Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Credit for Prior Learning POLICY


Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is a process that enables learners to demonstrate what they have learned and translate that learning into college credit.  CPL validates knowledge acquired through life experience, work experience, military experience, civic engagement, individual study and reading, and participation in classes or training sponsored by business and industry, professional organizations or government agencies.  Credit is awarded for college-level knowledge gained from experience and not for the experience itself. College-level learning is validated through CPL when learners prove their mastery of the knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities in a specific area of study offered by the college.




Advanced Placement Credit

Advanced Placement Credit refers to college-level examinations delivered by a third-party vendor that allow students to receive college credits in certain courses.  Types of Advanced Placement Examinations accepted by the college are:


College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP assesses proficiency in general education through 33 tests in five subject areas including mathematics, writing, communications and science.  Most CLEP examinations cover lower level and introductory knowledge in these subject areas.



DSST examinations test knowledge in both lower- and upper-level college material through 38 tests in six subject areas.


Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP) exams are a series of examinations developed by the College Board for AP High School classes in 19 subject areas. Students who have taken a College Board AP Credit Examination must have scored at least a “3” to receive appropriate course credit.


Military Training and Experience Credit

Students who have achieved military education and training credit may apply for acceptance of these credits towards the appropriate degree.  Students must be able to provide a DD Form 295 and DD Form 214 (where applicable) to apply for Military Training and Experience Credit.


Professional Certification Credit

For courses in which professional certifications are utilized as an assessment tool, students may receive college credit for a course based on possessing such professional certification.  To receive credit, the student must provide the college with the appropriate documentation to validate the industry certification award.  The industry certification must have been received within the past 2 years.


Credit by Examination (CBE)

Any student who believes he/she is qualified for college credit through experience, previous training, or noncredit coursework may request a credit by examination.  This examination will be thorough and in keeping with the established goals and objectives of the course(s) and the overall program.  Theoretical knowledge will be tested by faculty recommendation through common acceptable measures (i.e., paper and pencil, computerized, etc.) with the possibility of a skills component.  Both written and skills testing may be required to insure “course rigor” is maintained and achieved.


Portfolio Assessment

A PLA portfolio is a detailed documentation illustrating college-level learning.  The documentation varies by course and may include: examples of documents developed or materials made (like a machined part) at work or during some civic engagement, a self-assessment, an essay or oral interview explaining knowledge and experience, awards and honors, and certifications showing completion of workshops or seminars offered by professional organizations, business and industry or government agencies.   Preparation and content of the portfolio are the responsibility of the student and must be sufficient in breadth and depth to validate the student’s stated learning and provide the evaluator(s) with qualitative evidence for evaluation.



1.       To apply for any CPL, the student must be eligible for admission to Copiah-Lincoln Community College as a student.

2.       No more than 75% of the total hours applicable toward a degree or certificate may be awarded through CPL. (NOTE: this percentage must be less than 75% based on SACSCOC policy that requires that students must earn 25% or more of credits applied toward the degree through the SACs accredited member’s own direct instruction.)


3.       All CPL must be awarded before the semester prior to graduation.


4.       CPL credits satisfy prerequisite requirements in the same manner that their course equivalencies do at the institution.


5.       A student who wishes to apply for CPL in a by-passed course must complete the process by midterm of the semester in which the student is enrolled in the more advanced course.


6.       A student may not apply for CPL for a course that he/she is currently enrolled in, for a course that they have previously taken with a failing grade, or for a course in which he/she has audited.


7.       For CPL in which a grade is not awarded, a “P” for pass is recorded on the student’s transcript by the college Registrar. No quality points are earned and such credit does not enter into grade point average determination.


8.       Copiah-Lincoln Community College accepts prior learning credits that have been awarded by other regionally accredited institutions as per the college’s transfer policy.  These credits have the same limitations in their use in meeting graduation requirements as do CPL credits earned at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and will be used in computing the total hours of CPL for which a student is eligible.


9.       A student who intends to use credit for CPL in a course in which a grade has not been awarded to meet degree requirements at another institution should check the requirements of the receiving institution.


10.   Students who have taken a College Board AP Credit Examination must have scored at least a “3” to receive appropriate course credit.  Students can earn up to (9) semester hours credit with no more than three (3) semester hours or one (1) course in a given subject-matter area. The student must request that an official transcript from the College Board be sent to the college Registrar.  When Advanced Placement Credit is considered for placement purposes, the placement decision is made by the Dean of Academic Instruction.


11.   A student who has not earned college-level credit in a subject area may take an Advanced Placement Examination (CLEP, DSST, or AP) for courses offered by Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Copiah-Lincoln Community College does not administer these exams.

12. Subject Area Examination (CLEP): Credit on the CLEP subject area examination will be awarded only to those students who make a scaled score of 50 or above. The appropriate Dean or Vice President, along with the appropriate Division Chairperson in consultation with the Registrar, will make the determination as to specific course credit to be granted on CLEP subject area examination. Credit appearing on another institution’s transcript will be accepted as transfer credit. The combined credit on all CLEP examinations, both general and subject area, may not exceed 24 semester hours. (Note: These credits may or may not be accepted by each university at their discretion.) Credit may be granted for successful completion of the general examination in the following manner.


English Composition.................... ENG 1113, ENG 1123.......................... 6

Social Science............................. History................................................ 3

                                                    Social Science Elective........................ 3

Humanities................................. ART 1113............................................ 3

                                                    Literature........................................... 3

Mathematics............................... MAT 1313........................................... 3

                                                    MAT Elective....................................... 3

                                                    MAXIMUM TOTAL............................... 24


13.  nrolled students in good academic standing must be pursuing a Copiah-Lincoln Community College associate’s degree, associate in applied science degree, or technical certificate to apply for Credit by Examination, Portfolio Assessment, or a Professional Certification Credit. Students may only apply for Credit by Examination, Professional Certification Credit, or Portfolio Assessment for courses directly applicable to curriculum requirements in the student’s declared certificate or degree program.

14.   Requisite criteria for evaluation for Professional Certification Credit are determined by the Dean of Career-Technical Education in partnership with department faculty.


15.   A student may apply for Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment only once in the same course.


16.   To award a grade for Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment, the appropriate faculty will develop a matrix or rubric that clearly identifies the published course learning outcomes and techniques for assessing mastery at the 100, 90, 80, and 75% levels.  This rubric or matrix will be affirmed by the Dean of the division. All work assessed by Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment must meet a minimum of 75% or ”C” level proficiency for all of the course learning outcomes and/or technical competencies.  This “C” level must be determined by the faculty to maintain academic integrity and rigor.





Students requesting Advanced Placement Credit must pay the non-refundable third party vendor fee for CLEP, DSST or AP plus.

Students requesting Military Education and Training Credit are not required to pay a processing fee.


Students requesting Professional Certification Credit, Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment Credit must pay a non-refundable fee of $50.00 per course prior to taking an examination or providing the appropriate documentation to the Dean of the division.





Copiah-Lincoln Community College has established a process for Credit for Prior Learning appeals.  

“CPL Appeals” involve the student, instructor and/or the Dean of the division in which the course is housed. Students may challenge: 1) being denied CPL credit; and/or 2) the grade awarded through Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment.

The student must apply for a CPL appeal before the end of the semester in which CPL was requested and/or the CPL examination was administered.  Any challenge or appeal that is submitted beyond the prescribed deadline will be denied.