Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)


Louisiana State University at Alexandria (LSUA) recognizes that learning occurs outside of the college setting and that the outcome of this learning is sometimes the acquisition of skills and/or knowledge that may be equivalent to learning that occurs at LSUA and other higher education institutions. LSUA may award credit for this learning through its Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy

General Policy

  • PLA credit may be awarded only to students admitted to LSUA and seeking a degree.
  • PLA credit cannot duplicate credit already awarded to students.
  • PLA credit can be awarded only for college-level learning that is documented and that falls within the regular curricular offerings of the institution or that can be applied as elective credit.
  • PLA credit cannot be awarded for a course that has been previously attempted (either as an audit or for credit).
  • PLA credit cannot count towards enrollment when a student’s financial aid status is being determined.
  • Once PLA credits have been applied to a transcript, they will not be removed. PLA credits in excess of degree requirements may adversely affect a student’s financial aid eligibility.
  • PLA credit cannot be counted towards LSUA’s residency requirement. The residency requirement requires that at least 25% of the hours applied to a degree be earned in courses taught by LSUA.
  • The awarding of PLA credit must be consistent with LSUA’s institutional accrediting agency (SACSCOC) policies and its various program accreditors.


PLA credit for experiential learning (e.g., CLEP, credit exam, portfolio assessment, or other faculty‐determined assessment methods) cannot count for more than 25% of the credits required for a degree. For example, no more than 30 hours of PLA credit for experiential learning can be applied to a bachelor’s degree (120 hours).


PLA credits for instructional-based learning (e.g., Advanced Placement, training programs evaluated by ACE or NNCCRS) are not considered experiential learning‐based credits. They can count for more than 25% of the credits required for a degree.

Types of Assessment

Credit Examinations
Portfolio Evaluation
Third-party test scores or assessments (e.g., AP, ACT, SAT, and COMPASS)
Military Service
Police Academy Training
Business and Industry Credentials

Transferability of PLA Credits

  • Prior learning assessment credits awarded by LSUA may or may not transfer to other institutions of higher learning. Acceptance of such credits is subject to limitations imposed by the receiving institution based on that institution’s academic policies.
  • Students should check with the institution to which they wish to transfer regarding the transferability of PLA credits awarded by LSUA.
  • LSUA requires official copies of scores before it can award PLA credit based on third-party transcripts, test scores, or assessments (e.g., AP, CLEP) even if other institutions attended by the student have awarded credit on this basis.

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