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Prior Learning Assessment


What is PLA?

Arkansas State University understands that learning can occur outside of the classroom. Therefore, we offer Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) to evaluate the demonstration of college-level knowledge that students may have gained through work, employer training programs, military service, independent study, and community service.

What are the benefits of PLA?

PLA helps students to maximize their college-level learning to earn credits, reduce the cost of their degree, and graduate faster.

PLA Options 

Credit by Exam: Students may take a standardized exam to show proficiency of college level learning. Some examples are Advanced Placement (AP), College-Level Examination (CLEP), or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) (DSST).

Credit by Portfolio Assessment : Students may submit a narrative documenting knowledge they have already acquired from work, trainings, and other experiences where they have gained college-level knowledge. This narrative will be assessed to determine if college credit will be awarded.

Credit by Pre-Assessed Experiences: Students may be eligible to earn college credit for some licenses, certifications, and other credentials from outside organizations including real estate licenses, EMT, CAN, and some IT certifications.

Receiving PLA at A-State

  • PLA is only available for undergraduate credit.
  • Students seeking PLA must be admitted to Arkansas State University before seeking PLA credit.
  • Students do not need to be enrolled in a degree-seeking program (Associates or Bachelors) to apply for PLA credit.
  • For additional policies please refer to the Arkansas State University Bulletin PLA Policies