Credit for Prior and Alternative Learning (CPAL)

Approved by:  University Curriculum and Policies Committee             

History:  Updated: May 2018

Related Policies:

Related Forms, Procedures and References:  Learning Counts | Transfer Students website

For Questions Contact:  Office of the Registrar | 651.690.6531

Prior learning assessments (PLA) provide the documentation by which students may earn college credit for college-level, non-technical learning that was acquired outside of a regionally accredited college or university. Prior learning must be verified with completion of a nationally recognized examination or portfolio.

To be accepted, transfer recommended credit must be college level, cannot be vocational-technical, must apply to the University's program requirements, and must earn a passing grade.

The following general guidelines apply:

  • Documentation of credit for learning must be provided with one of the pre-approved Prior Learning Assessments.
  • A St. Kate's review will be completed and, if accepted for transfer, credits will be awarded.
  • A grade of Satisfactory is awarded for credit earned through these programs and is not included in computed grade point averages. (In some special cases, where the major requires it, the letter grade will be awarded if provided.)
  • Credit earned through these programs does not fulfill the University residency requirement.
  • Credit is recorded on the student's permanent record after enrollment at the University.

For more information on the PLA options or to see pre-approved courses and examinations on our transfer guides, visit our Transfer Students website.

National Exams

Students may demonstrate mastery of curriculum areas through American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Advanced Placement (AP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Cambridge International Exams, Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), International Baccalaureate (IB), or UExcel. (See also Departmental Proficiency exams.)


The LearningCounts program helps students prepare a learning portfolio. The cost for developing the portfolio will vary based on the number of credits students earn.