Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) works to ensure that knowledge and skills acquired by students prior to coming to Penn State, or outside of their Penn State classroom, are consistently evaluated and awarded credit across Penn State’s colleges and campuses. Some examples of prior learning credits awarded to students include transfer credits, credits from Advanced Placement exams, and credit by portfolio. To increase student access and success, PLA strives to ensure that Penn State appropriately awards college-level credentials in a way that upholds the academic integrity and excellence of programs that lead to a Penn State degree. Earning credit for prior learning may shorten time to degree and reduce tuition costs.

Key responsibilities of this office include:

  • provide leadership for University-wide efforts in prior learning assessment and serve as the primary point of contact on prior learning assessment for students, faculty, and staff
  • develop collaborative processes for implementation and administration of prior learning assessment
  • work with faculty and professional staff to develop criteria, tools, and record keeping for prior learning assessment
  • promote a widespread understanding of prior learning assessment policies and processes and the role that prior learning can play in student success by working with Undergraduate Admissions, the Registrar, and advising staff
  • plan and coordinate activities and communications on prior learning assessment opportunities to prospective and current students, faculty, and staff