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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credit

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) awards credit for prior learning assessment based on board policy 9-42 of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. For FRCC PLA information please view here.

Prior Learning is non-college or experience-based learning attained outside the sponsorship of accredited post-secondary education institutions. 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 obtained as a result of their prior learning experience. Although PLA Credit is tuition-free, a fee will be assessed based upon assessment method. These methods include:


Standardized Tests

  - College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

  - Excelsior College, UExcel / Formerly American College Testing Proficiency Program (ACT-PEP/RCE/EXCELSIOR)

  - DSST, formerly Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES)

  - Advanced Placement (AP)

  - International Baccalaureate (IB)

Institutional Challenge Examinations

  - Examination equivalent to the comprehensive exam that assesses all competencies/outcomes of the course.

  - Examination may be written, oral, demonstration or a combination of all three

  - Evaluated by a designated subject matter expert

Published Guides

  - American Council on Education (ACE) for military training & experiences

  - ACE (non-collegiate) for industrial and corporate training programs

  - Other published guides developed by nationally recognized organizations

Portfolio Assessment
Portfolio requirements and assessment determined by college faculty for work or life experiences that meet the following criteria: 

  - The learning is demonstrable
  - The learning includes both theoretical and applied components
  - The learning is at the college level, and
  - The learning is equivalent to a specific college course or courses in the student’s program of study

Faculty Evaluated Industry and Workplace Credit

Faculty evaluation of non-collegiate training programs that result in industry certifications, professional licensure, apprenticeship completion, and other workplace skill development.

Note: Students, staff and faculty can learn more about the Colorado Community College System PLA Credit System by visiting https://www.cccs.edu/policies-and-procedures/system-presidents-procedures/sp-9-42-prior-learning-assessment-credit/.

Standards for Awarding Credit for PLA

- Academic credit will only be awarded for those courses directly applicable to curriculum requirements at FRCC and to the student’s declared certificate or degree program listed in the college’s catalog.

- A student may not apply for PLA credit for a course in which they are currently enrolled.

- All work assessed for PLA must meet or exceed "C" level work. Minimum cut-off scores on standardized tests are also established to meet the "C" grade level. A student must take the course if they do not meet the minimum cut-off score.

- A student may use PLA to fulfill all degree/certificate graduation requirements except for the mandatory 25% residency requirement.

- If pursuing a transfer degree (A.A., A.S., or A.G.S. Articulated degree program), PLA will be granted for the purpose of satisfying graduation requirements. Because credits may not transfer to all colleges, contact your transferring college to determine their PLA requirements.

PLA Policies and Procedures

To be eligible for PLA credit, a student must be enrolled in a program of study with a declared major.

For all prior learning methods, the course number, course title, number of semester hours, and grade of "PLA" will be posted on the student transcript.

The maximum PLA credit applicable toward graduation is up to the residency requirement of the college from any combination of all PLA methods.

Credit may be awarded for GT courses. Public four-year institutions may recalculate scores received on National Standardized Exams.

If PLA is applied to the AA, AS, or AGS-Articulated degree requirements, transferability and transfer guarantees may be affected. Consult your advisor and the receiving institution for details.

All documentation and files regarding a student's prior learning credit will be maintained by FRCC.

A student wishing to appeal a prior learning assessment credit decision should follow the transfer credit appeal process outlined in this catalog.

Prior learning shall be evaluated only if requested by the student.

Transferability of PLA Credit

Students intending to transfer to another community college in the state system may have their prior learning credits transferred to that college as long as the credits are applicable to the student’s declared certificate/degree program at the new college.

Students intending to transfer to other collegiate institutions not within the state community college system should contact that institution to determine the transferability of credit awarded by prior learning assessment.

Secondary to Post-Secondary Articulation Agreements

FRCC through CCCS has established agreements with local school districts, businesses and Colorado four-year colleges/universities to award college credit for approved and selected courses and programs completed both inside and outside the college.