Jun 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Catalog

Prior Learning and Transfer Credit


Credit-by-Exam

Credit for Law Enforcement Training

Credit for Military Training / Experience

Educational Credit for Industry Certifications

Educational Credit for Non-Credit Training

Exceptions to General Rule for Equivalency

General Guidelines

International Students

Overview

Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio

Technical Credit by Examination

Transfer Credit Petition

Types of Prior Learning Recognized

 

Overview:

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) recognizes that valid learning can take place in non-traditional and non-collegiate environments. We acknowledge the prior learning experiences of both current and prospective students by awarding college credit, where appropriate. Prior learning could include credit by alternative means of study, nationally recognized testing and certifications, workplace learning, and military experiences and training. Credit may be granted under the following circumstances: 

  • The student has completed the admissions process, is a degree-seeking student, and enrolled in a qualifying NWFSC program. The course is applicable to the student’s declared program of study (to meet certificate, A.A., A.A.S., and A.S. degree programs as appropriate). 
  • The credit does not duplicate previous college credit.
  • The student demonstrates the achievement of course objectives at a level that is comparable and acceptable in the classroom. 
  • The satisfactory level of achievement is documented.

 

General Guidelines:

The following provisions apply to Prior Learning and Articulation Analysis credit applied to the college record at Northwest Florida State College: 

  1. No certificate or degree will be awarded unless the student meets graduation requirements and 25% of the credits required for the degree (residency) is earned at NWFSC.  
  2. Selected career/technical, career certificate, and advanced and professional course credits may be awarded if the prior learning aligns with the objectives of the course requesting credit. This credit will appear on the student’s college transcript with a grade of “P” (passing). This credit does not apply toward credit computations for financial aid programs or student GPA; however, it is included in earned hours. 
  3. Per degree  program, not more than thirty (30) credits will be awarded to an individual student through this articulation plan. An exception is the Paramedic program, the completion of which may be applied in full to the EMS program. 
  4. If program accreditation or licensure issues in certain programs preclude the awarding of PLA credit, the College will not award PLA credit for coursework in that program. 
  5. Credits awarded through this articulation plan will not appear on the student’s college transcript until successful completion of at least 25% of the credits required for the degree or certificate at NWFSC. 
  6. Where multiple options exist for the award of college credits, preference should be given to general education and program core courses over elective courses. Otherwise, the student must choose from the college courses . 
  7. NWFSC credits earned through prior learning assessment may not transfer to another institution as such determination is the receiving institution’s decision. 
  8. Award of such credits does not accelerate or guarantee admission to limited access programs. In such cases, students must meet all the eligibility requirements for the program, as well as go through the full application and selection process for the program. If selected for admission to the program, the courses earned through this articulation will apply to program completion as appropriate.
  9. Student appeals regarding the PLA process shall be directed to the Vice President of Academic Affairs whose decision is final. To appeal, please contact the PLA Coordinator.    

 

Final decisions regarding the award of credits rests with the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the recording of credits on the student’s transcript rests with the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment.   

 

Types of Prior Learning Recognized

Credit from Other Institutions:

  • NWFSC will make every attempt to maximize a student’s past postsecondary academic history by carefully evaluating credits students want to transfer from another institution and applying them to equivalent NWFSC courses or using those transferred credits for electives in programs where applicable. The award of credits based upon previous college or technical center coursework requires that the student earn a minimum grade of “C” in the applicable course(s). In some cases, a higher grade and/or additional verification of skills may be required .
  •  Transfer credit will only be awarded to those courses for which the College has designated as eligible for transfer and applicable to an NWFSC credential. Transfer courses listed as “In Progress” on the transfer institution’s official transcript will not be awarded credit until such time as an updated official transcript is received showing a final grade. Transfer courses in which a grade of “W” (withdrawal) or “X” (audit) was awarded by the transfer institution will not be added to the student’s official NWFSC permanent record.
  • Once accepted, transfer credits will be recorded on the student’s permanent record as externally awarded and will indicate the original institution at which the course was completed. Beginning with the 2015 - 2016 Catalog, transfer grades are not used in the official NWFSC cumulative GPA calculation. However, please note that some Selective Admissions programs do have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement for admissions; in these cases, transfer grades are calculated in the cumulative GPA for admissions purposes but are not used in the cumulative GPA calculation that appears on the student’s permanent record. For Selective Admissions purposes, a transfer grade of “I” is considered the equivalent to an “F” for calculation purposes. Where appropriate, an equivalent NWFSC course number will be indicated. When the College does not offer an equivalent course or if the course differs substantively from the suggested NWFSC course, the transfer credits may be listed on the transcript as an “unclassified” course. The unclassified credits will be further described as an open elective, a subject area elective, a general education elective, or a general education subject area course, as appropriate.
  • NWFSC will accept credits from colleges or universities with institutional accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), including:
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

For students entering with credit from an accredited non-public institution participating in the Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS), NWFSC will reference the comprehensive listing (https://flscns.fldoe.org/ReportsMaint.aspx) of all non-public institution courses in the SCNS inventory, as well as each course’s transfer level and transfer effective date.

