Prior Learning is defined as academic credit awarded to registered students upon demonstration of knowledge equivalent to that gained through a college course. A student must be currently enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester credit hours, or have completed a minimum of 20 semester credit hours, at Tri-C and be in good standing (maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA) before applying for Prior Learning credit. Students may obtain a maximum of 30 semester credits through one, or a combination, of the recognized options for Prior Learning. Awarded Prior Learning credit will not affect a student’s grade point average or quality points. Also, the awarded Prior Learning credit will not substitute for the required 20 semester credits of residency needed for college graduation. Standardized methods of evaluation are used to measure a student’s demonstrated knowledge of a subject area. If equivalent knowledge is demonstrated upon completion, the student will be awarded the same academic credit as that designated for the course. The student should see a counselor for any additional requirements.

Prior Learning Options

Recognized options under which Prior Learning may be awarded include:

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The CLEP includes general and subject-specific exams in a variety of areas. Tri-C will award comparable academic credit to students for successful completion of the CLEP general and subject area examinations.  See Tri-C's CLEP equivalencies. Official transcripts must be submitted to the Enrollment Center with a letter requesting the posting of CLEP credit. For information on testing sites and exam options, see the CLEP website.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests

DANTES is a group of standardized tests originally developed for the voluntary education programs of the U.S. 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 include

  • Military Training Credit
    Prior learning credit can be awarded for education a student received while a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
    • Military 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 Articulation and Transfer Network 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. See ODHE's aligned military credit.  
    • For more information, see ACE’s “Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations”.
  • Standardized Training and Certification Programs
    Prior learning credit can also be awarded for numerous standard training and certification programs. For more information, see ACE’s “National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training”.

Credit by Exam (CBE)

There are many courses offered at Tri-C for which Prior Learning may be awarded by a student’s taking and passing a comprehensive exam on the course subject. CBE for a particular course may be taken only once. For more information, schedule an appointment with a counselor for an overview of CBE.

Bypass Credit

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. For more information, schedule an appointment with a counselor for an overview of the Bypass Credit process.