Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

In addition to previous college courses, prior learning acquired through workplace training and/or other life experiences is acknowledged and recognized as the foundation on which to build a degree program. The College provides options to demonstrate how prior learning may satisfy degree requirements.

Preapproved PLA Options

National Training Programs

The American Council on Education (ACE) and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) have evaluated and made recommendations regarding college credit for many formal training programs from business and industry, government, and nonprofit agencies. Credit will be awarded based on the recommendations of the ACE National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs ( and the College Credit Recommendations Directory of the National College Credit Recommendation Service ( Students must request an official transcript from ACE or documentation of successful completion from the training sponsor. Official transcripts are sent directly to Granite State College Undergraduate Admissions.

Consortium for the Assessment of College Equivalence (CACE)

Granite State College is a member of the Consortium for the Assessment of College Equivalence (CACE). This consortium agreement provides Granite State College students with the opportunity to receive credit towards their Granite State College degree for workplace training previously evaluated and recommended for credit by one of the other CACE member institutions. Advising and Academic Affairs collaborate to evaluate potential Granite State College credit awards informed by CACE training validation reviews.

Workplace Training Programs Evaluated by Granite State

Granite State College awards credit for college-equivalent learning gained through training. Training that the College has evaluated includes the NH Police Standards and Training Academy, the State of NH Division of Personnel Management, NH Fire Standards and Training, Primex, as well as other training programs. Please refer to the Credit for What You Know website for the most up-to-date list of Granite State College evaluated training programs. The student must provide official documentation of successful completion of the training program; documentation must be sent directly from the training sponsor to Granite State College Undergraduate Admissions.

To pursue credit for preapproved prior learning, see detailed information and FAQs for preapproved prior learning options accepted by the College at

Note: Students must be accepted and enrolled in a degree program with Granite State College for prior learning credit to be awarded and transcripted.

Non-Collegiate Course Providers

Credit may also be earned for courses taken with non-collegiate course providers, such as Saylor Academy,, and StraighterLine, which have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) and recommended for college credit. In order for credit to be awarded, the ACE or NCCRS-recommended score must be achieved on the proctored exam.

Examination Programs

ACE and the NCCRS have also evaluated certain tests to demonstrate college-level knowledge and earn credit. The College recognizes competency demonstrated through Advanced Placement (AP), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency testing, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST, NOCTI Business Solutions, and UExcel. Students are responsible for any fees associated with testing options.

The College will award the number of credits and the subject area recommended by ACE or NCCRS. For credit to be awarded, the content of the exam must meet an outstanding Granite State College degree requirement. Credits acquired through testing cannot duplicate credits earned from other sources. The College limits on credit awarded for examination programs are for all of the sources listed combined.

Contact an Academic Advisor prior to taking any standardized examination to ensure that the examination selected is not duplicative of course work completed or projected, or of other tests.

CLEP (College Level Examination Program)

Students who take a CLEP exam and do not receive a passing score must wait 90 days before retaking the exam. For detailed information about CLEP exams, visit A current list of available CLEP Subject Examinations can be found at

DSST Exams

Students who take a DSST exam and do not receive a  passing score must wait 90 days before retaking the exam. A current list of DSST exams and related fees can be found at Granite State College Code: 8478

Test Centers

CLEP exams are given regularly at the Concord instructional location. Register and pay online at or contact a test center for additional information.

Test Center and Code
Concord 603.513.1398
CLEP 3814

The fee for exams taken at the above sites is $105 per CLEP exam. The fee is subject to change without notice. Register 30 days in advance of the testing date. To request an official copy of a CLEP transcript, contact:

CLEP Transcript Services
PO Box 66001
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600

Excelsior College Examinations (UEXCEL)

UEXCEL exams must be taken with Pearson VUE. Test centers can be located at A current list of Excelsior College Exams can be found at There are limitations to the total number of times an exam can be retaken, as well as a waiting period between attempts.

Cost varies depending on exam. Credit will be awarded based on the recommendation of the American Council on Education at the time the exam was taken. Upper level credit may be awarded for some exams.

Portfolio Assessment Options

Portfolio options are available to demonstrate college-level learning acquired through training and/or life experiences. Credit can be requested for specific Granite State College courses, or based on courses from other regionally-accredited institutions, or developed by the student with college-level learning outcomes. The following degree requirements are not eligible for portfolio assessment: Integrative Capstones; CRIT 602 Advanced Critical Analysis and Strategic Thinking (4 s.h.) and IDIS 601 Interdisciplinary Seminar (4 s.h.); culminating teaching experiences; and field-based courses.

Experiential learning portfolios are developed in CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.). In that course, students will work closely with their instructor to develop a portfolio that demonstrates prior learning usually based on the learning outcomes of a specific course needed for a student's degree completion. The portfolio will then be assessed by a trained evaluator and he or she will determine if the student has displayed evidence of prior learning and if credit may be awarded. After successful completion of CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.), students may submit additional credit requests for evaluation. If submitted within one year of completion of CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.), no portfolio evaluation fees will apply. If submitted after one year of completion of CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.), an evaluation fee of $350 per course equivalent credit request will apply. All credit requests must be submitted within three years of successful completion of CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.). CRIT 603 Critical Inquiry in Prior Learning Assessment (4 s.h.) can be repeated no more than once after withdrawal or failure. Portfolio assessment of prior learning is not available to students who are within 16 credits of degree completion.

If students have completed a prior learning portfolio and received credit at a regionally accredited college or  university that isn’t a member of the Consortium for the Assessment of College Equivalence (CACE), they may submit their portfolio to Granite State College for assessment. Students choosing this option will be given information about the required portfolio components, evidence validity criteria, and the standards for college-level equivalence. Once the portfolio has been submitted to the College, the Director of Liberal Arts will provide an initial assessment of whether the portfolio meets the minimum requirements to be sent to a faculty evaluator. The student will assume responsibility for any further development of the portfolio based on this initial review prior to sending the portfolio for faculty assessment. The prior learning assessment fee will be charged at the point the student notifies the college that he/she wants the portfolio to be sent for evaluation.

Prior Learning Credit Limits

The College will apply a maximum of 30 prior learning credits towards an Associate Degree and 60 credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree for any combination of the prior learning credit options. These credits do not count in the residency requirement for degree programs. For the most up-to-date information on the College’s Prior Learning options, please visit

Note: Prior learning credit requests should be made within six months of acceptance to maximize potential credit awarded.


No fee is charged to award credit for standardized exams, training evaluated by the American Council on Education, or the National College Credit Recommendation Service or the Consortium on the Assessment of College Equivalents (CACE). A test administration fee of $25 applies to CLEP exams administered by Granite State College. Please refer to regarding the purchase of CLEP exams. A PLA fee of $350 is charged for credit awarded for workplace training and occupational credentials that Granite State College has previously evaluated and preapproved for credit. For up to one calendar year after admission to the College, the PLA fee covers multiple submissions of documentation. After one calendar year, a fee of $350 per training experience or credential submitted will be charged.

Financial Aid may be used to pay the PLA fee if the student has financial aid eligibility, submits an Award Revision Request Form indicating their intent to use financial aid for this purpose, and completes the Federal Title IV Financial Aid Payment Authorization Form.