Earn Credit for Life Experience

Not all learning takes place in the classroom.

Malone University recognizes adult learners acquire significant learning experiences that occur in various environments outside of the college classroom. We offer adult learners the opportunity to gain college credit for college-level life learning experiences. Students may be awarded credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process.


Students who participate in the PLA gain the following advantages:

  • They save time & money.
  • They are more likely to graduate.
  • They gain confidence.
  • They develop critical thinking skills.
  • They learn valuable writing skills.

What is the Prior Learning Assessment? 

Prior learning describes learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. Prior learning is learning and knowledge students acquire while living their lives at work, at home, or in the community - by participating in employer training programs, gaining valuable professional skills and experience, serving in the military, studying independently, and or volunteering or doing community service. Students must demonstrate that their life-learning is college-level learning. The PLA process is the evaluation and assessment of an individual's life learning for college credit to determine if their learning parallels are up to Malone's standards for academic quality. 

What does the PLA Process look like at Malone?

Students must enroll in the Prior Learning Assessment Course, which is a 3 credit course. The course teaches students how to leverage their college-level learning experiences through the PLA petitioning process. Students learn to write life-learning essays to gain college credit and how to apply professional and technical training toward college credit.

Once students successfully complete the PLA course, students may submit their PLA essays and or training documentation for college credit. The PLA essays are evaluated by subject matter experts, and training documentation is evaluated by the Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator.

How many Credits can I earn through PLA?   

Students can earn up to 31 credits through the PLA process. Three credits of that include the required PLA course; an additional 28 credits can be earned through the petitioning process. Credits can apply to elective, general education, and liberal arts credits.

What is CAEL?

Malone University is a member of the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL is recognized as the leader in Prior Learning Assessment, and the standards set by CAEL are utilized to evaluate and award PLA credit by institutions nationally. Malone adheres to CAEL standards in the PLA process.

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