Credit for experiential learning allows adult students to save money and graduate sooner

News Date: 
Fri. 03/14/2014

Most students who start or return to college as adults bring a wealth of experiences and knowledge with them, including professional training, volunteering or life experience. This knowledge and experience can translate into college credit so students may save money and graduate sooner. 

The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program in Friends University’s College of Adult and Professional Studies works with bachelor-degree-seeking students to evaluate whether college credit can be earned for these experiences outside the classroom. 

“Friends University values the knowledge and experience adult learners bring to the classroom,” said Sanya Wiles, director of PLA. “Our PLA program recognizes adult learners for their experiential accomplishments and empowers them to link lifelong learning to college-level equivalencies.” 

Wiles noted that credit for prior learning often decreases the cost and time it takes for an adult student to earn a bachelor’s degree. Students may apply for and qualify for up to 30 hours of college credit through Friends University’s PLA program. 

Examples of non-classroom experience include, but are not limited to, employer training programs, self-study, volunteer or community services, non-college courses, and U.S. military training programs, Wiles said. 

PLA credits fall into three categories: Prior learning portfolio, non-collegiate and science lab credits. The PLA at Friends University is based on the standards established by the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning, a national non-profit organization that works with higher education, public and private sectors to make it easier for people to get the education and training they need. 

“I work closely with students to qualify their learning as college-level, even before they apply for the PLA,” Wiles said. “Adults need to get credit for what they have already done before they begin to take college classes. This program offers them a great way to do this.” 

For more information about the PLA process, contact Wiles at 316-295-5885 or 

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Sanya Wiles