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Your Student’s Prior Learning May Count Toward Degree

Prior learning — sometimes called experiential learning — is acquired through work experience, travel, advanced high school courses, volunteer work, service learning, adult or continuing education, recreation activities or hobbies, self-initiated study, and involvement in professional organizations.

Your student can find out if they can earn credit for “informal” learning experiences by taking Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). These exams test knowledge on specific college subjects, and scores can fulfill major requirements and University Foundations Program course requirements.

PLA exams save money: consider the cost of exam $85-$110 vs. a three-credit course at $350 per credit.

PLA exams may help your student graduate early or faster.

PLA exams help students who are at risk of not graduating on time.

PLA exams may help your student who has a wants to add a differential learning experience such as study abroad, National Student Exchange, or gap year.

These three vendors offer more than 100 PLA exams in subjects:

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams. Cost $85 per exam (free for military personnel who qualify for DANTES funding).
  • Prometric DSST Credit by Exam Program. Cost $85 per exam (free for military personnel who qualify for DANTES funding).
  • UExcel Excelsior College Examination Program. Cost $110 per exam.

Credit for Prior Learning is recorded on student transcripts as a Pass, and does not impact overall GPA. If the score is too low, no entry is made on the transcript and the student can retake the exam in one to three months. PLA exams cannot be used to repeat a class previously graded or listed on transcripts in any way (even as a withdrawal).

Your student can learn more by contacting the Boise State Testing Center at (208) 426-2762 or, by reaching out to their academic advisor, or visiting the Prior Learning web page here.