Prior Learning Assessment Options

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the process of earning college credit for college-level learning acquired outside of the traditional college classroom such as work, professional training, volunteering and life experiences. 

The PLA program at Friends University is based on the standards established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). 

PLA Credit Options

  1. Prior Learning Portfolio Assessment: Students may demonstrate what skills and competencies they have learned from their training (including coursework completed at a non-regionally accredited college), work, volunteer and life experiences that are equivalent to course and/or college outcomes offered at Friends University in a prior learning portfolio. A prior learning portfolio is a compilation of written evidence that supports a student’s prior and experiential learning accomplishments in a specific subject area.
  2. Non-Collegiate: College credit is recognized for certain types of non-collegiate training programs (i.e. Center for Financial Training) and U.S. Military service where college credit recommendations have been established by the American Council on Education (ACE) and/or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS).
  3. Science Lab Credit: First Aid and/or CPR certifications have been pre-approved by CAPS faculty to satisfy the Natural Science Lab requirement. First Aid and CPR certifications are awarded at one (1) credit hour each. Multiple CPR credits will not be awarded; the maximum credit for CPR is one hour regardless of CPR category. Examples of classes in the CPR category are: Child CPR, Adult CPR, and CPR/AED. Valid documentation (card or certificate) must be submitted to the Director of Prior Learning.

PLA Policies and Procedures

  1. Students seeking portfolio credit are required to successfully complete the CAPS 202: Prior Learning Portfolio Development course prior to their initial petition for prior learning portfolio evaluation. Upon completion, credit is awarded for the course only. Completed prior learning portfolios must be submitted to the PLA office for evaluation.  
  2. Each Prior Learning Portfolio must address the learning outcomes of a course from Friends University and align with the student's educational goals.
  3. A separate portfolio must be submitted for each academic area (i.e. business, psychology, religion, etc.) where credit is being requested. 
  4. There is NO guarantee credit will be awarded for prior learning submissions.  
  5. The learning experience used for PLA must have occurred following high school. 
  6. The learning experience demonstrated must have the academic equivalence of college-level learning. Developmental/remedial courses and/or courses numbered below 100 are not comparable to college-level learning and may not be used as course equivalencies in the prior learning portfolio.
  7. Students seeking credit for military or other ACE and NCCRS evaluated programs are required to submit transcripts and request for PLA credit to the Director of Prior Learning Assessment for evaluation. The amount of credit recognized will vary in accordance with faculty review, the recommendations of the appropriate guide (ACE and NCCRS), and the educational policies of the University. The CAPS 202 Prior Learning Portfolio Development course is not required for ACE and NCCRS credit requests.  
  8. Students seeking credit for first aid and/CPR credit are required to submit a front/back copy of their card or a copy of their certification and request for PLA credit to the Director of Prior Learning Assessment. The CAPS 202 Prior Learning Portfolio Development course is not required for First Aid and CPR credit requests.  
  9. Students who are asked to submit additional information and/or make revisions to their prior learning portfolio by a faculty evaluator have four (4) weeks from the date of the notification to fulfill the request. If the student fails to do so, PLA credit will not be awarded. 
  10. Students who wish to appeal the denial of credit PLA evaluations must contact the Director of Prior Learning Assessment. The appeal must be in writing and address why they feel credit should have been awarded. PLA Appeals must be received within eight (8) weeks of the date of the denial notification. The Director of Prior Learning Assessment will discuss the appeal with the faculty evaluator and make the decision concerning the appeal. Students may be required to present additional evidence to verify learning. If the denial decision stands, students may submit an additional appeal to the Dean or Associate Dean of the College. The Dean or Associate Dean’s decision on a PLA credit denial is final. The student will be informed in writing of the decision for the requested appeal.
  11. PLA credit is recorded as Prior Learning Assessment/Portfolio credit with the course/subject title and number of credits awarded. Grades will not be issued for PLA credit; therefore, GPA will not be affected.
  12. There is a maximum of 30 hours allowed for PLA credit.
  13. PLA credit does not meet residency requirements and is usually not transferrable. 
  14. Courses being petitioned through PLA cannot duplicate coursework recorded on a student’s academic record. 
  15. Returning and former students who wish to submit prior learning are required to meet with the Director of PLA and establish a plan for requesting credit for prior learning. 
  16. PLA fees are assessed at $50 per credit hour and are non-refundable. PLA fees are charged for the assessment of learning and must be paid regardless of the assessment outcome. Payment is due at the time of submission. PLA assessment fees are not covered under financial aid. Students pay tuition for the CAPS 202 Portfolio Development course which is graded (A, B, C…) and eligible for financial aid. (Refer to Tuition and Fees in the University catalog). 

Points of Information

  • Assessment fees can be paid online at friends.edu/pay-online. Select Prior Learning Credit, check the appropriate box, enter a description or title and complete the student information section. Once payment is received, your PLA request will be processed for evaluation. Cash or check payments must be paid directly to the Friends University cashier. A payment form must be completed before cash or check payments can be made. Contact the PLA office to receive a copy of the payment form at 316-295-5885/316-295-5483 or email sanya@friends.edu
  • Course descriptions can be found at catalog.friends.edu/content.php?catoid=8&navoid=368
  • PLA submissions will be accepted May 1 through Aug. 15, but they might not be evaluated until the beginning of the fall semester due to limited faculty-evaluator availability during the summer months.
  • Allow four (4) to six (6) weeks (excluding portfolio amendment requests and requests for appeal) for processing and evaluation of PLA submissions. 
  • Students who plan to graduate in May must submit their PLA request no later than March 1.

Resources

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) 
Friends University 
Contact: Sanya Wiles, Director of PLA
2100 W. University Ave., Wichita, KS 67213
sanya@friends.edu
316-295-5885 or 1-800-794-6945, ext. 5885