Online Learning

The Benefits of the Prior Learning Assessment and How It Benefits You

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a way in which you can receive academic credit for college-level learning that has taken place outside of the traditional classroom. It rewards you in three major ways:

  • You won’t have to find out redundant material.
  • You may shorten the time that you need to earn an academic level.
  • You can save your tuition expenses.

What Types of Prior Learning Are There?

Universities have a long history of providing expedited ways for pupils to finish their degrees. Prior learning is one of those options.

Since the 1970s, universities have provided a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their previous learning. There are kinds of learning:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • College-Level Exam Program (CLEP)
  • Defense Action for Non-Traditional Education (DANTES)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
  • American Council on Education (ACE) recommended credit

At American Public University System, we use all these kinds of prior learning for awarding college credit to qualified students. Additionally, we have the PLA program. In November of 2015, we reached a landmark of devoting more than 1,000 credit hours for students utilizing the PLA portfolio strategy!

There are millions of Americans who have achieved their learning on the job or through a hobby like volunteer work. Additionally, there are countless Americans who have some college credit, but no degree. These kinds of learning could be used for academic credit.

Creating a Portfolio For The Prior Learning Assessment

In addition to the options listed above, you can take advantage of the opportunity to develop a portfolio for a specific course in your degree plan and request for credit for what you have learned. Traditionally, students who have successfully finished the Prior Learning Assessment class and submitted portfolios have made up to 30 credits, saved upwards of $5,000, and completed their degree programs between 2 months and 18 months sooner than they would have without the PLA program. Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for the program.

Helping students achieve their educational goals is a priority for all of us at APUS. Our PLA program is one of the most comprehensive and respected programs in higher education, and we stand by ready to work with interested students. Please contact us at to learn more.

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