Earn Credit for What You've Already Learned

Register for Evaluation: MyExperienceCounts.mass.edu
(This is optional, but facilitates the process and assists students in accounting for their eligible experience.)


Overview of Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)
(Also known as Prior Learning Assessment, Life Experience Credit)

Many adults who never started or completed a college degree now find themselves in the position of wanting or needing a degree later in life as a result of changing employment situations or career goals. Enrolled Middlesex students may be eligible for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) based on learning that they have gained through academically related employment, training programs, military service, or other relevant life experience. This web site contains basic information about the process along with examples.

Since each individual's background and career goals are unique, options are best discussed and developed with the program adviser on a case by case basis.

CONTACT: Rob Kaulfuss, Credit for Prior Learning Coordinator and Adviser

781-280-3852 / kaulfussr@middlesex.mass.edu / Bedford Campus, HH-117

Typical Areas Where CPL Credit Has Been Awarded
These are examples, not a comprehensive list. See separate page on Options and Examples from menu at left. CPL courses are generally not transferable (see Limitations section below).

  1. Military (See ACE site or VALOR Act policy in left menu or JST or Veterans Advising and Resources at MCC)
  2. Business, Management, and Hospitality
  3. Computer Applications, CAD, IT, Computer Science and Programming
  4. Education
  5. World Languages, including the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy
    (See full details on separate pages from menu at top left.)
  6. Biotechnology
  7. Fire Science
  8. Art and Graphic Design


Types of Evaluation and Assessment for CPL

Middlesex Community College is a regionally accredited institution and maintains high standards for the assessment of learning and the awarding of credit. Credit for Prior Learning is determined on a case by case basis by program, department, and course. There are both national and local methods available. The major evaluation and assessment types are listed below. See separate page on Options and Examples from menu at left. CPL courses are generally not transferable (see next section).

  1. Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy
    (See full details on separate page from menu at top left.)
  2. Advanced Placement (AP) Exams (MCC AP Equivalencies)
  3. National Standardized Exams (CLEP, MCC CLEP Equivalencies,DSST, Excelsior)
  4. ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training and
  5. ACE Military Guide to Evaluation of Education in the Armed Services
  6. Military Joint Services Transcript (JST)
  7. National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)
  8. Local evaluations at MCC:
    License or Credential Review, Challenge Exam/Exercise, Portfolio Development, Interview Assessment
  9. National Portfolio Evaluation Service (LearningCounts.org)
  10. Online Course Services (ACE credited for transfer to MCC) (Study.com, StraighterLine.com, Saylor Academy, Sophia.org)
    (Check with the CPL Coordinator first to ensure appropriate program fit.)
  11. International Degrees and Credits:
    Center for Educational Documentation (CED), World Education Services (WES)

Limitations of Credit for Prior Learning

  1. Credit for Prior Learning is generally not transferable to another college. In some cases, a course may transfer if it is part of a completed MassTransfer program that matches the same program at a state college or university, e.g the Business program at MCC transferring to the Business program at UMass Lowell. However, there is no certainty or promise of this and it is more likely to not be possible. Credit received from AP (Advanced Placement) or CLEP exams may be recognized by other colleges, but this is determined by individual colleges and departments.

  2. Students may not earn Credit for Prior Learning for a course that they have failed.

  3. Nonrefundable fees of $50 per credit apply for an evaluation. (There is no fee for consultation with the program adviser.)

  4. CPL credit is ungraded and listed on a student's transcript as TR (transfer) with a descriptive line noting the source of credit. If a student does not pass a CPL exam or evaluation, there is no record on their transcript.

  5. General Education courses in areas such as science, math, humanities, and social sciences are generally not eligible for credit for prior learning assessment except through national exams such as CLEP.

  6. Several programs have external accreditation organizations that expressly forbid the awarding of credit for prior learning. These include, but are not limited to, Criminal Justice, Paralegal Studies, and some health careers.

  7. To complete a degree at MCC, students must complete a minimum of 15 credits of regular classes (9 credit within a major) at MCC beyond any credits received for transfer, CLEP, or CPL of any kind.

  8. MCC is not able to evaluate subject areas where the college has no matching courses or subject areas offered. However, LearningCounts.org is a national organization that can assist in these other areas and MCC accepts their recommendations. Study.com, StraighterLine.com, Saylor Academy, Sophia.org also offers courses and exams that include ACE recommended credit. However, students should check with the CPL Coordinator (below) ahead of time and also be aware that these credits would be unlikely to transfer.

For further questions or assistance, contact:
Rob Kaulfuss, Credit for Prior Learning Coordinator and Adviser
781-280-3852 / kaulfussr@middlesex.mass.edu / Henderson Hall, Room 117
Middlesex Community College, 591 Springs Rd., Bedford, MA 01730
Last Modified: 1/14/21