgical Nursing certification. Both duplicate RN training.


Prior College

Q: What do I do if the prior college I attended did not have regional accreditation?

Answer: GSC has several options for awarding credit for learning acquired at colleges lacking regional accreditation. The appropriate option for seeking credit will depend on the type of program you did at the unaccredited college. Please check the GSC Preapproved Credit Lookup in the sidebar on your left to see if the program you completed has been preapproved for credit. If not, check the Training/Certification Accreditor Lookup link to see if the college or the program you completed was accredited by one of the national occupational accrediting bodies whose standards GSC accepts. Contact us to learn more.

 


Testing & Portfolio

Q: I have taken standardized tests (CLEP/DSST/UExcel). How do I find out what scores GSC requires to award credit?

Answer: Granite State College awards credit for CLEP, DSST, and UExcel exams based on the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) at a ‘C’ level. You can find links to these scores under the Preapproved by ACE heading in the sidebar on your left. The CLEP/GSC Credit Lookup and the DSST/GSC Credit Lookup provide the specific Granite State College course or requirement that each CLEP and DSST will fulfill.

Q: Are there are any kinds of standardized tests I can take to get credit for what I have learned for my job? The CLEP and DSST tests seem to be mostly for college courses.

Answer: Yes, Granite State College awards credit for tests offered by Nocti Business Solutions, based on the recommendations of the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). These tests cover a range of occupational areas, including auto mechanics, plumbing, administrative assisting, and many others. Click the following link for the complete list and recommended credit: http://noctibusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/college-credit-recommendation.pdf. You can take a test at home with the online proctoring service, ProctorU. Click on the following link for an overview of the testing process: http://noctibusiness.com/prior-learning-assessment/.  To sign up, go to Sign Up for NOCTI on the main navigation menu above. If you need help with the registration process, please contact: Kay Cole at NOCTI Business Solutions at (800)334.6283 x260 or kay.cole@nocti.org.

 


Alternative Course Providers: StraighterLine, Saylor.org, Sophia Learning

Answer: Granite State College awards credit for StraighterLine courses based on the recommendations from the American Council on Education. To request transfer credit from Granite State College, you will need to order an official transcript from StraighterLine to be sent to GSC Undergraduate Admissions.

Q: I see on StraighterLine's website that there is a list of courses that are equivalent to Granite State College courses. Are these the only StraighterLine courses you will accept?

Answer: Some StraighterLine courses are not equivalent to specific GSC courses. We will still accept them if they have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and recommended for college credit.

Q: I see two versions of the StraighterLine course I'm interested in. How do I know which one should I take?

Answer: StraighterLine offers two versions of its courses: professor-led and self-paced. GSC will accept either version, as long as you take and pass the proctored final exam.

Q: I have taken a course with Saylor Academy. Can I get credit for it?

Answer: Granite State College awards credit for Saylor Academy courses based on the recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS).

Q: I just completed the activities for a Saylor Academy course, and I see that there are two exams: a final exam and an optional final exam. Do I have to take both of them to be awarded credit for the course?

Answer: To be awarded credit for a Saylor Academy course that has been evaluated by ACE or NCCRS and recommended for college credit, you must take the optional proctored exam.

Q: Does GSC award credit for courses taken with Sophia Learning?

Answer: Yes, GSC awards credit for Sophia Learning courses based on the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE).

Q: What documentation do I need to submit to receive credit for a course taken with Sophia Learning?

Answer: To pursue credit for a course taken with Sophia Learning, request that they send a transcript to GSC Admissions:

Granite State College
Undergraduate Admissions Office
25 Hall Street
Concord, NH 03301.


Advising

Q: I think I have college-level learning that could apply to my degree, but it doesn't fit any of the categories in the preapproved credit lookups. How can I get prior learning credit?

Answer: Portfolio options for prior learning credit are available for college-level learning experiences that GSC has not preapproved for credit. Contact us to learn more.

Q: I'm not sure that prior learning assessment is a good option for me. Is there someone I can talk to?

Answer: Yes, an academic advisor can help you determine the options that are right for you. Contact us at 1-855-472-4255 to make an appointment.


Fees

Q: Is there a fee to be awarded preapproved PLA credit?

Answer: There is no fee to be awarded credit for training experiences or professional credentials that have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). Training experiences or professional credentials that Granite State College has evaluated carry a flat fee of $350.  For up to one year after your admission to Granite State College, the flat fee covers the submission of multiple training experiences and credentials. After your first year of admission has passed, there will be a fee of $350. for each training experience or credential submitted.

Q: When must I pay the PLA fee?

Answer: The PLA fee will be applied to your student account after the Admissions Office enters the credit on your transcript. Payment is due upon receipt of an invoice. Contact the Bursar’s Office for additional information:

Phone: 603-513-1330
Email: student.accounts@granite.edu

Q: Can I use my financial aid to cover the PLA fee?

Answer: Yes. Students may utilize any remaining loan eligibility for this school-related expense. You will need to contact the Financial Aid Office to complete an Award Revision Request Form and the Federal Title IV Financial Aid Payment Authorization Form.

Phone: 603-513-1392
Email: financial.aid@granite.edu


How Do I . . . ?

