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Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning can help students save money and earn a college degree faster.

NOVA strives to provide students with opportunities to receive credit for prior learning while still maintaining the integrity of our academic programs. Credit for prior learning (CPL) generally refers to the process of granting college credit for learning gained in nontraditional ways.

The Credit for Prior Learning Manual is updated annually and has an effective implementation date the first day of the Fall semester of each academic year. If documentation is received by the College Records Office (CRO) after the start of the Fall semester, then all CPL requests will be subjected to the recommendations of the new academic year’s CPL Manual.

The CPL Manual provides procedures for receiving various types of credit earned at other colleges and universities in this country and abroad. Before considering CPL, students who are interested in transferring to four-year institutions are advised to review the institution’s policies and guidelines on the acceptance and awarding of CPL credits from NOVA. Please note that the manner in which credit is accepted and/or applied varies by institution.


Credit for Prior Learning Manual (Advanced Standing Manual) includes information on:

  • Types of Credit for Prior Learning (various ways to earn college credit for learning acquired outside the classroom)
  • General Procedures
  • Evaluation Responsibilities
  • Credits from Post-Secondary Institutions (college credits from other institutions being transferred into NOVA)
  • Credits Earned in Non-Traditional Programs (professional training programs which have industry credential/certification or military training)
  • Credit by Exam (examples include AP, IB, CLEP, Cambridge and other exams)
  • Credit by Portfolio Development (demonstration of knowledge gained through experiences to challenge a NOVA course for credit)

CPL Manuals

All submissions for credit for prior learning are subject to the policies and procedures for the current academic year’s credit for prior learning manual.

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