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Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning (CPL) is college credit awarded for validated college-level skills and knowledge gained outside of a college classroom. CPL may be earned for eligible courses approved by MiraCosta College for students who satisfactorily pass an authorized assessment. An authorized assessment is a process that faculty undertake with a student to ensure the student demonstrates sufficient mastery of the course outcomes as set forth in the course outline of record. “Sufficient mastery” means having attained a level of knowledge, skill, and information equivalent to that demonstrated generally by students who receive the minimum passing grade in the course.

Grading for CPL is in accordance with MiraCosta College's regular grading system and all related policies and procedures (see Grades & Grading Policies). Credit earned by an assessment of prior learning will be clearly annotated on the student’s academic record. 

Students who are veterans or active duty members of the armed forces, who hold industry-recognized credentials, or who request credit for a course based on their prior learning will be referred to the college’s appropriate authority for assessment upon completion of their educational plan. 

Units earned for CPL cannot be counted for federal financial aid payment purposes but may be counted for pace of progression and maximum unit calculations. 

Determination of Eligibility for Credit for Prior Learning 

Credit may be awarded for prior experience or prior learning only for individually identified courses with subject matter similar to that of the student’s prior learning and only for a course listed in the MiraCosta College Catalog. Award of credit will be made to general education or program requirements when possible and to electives for students who do not require additional general education or program credits to meet their goals. Units for which credit is given shall not be counted in determining the 12 semester hours of credit in residence required for an associate degree. 

Approved Methods for Awarding Credit for Prior Learning 

Students may demonstrate proficiency in a course eligible for CPL and receive college credit through the approved alternative methods for awarding credit listed below: 

  • Achievement of a satisfactory score on any of the following standardized examinations: Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP).*
  • Evaluation of Joint Services Transcripts (JST).*
  • Satisfactory completion of an institutional examination, known as credit by examination, administered by discipline faculty.* 
  • Evaluation of industry-recognized credential documentation.
  • Evaluation of a student portfolio or other assessment approved or conducted by proper authorities of the college. 

*AP, IB, CLEP, JST, and credit by exam can be used by MiraCosta College to certify specific CSU and/or UC general education requirements. 

Credit for Standardized Examinations 

Advanced Placement (AP) Examination Program

MiraCosta grants advanced placement and advanced credit toward its associate degree to high school students who attain scores of 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams administered by the College Entrance Examination Board. Credit earned through an advanced placement exam will be specifically notated as such on the student's academic record.

Students may earn a minimum of 3 semester units of credit toward their associate degree at MiraCosta for each AP exam satisfactorily passed while in high school. AP credit can also be used to satisfy California State University and University of California transfer and general education admission requirements. The Advanced Placement Guide identifies how specific AP exams can be used for these purposes.

High school students who intend to participate in this program should make the necessary arrangements with their high schools and should request when they take the AP exams that their test scores be sent to the Admissions and Records Office. To obtain credit for advanced placement at MiraCosta, students should make an appointment to see a counselor. In addition, students intending to transfer to four-year institutions should consult a MiraCosta counselor or the individual university regarding AP credit policies.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Examination Program

MiraCosta grants  general education and elective credit toward the associate degree for most higher level exams passed with a minimum score of 5; however, individual departments may also determine course equivalency. Students intending to transfer to four-year institutions should consult with the individual university regarding its credit policy. The International Baccalaureate Guide identifies how specific exams can be used for these purposes.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

MiraCosta may award credit for successful completion of certain CLEP general examinations and subject examinations. These examinations are especially valuable for people whose learning experiences have taken place primarily outside formal classrooms. The CLEP Guide identifies how specific exams can be used for these purposes.

