Not all learning happens within university walls. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process used to evaluate and provide college credit for the knowledge you have obtained through areas outside of the academic setting.
Finding the time to complete a degree program can be a challenge—but don’t let it be a deterrent. Earning credit for subjects you have already mastered—whether in a job training, in the military, in the work place, or a variety of other settings—will shorten the time required for your degree. If eligible, you can reduce time to completion by earning credit that can be applied to your degree. For many GSU degree plans, you may be able to utilize PLA credits in lieu of elective coursework.
Compared to the current rate of tuition for one credit-hour, PLA fees are approximately 1/3* the price of a traditional credit-hour (*not including a one-time processing fee).
Articulate the value of your life experiences.
One of the greatest—and least obvious—benefits of PLA is the opportunity to translate learning that has occurred outside of the classroom into coherent outcomes related to their academic experience. Your life experiences have taught you a lot—now learn how to demonstrate that in academic language.
Am I eligible for PLA?
Take our self-assessment to determine if your prior learning experiences may qualify for PLA.
If it does not appear that you qualify, but you are still curious, contact PLA Assessment Coordinator,
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I earn course credit through PLA?
- There are two ways to earn PLA credit: Credit by Evaluation (CBE) or Credit by Portfolio. Learn about both ways to earn credit here.
How much credit will I receive for ten years in my career?
- Credit is awarded for the demonstration of college-level learning and not experience alone, so you submit your training transcripts, develop a portfolio. Talk with your adviser about the best option for you.
How long will my credit evaluation take, and how much will it cost?
- The PLA Assessment Coordinator will advise you on the timelines and assessment fees twice over the course of your assessment: when you first decide to take the project on, and again when your portfolio has been submitted for evaluation. Because a content expert is needed to assess your portfolio, timelines and costs may vary based on availability and area of expertise.
Am I a good candidate for PLA credit?
Which degree plans accept PLA credit?
- Many academic programs at GSU, both undergraduate and graduate, accept credits evaluated through PLA. PLA students commonly enter programs such as Business, IT, Computer Science, and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Because PLA credit can count toward elective credit, you may be eligible to transfer it to a program that is not directly related to the subject matter. Exceptions do occur when programs do not have elective credits available.
Can I get PLA credit as a graduate student?
- Yes. GSU Policy 36 states, “Graduate level credit for life experience may only be applied under special circumstances, upon the recommendation of the program faculty and approval by the Dean and Provost.”
What are the residency requirements?
- You must take a minimum of 24 hours of GSU courses—online or in-person—to complete your residency requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
If I am not awarded credit after a PLA evaluation, will I be responsible for the costs?
- Yes. The fees covering the cost of the assessment are required regardless of the assessment outcome.
Can I use PLA to help me get credit for college credits that did not transfer to GSU?
- In some instances, you may be able to petition for PLA credit in lieu of college credits that were not transfer-worthy. Please speak with the GSU PLA coordinator to learn more.