Original Date: 4/14/2009 * Last Revision Effective: 11/5/2019
Policy Contact: Provost for Academic and Student Affairs
The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing policy #3110 – Academic Credit for Prior Learning
Bellevue College recognizes four categories of academic credit for prior learning:
- Credit by testing
- Prior experiential learning
- Extra-institutional learning
- Course challenges
The following general conditions apply:
- The college makes no claim regarding the application or transfer of awarded credits to the programs at other institutions.
- The college charges a fee for prior learning credit.
- Awarded credits are limited by the college residency requirements and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accreditation standard for prior experiential learning. This means that students must earn one-third of the credits needed to complete their degree or certificate program at Bellevue College.
- Awarded credits must generally meet the same standards, course objectives, and learning outcomes of equivalent course offered by the college.
- Awarded credits are subject to faculty review and approval.
- Students must register for the current or upcoming quarter before the process of awarding academic credit for prior learning begins.
- The college assigns an S grade for prior learning credit, which does not calculate into the student’s college grade point average (GPA).
Credit by Testing
This option includes commonly accepted higher education equivalency exams. The college may award up to two-thirds of the credits needed to complete a degree or certificate. The type of test and and test score determine the amount of credit awarded but must correspond to courses offered at Bellevue College. Tests include:
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
- DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)
- Cambridge “A” Level Exam
Students submit an official copy of their test scores and the Request to Award Academic Credit for Prior Learning form, following the process indicated on the form. Students pay an administrative fee for the review of each type of test.
Prior Experiential Learning
This option includes knowledge and skills acquired through experience alone. A faculty member evaluates (subjectively) a compilation of work submitted in a portfolio. The college awards credit based on the following:
Portfolio review for college-level credits (courses numbered 100 or above)
- The college may award up to 25 percent of the credits needed to complete a degree or certificate program.
- Credits awarded must correspond to courses offered at Bellevue College.
- Students work directly with their faculty adviser to develop the requirements needed to complete a portfolio.
- Faculty may require students to register for a portfolio class.
- The award of credit for prior experiential learning is entirely subject to faculty availability and approval, and the college does not guarantee faculty availability for all circumstances or subject areas.
- Once students develop a plan with the faculty adviser, they pay a fee and submit the Request to Award Academic Credit for Prior Learning form following the process indicated on the form.
- The portfolio review must demonstrate that the student possesses the same knowledge and skills as students who enroll in and successfully complete the specified course.
HS21+ Portfolio Review (courses numbered below the 100 level)
- This option provides an opportunity to use prior learning, as well as courses taken in high school to earn a high school diploma.
- Students interested in this option work directly with the High School 21+ (HS21+) Office to establish the requirements needed to reach their academic goals.
This option includes knowledge and skills acquired outside the institution and objectively verified through third-party certifications. This includes industry-recognized testing/training, and crosswalks. Awarded credit must correspond to courses offered at Bellevue College. The college may award up to two-thirds of the credits needed to complete a degree or certificate based on the following:
- Individual industry certifications
- Occupational crosswalks (police, fire, AmeriCorps, military, etc.)
- American council on Education (ACE) recommendations, which applies to U.S. Military training and military coursework obtained while serving in a branch of the U.S. Military only.
Students submit official copies of all certifications and/or official transcripts documenting training and coursework, as well as the Request to Award Academic Credit for Prior Learning form following the process indicated on the form.
Students complete this option by successfully passing an exam designed by faculty. Successful completion of the exam demonstrates that the student possesses the same knowledge and skills as students who enroll in and successfully complete the course. the following conditions apply:
- The college does not provide the course challenge option for all classes offered. Student should check with the appropriate academic department/program chair to determine if a desired course has a challenge option.
- The college places no limit on the number of credits awarded under this option. However, academic departments or programs may place restrictions on the amount of credit awarded.
- Students may not use the course challenge option for a course they previously enrolled in, or audited, at Bellevue College.
- To receive credit, students must achieve a “C” or better in the course challenge.
- A student who attempts but fails a course challenge may not repeat the challenge.
Students pay an administrative fee and submit the Request to Award Academic Credit for Prior Learning form following the process indicated on the form. If the faculty member asks the Placement & Testing Services Office to proctor the exam, a proctoring fee is also charged.
Relevant Laws and Other Resources
- Academic Credit for Military Training: RCW 28B.10.057
- Department of Defense MOU – Higher Education
- NWCCU Accreditation Policy: Transfer and Award of Academic Credit [PDF]
- NWCCU Standards 1.C.8
- PLA – Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Revisions 3/10/2010; 3/29/2011; 7/12/2011; 9/11/2012; 4/6/2015; 5/8/2018 (Temporary); 11/5/19
Last Updated October 30, 2023