St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Credit for Prior Learning Link☍

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Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: Academic

Department/Division: Academic Affairs

Effective Date: 07/01/2013

Last Updated: 11/28/2018

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff, Visitors

Responsible University Officer: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy Owner: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy Contact: Office of Records and Registration


St. Cloud State University will grant academic credit for nationally recognized examinations (Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DSST Program (formerly DANTES)) that demonstrate the student has achieved an appropriate level of competence, in accordance with state law. 

Additionally, St. Cloud State University will provide academic credit for learning acquired in military service (at levels consistent with ACE Guide recommendations) and offer opportunity to receive academic credit for prior learning attained through experience and through examination when specific eligibility criteria are satisfied as outlined in the Assessment of Prior Learning Procedure.  A student may earn a maximum of 16 semester hours by assessment of prior learning. 


Credit for Prior Experience

Academic credit may be provided for learning such as that gained through life experiences including employment, volunteer work or personal experience with a clear relationship to a specific course or courses offered by the university. The content of the prior learning need not be identical to the content of the course, but the student should be prepared to demonstrate that he/she has met the same learning goals. To receive credit the student must submit an application for Assessment of Prior Learning (see Supporting Documents) and meet the following criteria:

Entering first-year students are eligible to apply for assessment of prior learning if they have at least a “B” average (3.0) in high school in the area to be assessed and for all high school work.

All other students who meet the qualifications listed below may apply for assessment of prior learning.

  • The student must have at least a “B” average in any transfer credits or university courses taken in the area to be assessed.
  • A student must have completed at least one semester and fifteen credits at the university with at least a “C” average to be eligible to apply.
  • A student can be assessed only once for a particular course.
  • A student who has earned at least seventy-five semester credits may not earn credit by assessment of prior learning at the 100 or 200 level.  The level of learning must be sufficient to justify awarding of credit at the 300 or 400 level.

The following procedures will apply to all assessment of prior learning.

  1. The student completes an Assessment of Prior Learning application (see Supporting Documents), which includes a brief statement from the student as to the basis for believing that the prior learning may be deserving of academic credit.
  2. The student consults with the chair of the academic department most closely related to the area to be assessed. The final authority for determining whether a student may earn credit by assessment of prior learning rests with the chairperson of the department involved.
  3. If the department chair believes the assessment is appropriate, the chair or an appropriate faculty member completes the remainder of the form which will include a departmental plan for how the assessment will be carried out and a suggested faculty assignment. The department then submits the completed form to the Office of the Dean for comments and for approval of the suggested faculty appointment. If approved, the Dean then forwards the application to the Office for Academic Affairs. If not approved at the departmental or dean’s level, the department or dean returns the application to the student with reasons for denial.
  4. If the Office for Academic Affairs approves the application, the department and the student are notified and the assessment may proceed as planned. If the application is not approved, the department and the student will be notified about the reason(s) for the denial.

Please note:

  • Credit received through assessment of prior learning counts towards residency requirements.
  • Credits are graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.  Only satisfactory grades are entered on the student’s permanent record.
  • Credit applies to a specific course or courses as recommended by the department.  The department, through democratic procedures, is the final authority for determining whether assessment of prior learning is appropriate for any of its courses.
  • Credit received through assessment of prior learning may be applied to general education, a major or a minor, or to university electives as appropriate.
  • The assessment of prior learning need not take place in the same semester in which the student applies.  In fact, since the assessment may take some time, the student is urged to plan and apply well in advance of when the credits may be needed for graduation or to meet other requirements.
  • The charge for each credit awarded by assessment of prior learning will be one-third the cost of a regular credit.  All charges must be paid before credits will be awarded.

Examinations and Recognized Programs

Credit for learning assessed through completion of a recognized program or examination can be provided using the following criteria: 

Advanced Placement

St. Cloud State University is a formal participant in the advanced placement program administered by the College Entrance Examination Board. Credit may be awarded to any degree seeking student who provides evidence of earning a score of three or higher on an advanced placement examination.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is an internationally recognized program through which secondary students complete a comprehensive curriculum of rigorous study and demonstrate performance on IB examinations. The examination for the diploma covers six subjects, three or four of which must be at the higher level and others at the subsidiary level. Students may present a full IB diploma or a certificate recognizing specific higher level or subsidiary level test scores.

  • Students who complete an IB diploma with a score of 30 or higher shall be offered 8 semester credits for each of three higher level examinations, plus 2 semester credits for each of the subsidiary or standard exams, for a total of 30 semester credits.
  • Credits shall be transcribed according to the same rules as those used for Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Where a test covers material that is substantially similar to an existing university course, credit for the course shall be awarded.  Where a test covers material that is deemed to be college level but is not substantially similar to an existing course, elective credits shall be awarded in appropriate departments.
  • No credit shall be given for subsidiary or standard level exams other than those included as part of the IB diploma as described above, but students may receive credits as above for any higher level exams with a score of 5 or higher.

College Level Examination Program

St. Cloud State University awards credit for CLEP examinations in accordance with state law.  CLEP examination equivalents and credit awards for St. Cloud State University are listed online at: (  Students must achieve the minimum recommended score for the exam to receive credit.

Students wishing to take a CLEP exam on campus should contact the University Testing Center to make arrangements (320-308-5456).

DSST Program

The DSST Program, formerly known as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests-Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, allows individuals to receive college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom including reading, on-the-job training, or independent study.  Additional information is available at DSST (

Military Credit

St. Cloud State University awards credit for learning acquired in military service (and for completion of basic or recruit training) at levels consistent with the ACE Guide recommendations and/or those transcripts furnished by the Community College of the Air Force; Students with Army training should submit an AARTS transcript; Navy or Marines should submit a SMART transcript.

St. Cloud State University's requirements concerning the awarding of Advanced Standing credit for the completion of CLEP, DSST, ACT/PEP and USAFI, can be found in the current Serviceman's Opportunity Colleges Guide.

All transcripts should be submitted to:  Office of Records and Registration, AS 118, 720 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498. Students should also submit a copy of their CLEP or DSST score sheets to the Office of Records and Registration for evaluation. 

Additional information may be obtained from the Office of Records and Registration (320-308-2111) or from the Veterans Resource Center.


prior learning assessment, credit for life experience, recognition of prior learning, college-level examination, credit options, credit by examination, academic standing,


Supporting Documents (Forms, Instructions)

Nov 28 2018 12:49PM

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes



Any individual employed by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, its colleges and universities and the system office, including but not limited to all faculty, staff, administrators, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, residence directors and student employees.


All Persons or group of persons who:

  1. Are enrolled in one or more courses, either credit or non-credit, through a college or university; or
  2. Withdraw, transfer, or graduate after an alleged violation of the code of student conduct; or
  3. Are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the college or university; or
  4. Have been notified of their acceptance for admission or have initiated the process of application for admission or financial aid; or
  5. Are not college or university employees and are not enrolled in the institution but live in a college or university owned or controlled residence hall.


Responsible University Officer
   Gregory, Daniel D.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Gregory, Daniel D.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Bayerl, Susan J.
   Office of Records and Registration

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