Credit for U.S. Military Service/Training 

MiraCosta College grants experience credit of three elective units for submission of any DD214, 295, or other military transcript. Additionally, active duty military personnel and U.S. military veterans may satisfy the Self-Development general education (GE) requirement from MiraCosta College's GE pattern (Plan A) or the California State University GE-Breadth pattern (Plan B) through submission of a military transcript. Military service school training will be evaluated and awarded associate degree credit in accordance with the recommendations contained in the American Council on Education (ACE) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces. In most circumstances, the units awarded will be elective credit. Students may also receive credit for USAFI/Dantes subject standardized tests and USAFI courses by submitting an official transcript to the Admissions and Records Office. Students should submit a verified copy of their DD214/military transcript to the Admissions and Records Office for evaluation. 

Credit by Examination

Credit by examination is a process whereby discipline faculty administer a locally developed exam to determine whether a student can demonstrate sufficient mastery of the learning outcomes of that course. The determination to offer credit by examination rests solely on the discretion of the discipline faculty. A separate examination shall be conducted for each course for which credit is to be granted. 

Credit by exam will be offered only under the following conditions:   

  1.  A departmental or program credit by institutional examination policy is on file with Student Services.   
  2. An instructor who has been designated by departmental statement as eligible to give credit by institutional examination in the course agrees that such credit by institutional examination is appropriate. The instructor is responsible for selecting an appropriate exam. 
  3. The student must be currently enrolled at the college and in good standing (see Academic Progress, Probation & Probation Appeal Process).  
  4. An examination may be taken only one time for a specific subject and will not be given in a subject previously completed unsatisfactorily (D, F, or NP).  
  5. The deadline for returning a completed Credit for Prior Learning Assessment petition to the Admissions and Records Office is Friday of the sixth week of classes during a regular semester or the third week of classes during summer intersession.  
  6.  Students have until the 75% deadline to withdraw their intent to take the exam; after that, they must take the exam or they will automatically be issued a grade of “F.” 
  7. Credit by institutional examination will generally not be offered for a course the student is currently enrolled in or for a course that is a prerequisite to a more advanced course in the same subject for which the student has already received college credit.  
  8. A maximum of 15 units will be granted as credit by institutional examination at MiraCosta College. Note: This number does not include CLEP or other similar standardized tests.   
  9. Credit by institutional examination will be recorded on the student’s permanent record only if department and institutional policy has been followed.   
  10. Charges will be assessed for credit by institutional examination. The fee will not exceed the enrollment fee associated with enrollment in the course for which the student seeks credit by examination. Credit by institutional exam is covered by the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program, if eligible. 
  11. Credits acquired by examination are not applicable to meeting of such unit-load requirements as Selective Service deferment, Veterans, or Social Security benefits.  

Credit Using Industry-Recognized Credentials 

The determination to offer CPL using industry-recognized credential documentation rests solely on the discretion of the discipline faculty. Students shall receive credit if the discipline faculty who normally teach the course for which credit is to be granted determine the industry certification adequately measures mastery of the course outcomes as set forth in the course outline of record. Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in a course eligible for CPL using industry certification and receive college credit must file a Credit for Prior Learning Assessment petition to the Admissions and Records Office by the Friday of the sixth week of classes during a regular semester or the third week of classes during summer intersession.

Credit Using Other Assessments 

The determination to offer CPL using other types of assessment rests solely on the discretion of the discipline faculty. The nature and content of other types of assessment, such as student portfolios or skills demonstrations, shall be determined by faculty in the discipline who normally teach the course for which credit is to be granted. Students shall receive credit if the faculty determine that the assessment adequately measures sufficient mastery of the course outcomes as set forth in the course outline of record. Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in a course eligible for CPL and receive college credit using a faculty-approved assessment method must file a Credit for Prior Learning Assessment petition to the Admissions and Records Office by the Friday of the sixth week of classes during a regular semester or the third week of classes during summer intersession. 

(Source: MCCD Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 4235. All MiraCosta College board policies and administrative procedures are located on the Board of Trustees webpage.)

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Oceanside, CA 92058
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Cardiff, CA 92007
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Carlsbad, CA 92011
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