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Prior Learning Assessment

We Change Lives

McNeese recognizes that students may acquire college-level learning from non-traditional means, such as corporate or military training, work experience, civic activity, and/or independent study in compliance with the policies of the University of Louisiana System. These system-wide policies are described on the ULS Prior Learning Assessments for Academic Credit policy page.

What is Prior Learning Assessment Credit?

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credit includes learning acquired from work and life experiences; community and volunteer extension courses; individual study and reading; civic, community and volunteer work; and participation in informal courses and in-service training sponsored by associations, business, government, and industry. PLA Credit is not awarded for EXPERIENCE, but for college-level LEARNING that entails knowledge, skills, and competencies that students have obtained as a result of their prior learning experience.

What Types of PLA Credit are Available?

  • McNeese State University’s Advance Placement Program
  • McNeese State University Credit Examinations
  • College Board Advanced Placement Program
  • College Level Exam (CLEP)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
  • Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
  • Military Training and Service
  • Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio
  • StraighterLine Courses

How is PLA credit awarded?

Credit earned via prior learning assessments is indicated as such on the student’s transcript. A grade of ‘P’, ‘P-CR’, or ‘CRD’ is awarded, which is included in earned hours, but not in the computation of any GPA or determination of academic standing. The applicability of prior learning assessment credit to a degree is determined by the student’s academic department.

Does PLA count toward TOPS, Scholarships and Financial Aid Requirements?

Credit earned through any prior learning assessment program does not count toward the TOPS award continuation requirements of 24 earned credit hours per academic year. Credit earned through PLA does not count toward any scholarships that specify a number of credit hours earned. PLA credit does not count as hours attempted for Federal Financial Aid.

How much PLA credit can I earn?

A maximum of 45 credit hours of non-traditional credit, including, but not limited to, extension credit, correspondence credit, and credit from prior learning assessments, may be used toward a bachelor’s degree; a maximum of 24 credit hours of non-traditional credit may be counted toward an associate degree.

Which PLA credit is right for me?

To ensure that credit for a PLA will be counted toward a degree, you should always check with your academic advisor or department head. For some courses a student must obtain approval in writing from his/her advisor and department head before registering for the course and must take the final examination under the supervision of the Office of Testing Services. After a correspondence course is completed, the student should request the registrar of the college from which the course was taken to send an official transcript of credits to the Office of the Registrar at McNeese.