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.

You also have the option to submit a portfolio for evaluation by a content expert (faculty member or professional) for a credit award determination. Before beginning
The highest portfolio successes come from students who enroll and complete the online course “IDSS 3100: Writing the Prior Learning Portfolio”, in which you will learn how to structure and develop a portfolio that demonstrates your prior learning. You may also work directly with the PLA coordinator to complete the portfolio.
All students completing Credit by Portfolio will be required to purchase Earn College Credit for What You Know by the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

  1. Inquire about PLA through a GSU representative (your admissions advisor, academic advisor, faculty member, other staff, or PLA coordinator).
  2. Complete an advising session with the PLA coordinator to determine your eligibility for the PLA portfolio and obtain information on GSU policies and regulations pertaining to the PLA portfolio process, including evaluation timelines, restrictions and all applicable fees.
  3. Enroll in the online course “IDSS 3300: Writing the Prior Learning Portfolio” (optional).
  4. Purchase Earn College Credit for What You Know by the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
  5. Building your portfolio:

If you have enrolled in the online course, you will receive step-by-step instruction on completing your portfolio. At the end of the course, you will be able to submit your portfolio for evaluation by a content expert (faculty member and/or professional).
If you have not enrolled in the course, you will be provided with additional materials from the PLA coordinator to assist with the process. You are encouraged to provide ongoing progress updates to the PLA coordinator for assistance.

  1. Once your portfolio is complete, the PLA coordinator will complete a final review and make suggestions for revisions and improvement, if applicable. Again, you will be advised on the submission timelines, policy restrictions, and fees.
  2. Submit two copies of your completed PLA portfolio to the PLA coordinator: a printed and bound copy and an electronic copy (i.e., .pdf, .docx file).
  3. Based on the discipline of your portfolio content, the PLA coordinator will enlist a content expert (faculty member and/or professional) to evaluate the portfolio.

Once a content expert is chosen, they are provided the printed copy of the student’s PLA portfolio along with a Supplemental Pay Form and internal accounting documents that they must complete and sign along with their department chair.

  1. You will be notified via email that the evaluation process has begun and an invoice will be created on your behalf and forwarded to the Cashier’s office.
  2. Once processed and invoiced, you will be billed directly through your GSU student account for payment. (Payment of processing and evaluation fees is required regardless of the evaluation outcome.)
  3. Once the evaluation is complete, you will be notified of the results via email.
    1. If credit is awarded, you will be provided with a timeline for credit transcription and advised on next steps.
    2. If an award is deferred citing revisions, you will be provided with feedback from the PLA coordinator based on the evaluator’s recommendations, along with a timeframe for completing revisions and resubmitting.
    3. If credit is denied, students are provided with next steps.

  4. The PLA portfolio is returned to the PLA coordinator at the completion of the evaluation process. This portfolio is then retained by the coordinator for a period of five years after the evaluation has been completed. Once the period ends, all efforts are made to return the portfolio back to you. If unsuccessful, the portfolio documents will be destroyed.