Credit for Prior Learning

Save time and money by earning credit for what you already know. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) assesses college-level learning you obtained outside of NICC that is awarded credit toward a degree or certificate.

Credit for Prior Learning Options

There are many ways to show that your current knowledge and skills may earn credit towards your degree or certificate.

  • Earned college credits from another institution
  • Graduated from high school within the last year
  • Took courses through NICC Business and Community Solutions (BCS)
  • Participated in learning opportunities such as workshops, industry training or seminars where you received a certificate or credential
  • Took any of the following (but not limited to) examinations:
    • Advanced Placement (AP)
    • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    • DANTES or DSST
  • US Military veteran 
  • Past experiences or skills applicable to your intended program of study

Is CPL right for me?

Eligibility

  • In order to apply for and receive CPL credit, you must be an active NICC degree-seeking student.
  • At least 9 credits must be earned at NICC for a diploma and 15 credits for an associate's degree.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid does not cover the costs of CPL. However, financial and veteran education benefits may be affected by credit hours awarded through CPL methods. Speak with a Financial Aid representative to find out how credit earned through CPL may affect your funding.

Acceptance of CPL at Other Institutions

CPL is granted only for the purpose of satisfying NICC graduation requirements. These credits may not be accepted at other colleges. Students are responsible for contacting the institution to which they intend to transfer to determine that institution's policy on accepting CPL credit awarded at NICC.

Credit for Prior Learning Policy

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) accepts credits from accredited colleges and universities in which a minimum grade of C- has been earned. Students are required to send an official transcript to the Admissions Office at:

Northeast Iowa Community College
Attention: Admissions
P.O. Box 400
Calmar, Iowa 52132

  • Courses which correspond to an equivalent NICC course are transferred at face value and may be used to fulfill program requirements.
  • There is no fee to award credit for transferred coursework.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

Articulation agreements enable students enrolled in high school courses to receive articulated credit for Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) career and technical program, non-transfer level courses.

  • You must attend NICC within 12 months of high school graduation to be eligible for articulated credit.
  • You must have earned 12 NICC credits after high school before articulated credit is entered on your transcript.
  • Complete and send the Request for Articulated Credit Form with an official transcript attached to:

    Northeast Iowa Community College
    Attention: Registrar
    P.O. Box 400
    Calmar, Iowa 52132

  • Grades for articulated courses transferred to NICC are not computed in your GPA.
  • There is no fee to award credit for articulated coursework.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

Credit may be awarded for learning experiences, such as courses, workshops, certifications and events offered by a post-secondary institution, business entity or industry training entity. The academic dean and program faculty will review these experiences and determine applicability to program requirements. Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) follows the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines to evaluate business and labor training for college credit.

  • Schedule an appointment with the academic dean for your program of study to review documentation of this learning.
  • Grades for these learning experiences are not computed in your GPA.
  • There is no fee for credit awarded.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy.

NICC awards transfer credit for students with passing scores on the following nationally recognized proficiency exams. Students are required to send an official score report to the Admissions Office at:

Northeast Iowa Community College
Attn: Admissions Office
PO Box 400
Calmar IA 52132

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: Exams taken in high school to evidence superior student achievement.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP): The CLEP program is a means of recognizing informal education experience through successful examination on post-secondary content area. Two forms of the CLEP exams are available: the General examination, which measures college-level achievement in general education areas usually covered in the first two years of college, and the Subject Examination, which measures achievement in specific college courses.
  • Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support “DDST” or “DANTES Subject Standardized Tests”: These tests, originally created for military personnel to evidence learning, are now also open to the general public.
  • Other exams: Student scores on other nationally recognized examinations will be reviewed on an individual basis.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

Northeast Iowa Community College approved non-credit coursework is eligible for academic credit and can be applied toward a certificate, diploma or degree. Guidelines for obtaining credit for non-credit coursework include:

  • You must successfully complete the approved non-credit course.
  • Grades for non-credit courses are not computed into your GPA.
  • Credit received for non-credit course completion may be used to satisfy the credit residency requirement.
  • Acceptance of non-credit coursework does not guarantee admission to the College or an academic program of study. You must submit an application and meet all requirements for admission in order to register for credit courses.
  • There is no fee to award credit for non-credit coursework.

