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NOVA students can obtain transfer credit or credit for prior learning for educational experiences that fall into four basic categories:

1. Credits earned in post-secondary institutions. Credits can generally transfer if they are earned from an institution that is accredited by the Commission on Colleges or the Commission on Higher Education of one of the nine regional accrediting agencies in the U.S. and is comparable to the required course credit in the student’s chosen NOVA curriculum. NOVA also recognizes credits earned at another college or university during the college’s/university’s candidacy for accreditation; or in the two years prior to the college’s/university’s full accreditation by such commissions of a regional accrediting association, whichever is the shorter period of time. Credit also may be transferred from institutions if the Transfer of Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions, published by American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, states that credit from the institution “is generally accepted for courses that are appropriate to the reporting institution’s baccalaureate programs.” Credits earned at post-secondary institutions without regional accreditation do not transfer to NOVA even if the institution is accredited through a different commission such as a National Accrediting Organization or Specialized and Professional Accreditors.

2. Credits earned in non-traditional educational/training programs (military, industry, state and federal government). Students may be granted credit for courses or programs offered by employers, professional organizations and other agencies only if those courses or programs have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) or National College Credit Recommendation Services (NCCRS). Click here for ACE’s recommendations for college credit for workforce training. Click here for ACE’s recommendations for college credit for military training.

Click here for list of Virginia Institution that accepts NCCRS recommendation.

3. Credit by examination. Credit will be granted for selected national exams in accordance with the recommendations of the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service. In some cases, NOVA faculty have reviewed standardized examinations and made recommendations about specific NOVA courses to which the underlying education is equivalent; those recommendations are listed in this manual. In addition, NOVA has prepared exams (called ABLE exams) for selected courses to validate learning achieved through work-related experience, formal education, etc.

NOTE: If you are already enrolled in a course that has an ABLE exam option, and you pass the exam, it is your responsibility to drop the course prior to the Census Date if you wish to qualify for a refund.

4. Credit for life experiences. Students may obtain credit for life experiences by developing portfolios through NOVA’s Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation (PLACE) program. PLACE is for adults who have gained college-level learning through work, volunteer activities, participation in civic assignments, travel, independent study and similar life experiences.

NOTE: NOVA no longer gives credit for articulated secondary school courses.

For more information on credit for prior learning, view the College Credit Through Credit for Prior Learning Handbook (formerly known as Advanced Standing).