Policy Statement

To create guidelines, standards, and procedures that enable students to enrich or accelerate their programs of study by eliminating duplication of learners’ educational efforts through the awarding of credit for prior learning.


This policy is issued pursuant to the Minnesota State College and University (Minnesota State) System Policy 3.35 (Credit for Prior Learning Policy) and Procedure 3.35.1 (Credit for Prior Learning Procedure). The South Central College Academic Affairsand Standards Council (AASC) will provide direction regarding Credit for Prior Learning.


All Students


CPL evaluation opportunities are available to learners who demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities. These may be acquired through work, professional training, military training, and other learning domains which are assessed by academically sound and rigorous processes. Credentialed faculty in each discipline will establish the course criteria and assess fulfillment to determine credit awarded.

Major Sections

Subpart A. Guiding Principles

  • CPL credits will be applicable to a course or academic award offered at South Central College.
  • Assessment of prior learning, including the course criteria, is the responsibility of credentialed faculty in the academic discipline of the course(s) or academic award.
  • Students initiate the CPL process by documenting how their learning achieves course competencies.
  • While CPL is typically pursued prior to enrolling in a course, upon non-successful completion of a course, CPL may be pursued. If CPL credit is approved after non-successful course completion, it will be recorded on the transcript as a repeated course per SCC Repeating a Course policy.
  • CPL credits should be awarded only for college-level learning that balances theory and practical application.
  • Current best practices will be used in assessing prior learning.
  • CPL assessment will be officially documented to ensure academic integrity, consistency and transparency.
  • Information, criteria and processes for CPL will be available and easily accessible.
  • Students and faculty will evaluate the CPL process in support of continuous improvement; results will be publicly available.
  • CPL assessment may be limited by availability of credentialed faculty, space, lab, and materials.

Subpart B. Standards and Criteria

Section 1. Standards

Participating faculty, program leaders and division chairs will use the following standards for assessing CPL credits:

  • CPL credit will be awarded only for learning and not for experience.
  • CPL credit will be awarded only for college-level learning.
  • CPL credit will be awarded only for learning that matches the competencies of a current course in a student’s declared program of study.
  • CPL credit recommendations must be made by credentialed faculty in the academic discipline of the course(s) or academic award and approved by academic deans.
  • CPL credit will be awarded only for non-credit learning which has occurred outside of college coursework.
  • All material submitted for review of CPL will be considered the property of the College.

Section 2. Criteria Admittance/Enrollment

  • A student must be fully admitted to South Central College before any Credit for Prior learning can be awarded.
  • CPL credits will not count toward the enrollment of a specific term, nor will credit be counted in determining part-time or full-time student enrollment status.
    Type of credits:
    • CPL may be applied toward courses in certificate, diploma and degree programs only for the purpose of satisfying graduation requirements.
    Number of credits:
    • The maximum number of CPL credits awarded will be determined on a programmatic basis not to exceed two-thirds of the program award requirements.
    Grading/Grade Point Average:
    • Letter grades will be assigned by SCC credentialed faculty for each CPL credit course per SCC Grading and Grade Change Policy consistent with the current grading method of the course.
    • Credit granted for Standardized Examinations will be recorded as a passing grade (P).
    • CPL credits are not included in calculating a student’s GPA.
    Cost/Tuition Structure:
    • Fees charged for CPL should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.
    • Fees allocated to the maintenance of the CPL program may include costs of administration, marketing, transcription services and compensation for the assessmentof the credit.
    • A fee shall not be charged for analysis and awarding of credit for training delivered by the United States military as found in Minnesota State Board Policy 5.11 and Procedure 5.11.1 Tuition and Fees.
    Financial Assistance:
    • Assessments completed by institution faculty and recorded as resident credits may qualify for financial aid, according to laws governing federal financial aid.
    • CPL credits awarded through internal assessment will count for institutional residency and toward graduation residency requirements as found in Minnesota State Board Policy 3.36 and Procedure 3.36.1 Academic Programs.
    • If the evaluation for competency demonstration is unsuccessful, the student may challenge the decision as soon as the next semester. Students are limited to two attempts at CPL per course.
    • The CPL process may be initiated at any time.

Section 3. Procedures and Practices

Procedures and practices pursuant to this policy shall be developed, maintained and publicized and be consistent with this policy and Minnesota State Policy 3.35 (Credit for Prior Learning Policy) and Procedure 3.35.1 (Credit for Prior Learning Procedure).

Section 4. Transferability

SCC will accept the transfer of CPL credits earned at another regionally accredited institution so long as those credits apply to a requirement of the student’s academic award.

Section 5. Acceptance of Prior Learning Transfer Credits

South Central College will allow the transfer of credits earned through Prior Learning Assessment at another Minnesota State institution so long as those credits correlate to a specific course that is required for the student’s program major, and given that the course in question is equivalent to a required South Central College course.

Section 6. Compliance with Legislation

South Central College shall grant credit for prior learning for a veteran’s military training or service in compliance with Subd.2 of Minnesota Statute 197.775 Higher Education Fairness.

Section 7. Data Collection and Reporting

SCC will collect, track, evaluate and report the awarding of CPL.

Section 8. Information Dissemination

SCC will provide accessible and timely information to prospective and admitted students regarding opportunities for credit for prior learning.

Section 9. Faculty and Staff Development

Personnel involved in CPL will receive preparation for engagement with the institution’s CPL Program Policies and Procedures. Professional development will include benefits, opportunities, assessment tools, and associated processes of SCC credit for prior learning.

Section 10. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed and modified as appropriate through the Academic Affairs and Standards Council process.

List of related policies or procedures

3.35 Credit for Prior Learning policy (System)
3.35.01 Credit for Prior Learning - External Assessments procedure (System)
3.35.02 Credit for Prior Learning – Internal College/University Assessments (System)
3.35.03 Military Courses and Military Occupations procedure (System)
5.11 Tuition and Fees policy (System)
5.11.01 Tuition and Fees procedure (System)
3.21 Undergraduate Course and Credit Transfer and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum policy (System)
3.21.01 Undergraduate Course and Credit Transfer and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum procedure (System)
3.29 College and University Transcripts policy (System)
3.29.01 College and University Transcripts procedure (System)
3.36 Academic Programs policy (System)
3.36.01 Academic Programs procedure (System) 3.0005 Grading policy
3.0005.0001 Grading procedure


Date of Last Review: 4/9/2020