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Credit for Prior Learning Procedure - 10.08.01

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College (HCC) believes that learning is a lifelong process and knowledge is acquired in many different ways. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, mastery of college-level knowledge and skills may occur as a result of noncredit training and nontraditional learning experiences such as employment, military training and experience, non-collegiate training programs, advanced high school courses, and self-development. In accordance with Maryland State law, credit for up to 75 percent (generally 45 credits) of an associate degree, or 50 percent of a certificate, may be granted for prior learning. Credit age limitations apply to many nursing and allied health programs. Generally, clinical coursework is not accepted if completed more than two years prior to a student’s enrollment in clinical courses at HCC. Time limitations and minimum grade requirements may exist for science courses used as prerequisites for some nursing and allied health programs. Depending on the nursing and allied health program and science courses, the time limitation may vary by program. While time limitations do not apply to coursework in other programs, it is each student’s responsibility to ensure that the student has adequate prerequisite knowledge to be successful in the chosen degree. Therefore, students are strongly advised to retake or otherwise review prior prerequisite coursework whenever necessary.

To be awarded transfer credits, students must have declared an area of study. All official transcripts, along with an official transcript evaluation request form, must be submitted to the office of admissions and advising. Active duty service members, honorably discharged veterans, and their dependents must provide all military and collegiate transcripts within 45 days of admission to HCC; evaluation will be completed within two weeks. All other evaluations are conducted within 60 days of receipt of the transcript evaluation request form and all transcripts listed on the form. When students change their area of study, new transcript evaluations must be done. It is the student’s responsibility to officially request a new evaluation. HCC cannot guarantee that other colleges and universities where students may transfer will evaluate their credit in the same way HCC does. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with transfer institutions regarding transfer credit policies. HCC’s transfer center, located within the office of admissions and advising, can assist with this process.

Reverse Transfer

Reverse transfer refers to a statewide agreement whereby up to 45 credits that a student earns at other accredited colleges and universities, are transferrable to any community college in the state for credit toward an associate degree. To be eligible for reverse transfer, students must have completed 15 college-level resident credits and earned a 2.0 GPA while attending HCC. For reverse transfer consideration, students must submit an official (sealed) transcript from the institution attended and complete a graduation application for former HCC students.

Traditional Prior Learning

College and University Credit

Credit may be granted by HCC for coursework completed at accredited colleges and universities. Transfer credit is granted by HCC based on a student’s area of study. A grade of “C” or higher is required for College Composition and also any coursework that is prerequisite to nursing and allied health clinical courses. HCC may award credit for other coursework completed with a grade of “D” or above. While “D” grades may satisfy general education requirements at transfer institutions, ”D” grades may not satisfy specific course requirements directly related to a student’s area of study at HCC or at the transfer institution. Students are advised to check with prospective transfer institutions about specific grade requirements.

International College and University Credit

Credit is awarded, as appropriate, for coursework completed at international colleges and universities. However, HCC’s office of admissions and advising generally does not evaluate international transcripts. Students seeking credit for coursework completed at international colleges and universities must have their transcripts evaluated by an international credentialing agency that is a nationally recognized accredited agency in the United States. Students must submit an official copy of the results directly to HCC’s office of admissions and advising. Credit may be granted for international coursework based on the results of such evaluations. Generally, academic credit is not awarded for English composition or literature courses taught at a college or university outside of the United States. Otherwise, the same policies and procedures that apply to coursework completed at U.S. colleges and universities are used. Additional information and a list of several international credentialing agencies are available in the office of admissions and advising and on the HCC website.

High School Articulation Credit

Students who have completed Howard County Public School System career programs through Career Academies may be eligible for academic credit at HCC through an articulation agreement with the school system. Eligibility for this credit is based on a number of factors, including the student’s area of study, other college coursework the student has completed, the student’s grade in the high school course, and the specific terms of the articulation agreement. Students must submit an official high school transcript and an articulated credit form (available in high school guidance offices, HCC’s office of admissions and advising, and on the HCC website) to the office of admissions and advising. The award of credit for high school coursework does not guarantee that transfer institutions will grant credit for these courses or grant credit in the same way.