. . . find out if the training, exam, certification, or non-collegiate course provider (e.g., StraighterLine or Saylor Academy) has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and recommended for college credit?

Answer: Large sponsors of corporate training, such as Microsoft and McDonald’s, contract with ACE to evaluate the company’s curriculum and methods of performance evaluation to determine whether the skills and knowledge acquired by completing the training successfully are equivalent to college-level learning. Granite State College follows the recommendations for college credit that come out of these training reviews. While only a small percentage of the training offered in the United States has been evaluated by ACE, checking The National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training (commonly known as The ACE Guide), is nonetheless a good first step in the PLA process.

ACE maintains its repository of credit recommendations in an online database called The National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training:  http://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=browse.main . The entries are organized by the title of the training sponsor, so your first step will be to identify the sponsor of the training you completed by going to the search page listed above and selecting the first letter of your training’s sponsor. This will take you to a list of all the training sponsors in the database beginning with that letter.  Click on the title of the training sponsor, the American Bankers Association, for example:

ABA ACE Guide

You will then see a list of all the courses and exams that ACE has evaluated for that sponsor, including Analyzing Financial Statements:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 5.14.20 PM

Click on the title of your training, certification, exam, or course–in this example, Analyzing Financial Statements–to view ACE’s evaluation and credit recommendation:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 5.23.38 PM

. . . find out if my training, exam, or course from a non-collegiate course provider (e.g., Saylor Academy or StraighterLine) has been evaluated by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) and recommended for college credit?

Answer: NCCRS has evaluated a limited number of workplace training experiences, primarily in New York and New Jersey, as well as a select number of Saylor Academy courses. NCCRS maintains its repository of credit recommendations in an online database called the College Credit Recommendations Directory: http://www.nationalccrs.org/course-credit-directory/. The entries are organized by the title of the training sponsor, so your first step will be to identify the sponsor of training you completed by going to the search page listed above and selecting the title of your training sponsor, The Saylor Foundation, for example, from the drop-down menu:

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 9.09.24 AM

Click on the title of the training sponsor to bring up the list of evaluated training experiences or courses. In this example, we’re looking for CS 101 Introduction to Computer Science:

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 9.16.08 AM

Click on the title of the course to view NCCRS’s evaluation and credit recommendation:

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 9.19.24 AM

. . . get credit for my StraighterLine courses?

Answer: To receive GSC credit for a StraighterLine course, you must be enrolled in a GSC degree program, and the StraighterLine course must have been evaluated by the American Council on Education and recommended for college credit. To provide documentation of successful course completion, go to http://www.straighterline.com/transcripts/request/, and request that an official ACE transcript be sent to the GSC Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Granite State College
Undergraduate Admissions Office
25 Hall Street
Concord, NH 03301.

. . . get credit for my Saylor Academy courses?

Answer: To receive GSC credit for a Saylor Academy course, you must be enrolled in a GSC degree program, and the Saylor Academy course must have been evaluated by the National College Credit Recommendation Service or the American Council on Education and recommended for college credit. In addition, you must take and successfully pass the proctored final exam.

To provide documentation of successful completion of an NCCRS-evaluated exam, request that an official transcript be sent to the GSC Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Granite State College
Undergraduate Admissions Office
25 Hall Street
Concord, NH 03301.

To provide documentation of successful completion of an ACE-evaluated exam, go to http://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?page=transcripts , and request that an official ACE transcript be sent to the GSC Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Granite State College
Undergraduate Admissions Office
25 Hall Street
Concord, NH 03301.


Other Questions

Q: May I submit my prior learning documentation later and still receive credit?

Answer: Yes, you may submit preapproved training experiences or credentials for the PLA flat fee of $350. for up to one year after your admission to Granite State College. After one year, the fee will be $350. per training experience or credential. All prior learning credit requests must be submitted prior to your reaching sixteen credits remaining for your degree.

Q: At my previous college, I completed an internship, which is listed on my transcript for 3 credits. I worked a lot of extra hours that aren't reflected on my transcript. How can I get credit for these additional hours?

Answer: Granite State College gives credit for internships based on how the sponsoring college transcripts them, so we can only award credit for what is actually on the student’s transcript. In addition, awarding credit for prior learning outside of college courses is based on skills and knowledge, rather than time.

Q: How many credits can I earn from prior learning options?

Answer: Prior learning options within in an associate degree program may total up to 30 credits; for a bachelor’s program, up to 60 credits.

Q: What kinds of documents will I need to submit?

Answer: In the case of training that has been evaluated as college-equivalent by the American Council on Education (ACE), you will need to join the ACE transcript registry service and order an official ACE transcript to be sent to GSC Undergraduate Admissions. For training that has been preapproved by NCCRS or GSC, you will need to request that the training sponsor send either a transcript or a letter on letterhead documenting successful completion of the training.

Q: How will prior learning credit awarded for standardized testing or portfolio assessment affect my GSC Grade Point Average?

Answer: Credit awarded for standardized testing, such as CLEP or DSST, or portfolio assessment comes in as transfer credit with no grades assigned. It does not affect a student’s Granite State College GPA.