Credit for NICC non-credit coursework

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy.

NICC instructors may offer cumulative exams or assessments for students to successfully test out of program courses. Students achieving a C- or above on the exam will receive credit for the course. Examinations are created by NICC faculty and are equivalent to a comprehensive final. Examinations are available on a case-by-case basis.

  • Examinations must be completed and passed prior to or during the first week of the semester in which the credit is requested to be transcripted.
  • Course examinations may be attempted only once per course.
  • Credit by examination is recorded as a “T” on the student's transcript and not computed in the cumulative GPA. Although NICC offers test-out exams, this does not guarantee other institutions will accept them. Students are encouraged to contact the institution to which they may transfer to verify whether or not credit earned by NICC test-out options will be accepted.
  • Students are required to pay 50 percent per credit hour for tuition and the current per credit hour student fee for credit granted by course examination.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

For more information on taking an exam or assessment to pass out of program courses, contact the program dean.

NICC is dedicated to ensuring the success of our active duty and veteran students. If you attended a military service school, received training or served in an occupation specialty, you may be able to earn credit towards your program at NICC.

In order to request credit or an evaluation of your military experiences, you must:

  1. Be accepted as a student at NICC.
  2. Request your official Joint Services Transcripts (JST) for Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy members. Air Force members can be requested through official transcripts from the Air Force. Transcripts should be sent to:

    Northeast Iowa Community College
    Attention: Admissions Office
    P.O. Box 400
    Calmar, IA 52132

  3. Transcripts will be evaluated by the Registrar and official notification will be sent to the student on approved credits.

NICC provides resources and help for veterans and their families who currently attend or plan to attend NICC. Please visit the Military, Veterans and Families website to learn more.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy

There is no fee to award credit for transferred coursework.

Earn credit by developing a learning portfolio and submitting it for evaluation by a trained faculty member.

What is a learning portfolio?

Learning portfolios are used to assess a student's level of knowledge in a specific area. A learning portfolio is a collection of documents, supporting materials and a corresponding narrative that documents an individual has met the student learning objectives for a single course. The contents of a learning portfolio have been accrued through the student's experiences such as community service, work experience, military experience, volunteering, independent-study and extensive travel. 

How does it work?

Portfolio students are responsible for including appropriate documentation of their learning and articulating what they have learned, how they learned it and how that knowledge meets the course learning outcomes of the course they are requesting credit. The learning portfolio is completed by the student. The completed portfolio is submitted to the academic dean and a faculty member for assessment and credit award determination.

Is Portfolio Assessment right for you?

To help you decide if portfolio assessment is something you would like to pursue, review the following questions.

  • Have you worked in your field for several years?
  • Are you able to explain and differentiate your learning from your experiences?
  • Have you attended several work-related trainings or professional development workshops?
  • Do you feel like it would be redundant to take a specific course within your program because of what you have learned from your experiences?
  • Are you comfortable writing papers?
  • Do you possess work examples, other material evidence or documentation that supports your level of knowledge for the course?
  • Can you demonstrate you currently have the knowledge and skills of the course for which you would like to earn credit?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, portfolio assessment may be an appropriate way for you to earn credit for your prior learning experiences. Schedule an appointment with the academic dean to discuss options related to development and submission of a portfolio for life experiences.

There is a non-refundable fee of $50 to cover portfolio review and the first three credits awarded. Students receiving four to six credits of CLE will have an additional fee of $25. Students receiving seven or more credits of CLE will have an additional fee of $50.

To learn more about credit for prior learning at NICC, see Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) policy