Nontraditional Prior Learning

State law limits the number of credits that can be awarded for nontraditional learning to 30 for both two-year and four-year colleges and universities. This limit is based on a 60-credit associate degree or a 120-credit bachelor’s degree. The nontraditional credit limit can be increased proportionally when degrees exceed these credit totals. However, exceptions may be granted by the Maryland Higher Education Commission for certain programs. The associate of applied science degree in Fire Science and Leadership is an example of one of these areas of study. The college awards applicable credits earned for the following nontraditional prior learning.

Non-collegiate Programs

Credit may be granted for educational programs that apply to students’ areas of study and have been successfully completed at non-collegiate organizations such as government agencies, corporations and businesses, trade and technical schools, and others. Non-collegiate courses will be evaluated in accordance with the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations, as well as other approved organizations, in accordance with the college’s articulation agreements with nontraditional organizations and agencies. Official transcripts, along with an official transcript evaluation request form, must be submitted to the office of admissions and advising.

Military Education and Training

Credit may be granted for a variety of formal military, vocational, or educational programs based on a student’s area of study at HCC. Students will be awarded credit based on recommendations made by ACE, as well as in accordance with the college’s articulation agreements with individual military branches and organizations. Official military transcripts, including Joint Services Transcript (JST), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), or other military transcripts, must be submitted with a transcript evaluation request form to the office of admissions and advising.

Credit by Examination

Students may be awarded credit through nationally standardized or HCC institutional testing programs. HCC has specific policies for all testing programs for which it awards credits based on scores, other credits earned, and students’ areas of study. Credit is generally not awarded for institutional exams taken at other colleges and universities. Students must submit official score transcripts, declare an area of study, and submit an official request for a transcript evaluation to receive credit for national examination programs. HCC’s test center administers some of these exams to its current and prospective students. Information regarding required scores and credits awarded may be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising.

National Examinations

The national examination programs for which the college awards credit are:

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

These are subject-matter exams sponsored by the College Board and generally administered through high schools at the culmination of advanced placement course offerings. The college generally awards credit for scores of 3, 4, or 5. Further information can be obtained by contacting high school guidance offices or the College Board website.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams

These are subject-matter exams administered in high school international baccalaureate programs. The college generally awards credit for scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7. For more information, contact the office of admissions and advising or the International Baccalaureate program website.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

This is a national credit-by-examination program providing individuals of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to receive credit for college-level achievement acquired in a wide variety of ways. General and subject examinations are available in many different areas. HCC administers CLEP examinations to current and prospective students at its test center. Additional information regarding CLEP can be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising or the College Board website.

DSST (formerly known as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests)

Students participating in the DSST program have the opportunity to earn college credit for learning that has occurred outside the traditional classroom. HCC administers the DSST program at the test center. Students may earn up to three credits for each examination based on their scores and score recommendations determined by ACE. Additional information regarding DSST can be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising or the DSST website.

Excelsior College Exams

Students may complete subject-based exams developed and offered through Excelsior College and Pearson VUE. Students must receive a grade of “C” or higher for these examinations to be equated to HCC courses. Exams are administered through the HCC test center. For more information and a list of accepted exams, please contact the office of admissions and advising.

Institutional Examinations

Institutional exams offered at HCC for selected courses include:

Proficiency Exams

These exams are taken prior to course enrollment when students believe they have mastery of course skills and objectives. Successful test performance results in course credit and appears on transcripts as proficiency credit. Proficiency exams cannot be retaken and cannot be taken by students previously unsuccessful in courses for which they are seeking credit. Students must be admitted to the college prior to taking proficiency exams. A fee equal to 50 percent of the current in-county tuition for the course will be charged for each proficiency examination. Proficiency exams must be taken within 30 calendar days after fee payment; students who do not take exams within this 30-day limit will be notified that credit will not be issued.

LPN-RN Mobility Exam

HCC administers the LPN-RN Mobility Exam as one part of the process of determining advanced standing in the LPN Pathway program. This exam is designed to facilitate LPN to RN career mobility. The exam is one method to assess prior learning and experience in the nursing field. It is used by HCC in combination with other requirements to award clinical nursing transfer credit and advanced standing in the LPN Pathway program. Further information may be obtained through the office of admissions and advising.

Effective Date: 07/01/20

President's Office Use: VPAA/VPSS - CAT

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