South Central College (SCC) is now making it easier for individuals to save time and money by earning college credit for what they already know. Through SCC’s Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program, individuals may receive credit for college-level knowledge gained outside the traditional academic environment through work experience and job skills, employer training programs, volunteer or community service, open source courses and self-study, or military education and occupations.

By eliminating the need to take duplicative courses for knowledge they already have, CPL participants are able to spend less on their education, accelerate completion time and increase their chances of graduating.  

“South Central College values the diversity of our students, which includes unique experiences and intellectual pursuits that lead to the acquisition of knowledge that may be at the college level,” said Dr. Annette Parker, president of SCC. “We believe individuals who have already mastered particular course matter should be able to receive credit for that course.” Students applying for CPL demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter by completing an assessment conducted by faculty.

While the CPL program is not new to SCC, the process has been streamlined for participants. One of the steps the college’s faculty members are taking to further enhance this experience for students is the development of a menu of courses for which students can earn CPL, with ready-to-go assessments designed for easy implementation. This past spring, agribusiness instructor Pete Neigebauer and communication studies instructor Tracy Murphy competed in the Minnesota State “Shark Tank” competition and were awarded a $25,000 grant to begin this project. South Central College has also hired a dedicated CPL and Transfer Coordinator, Kris Lovstad, to provide personalized service to students wishing to pursue credit for their previous knowledge.  These enhancements will enable many more students to take advantage of CPL. 

Even before the improvements, SCC students like Jennifer Epper and Jordan Schoener found benefit from CPL.  “Getting college credit for what I learned in industry and in the military enabled me to take fewer classes each semester, work a full-time job and still get my degree on time,” says Schoener, who graduated from SCC’s machining program this past spring.

Epper, who has served as the Franchise Marketing Manager for Buffalo Wild Wings in Mankato for nine years and is currently in the marketing management program at SCC, echoes the benefits, “With the Credit for Prior Learning program, I was able to complete my degree a year earlier than anticipated. Returning to college as a nontraditional student was pretty intimidating, but it was great to get credit for all my years of experience in my current job. Qualifying for this program has also saved me money on tuition, which is great for nontraditional students with families. I am now ready to advance my career, and South Central College Credit for Prior Learning has made that possible.”