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50-State Comparison: Prior Learning Assessment Policies

This resource focuses on Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) policies, which refer to a process to award academic credit for prior learning. This process involves assessing the learning and workforce skills a student has acquired through life and employment experience. Assessments can be performed using a variety of tools such as a portfolio-based review, or internally or externally developed examinations. If the college or university determines the student’s knowledge to be equivalent to college-level learning, the student may be awarded academic credit.

Education Commission of the States researched PLA policies in all states to create this comprehensive resource. Click on the questions below for 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach PLA policies. Or, choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

A state received a “yes” if its policy requires or allows each public higher education institution or entire postsecondary system to award credit for prior learning. System-level initiatives, programs and collaborations are excluded from this review.

Key Takeaways

  • Twenty-four states have PLA policies.
  • Nine states provide guidance regarding PLA-related costs and fees charged to students.
  • Eleven states address limits on the number of credits that may be awarded for prior learning.

50-State Comparisons

  1. Does the state or statewide postsecondary system have a PLA policy?
  2. Does the state provide guidance to students on PLA costs or fees?
  3. Does the policy allow or define limits for credit earned via PLA?
  4. Are PLA credits transferable?
  5. All data points

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Dec. 4, 2017

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