Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is degree credit awarded for demonstrated relevant college-level education acquired through nontraditional schooling, work or other life experience.

Through CPL, subject matter experts evaluate how prior experiences might translate to college-level knowledge and how that knowledge may equate to college credit.

Students may apply for CPL at any time after admission to the College. Credit approved through the evaluation process will be posted to your transcript. A student may obtain a maximum of 30 semester credits of CPL. Awarded CPL will not affect a student's grade point average or quality points, nor will it substitute for the required minimum of 20 semester credits of residency needed for graduation from Tri-C.

Credit for Prior Learning Options

Recognized options under which Credit for Prior Learning may be awarded:

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The CLEP includes subject-specific exams in a variety of areas. Tri-C will award comparable academic credit to students for earning designated scores on the CLEP subject area examinations. Official CLEP transcripts must be submitted to the Tri-C Enrollment Center with a letter requesting the posting of CLEP credit. Learn more about Tri-C's CLEP aligned courses and designated CLEP exam scores for comparable academic credit to be awarded. Learn more about taking CLEP exams at a Tri-C location. Learn more about other testing sites and exam options at the CLEP website.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) is a group of standardized tests originally developed for the voluntary education programs of the United States Armed Forces. The tests have now been made available for civilian use. These civilian tests are administered through Educational Testing Services.

American Council on Education (ACE)

ACE makes policy recommendations and facilitates credit award decisions for alternative educational experiences, offering guidance to colleges and universities on how to evaluate and award credit for these experiences. Examples:

  • Military Training Credit
    Credit for Prior Learning can be awarded for education a student received while a member of the United States Armed Forces.
    • Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAG) The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) and Cuyahoga Community College are committed to the acceptance and awarding of college credit for training and experience in the United States Armed Forces or National Guard.  ODHE's Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) has begun the process of developing MTAGs to streamline and systemize the awarding of credit for military training, experience, and coursework.  Military training and experience must be evaluated and approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) or a regional accrediting body, such as the Higher Learning Commission, to be included in Ohio’s statewide transfer guarantee for military training/experience. Learn more about ODHE's aligned military credit.
    • Learn more about ACE’s “Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations”.
  • Standardized Training and Certification Programs
    Credit for Prior Learning can also be awarded for numerous standardized training and certification programs. Learn more through ACE’s “National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training”.

Challenge Exam (EX)

In certain circumstances, when students can show that they may have sufficient knowledge in a subject area due to relevant education and experience, they can earn CPL for a course by passing a comprehensive examination on the course material. Deciding which courses qualify for EX credit is up to the individual academic disciplines. To obtain a Challenge Exam Form, visit the Office of Academic Affairs on any campus.

Bypass Credit (BYP)

Bypass Credit may be awarded for learning attained through documented, valid academic and/or equivalent work experience, including professional certification/licensing and completion of formal training programs. Formal training programs include, but are not limited to, hospital-based and corporate education where requisite knowledge, skills, and competencies are documented. To obtain a Bypass Credit Application Form, visit the Office of Academic Affairs on any campus.