 

NWFSC may accept credits from colleges or universities with accreditation from other agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education if the credits represent college-level coursework relevant to the program of study, with course credit and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in comparable instruction at NWFSC, and the instructor(s) of the course(s) possessed the minimum academic credentials and experiences as required of comparable NWFSC faculty at the time the instruction was received by the student. Credits from colleges or universities that are not accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

 

Students will need to complete the Transfer Credit Petition Form found in the Forms section of Raider Central on the main website for the credits to be evaluated. Acceptance of credits from non-USED accredited institutions of higher education rests with the appropriate faculty/instructional staff in consultation with the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment.

 

All attempted credits will be evaluated for transferability to the student’s permanent record (transcript) as follows:

•For students pursuing an associate degree or college credit certificate, all attempted credits at the freshman and sophomore levels, and

•For students pursuing a baccalaureate degree, all attempted credits at the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior levels.

 

Credits recorded as transfer credit on the student’s permanent record (transcript) do not guarantee that these credits will meet specific degree requirements for the student’s program. The College may limit the number of transfer credits applicable to the student’s degree. The determination of how transfer credits may apply to a specific degree program rests with the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment in consultation with the appropriate faculty/instructional staff.

The following factors will be considered in the evaluation of credits for transfer. The factors will be used in determining whether the course is transferable and in determining whether the course is recorded as a direct equivalent to an NWFSC course, not a direct equivalent but fulfilling a specific general education or degree requirement, or as a general elective:

 

  • Breadth, depth, and rigor of course content as evidenced by course syllabi, prerequisites, placement test scores, exit requirements, student portfolios, textbooks, writing or oral communication requirements, grading standards, catalog descriptions, etc.
  • Qualifications of the faculty member(s) providing the instruction
  • Age of credits
  • Recommendations through other established credit assessment bodies (e.g., ACE)
  • Institutional accreditation via other professional assessment/accrediting bodies (e.g., AMA, NLN, a state agency)
  • Secondary documentation of course competencies (e.g., professional certification, standardized exam scores, etc.) 

 

Authority for Acceptance of Equivalent Courses

Section 1007.24(7), Florida Statutes, states:

“Any student who transfers among postsecondary institutions that are fully accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and that participate in the statewide course numbering system shall be awarded credit by the receiving institution for courses satisfactorily completed by the student at the previous institutions. Credit shall be awarded if the courses are judged by the appropriate statewide course numbering system faculty committees representing school districts, public postsecondary educational institutions, and participating nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions to be academically equivalent to courses offered at the receiving institution, including equivalency of faculty credentials, regardless of the public or nonpublic control of the previous institution. The Department of Education shall ensure that credits to be accepted by a receiving institution are generated in courses for which the faculty possess credentials that are comparable to those required by the accrediting association of the receiving institution. The awarding of credit may be limited to courses that are entered in the statewide course numbering system. Credits awarded pursuant to this subsection shall satisfy institutional requirements on the same basis as credits awarded to native students.”

Exceptions to General Rule for Equivalency:

Since the initial implementation of the Statewide Common Course Numbering System (SCNS), specific disciplines or types of courses have been exempted from the guarantee of transfer for equivalent courses. These include courses that must be evaluated individually or courses in which the student must be evaluated for mastery of skill and technique. The following courses are exceptions to the general rule for course equivalencies and may not transfer. Transferability is at the discretion of the receiving institution.

  • Courses not offered by the receiving institution
  • For courses at non-regionally accredited institutions, courses offered prior to the established transfer date of the course in question
  • Courses in the _900-999 series are not automatically transferable and must be evaluated individually. These include such courses as Special Topics, Internships, Apprenticeships, Practica, Study Abroad, Theses, and Dissertations
  • Developmental courses
  • Graduate courses
  • Internships, apprenticeships, practica, clinical experiences, and study abroad courses with numbers other than those ranging from 900-999
  • Applied courses in the performing arts (Art, Dance, Interior Design, Music, and Theatre) and skills courses in Criminal Justice (academy certificate courses) are not guaranteed as transferable. These courses need evidence of achievement (e.g., portfolio, audition, interview, etc.)

 

Transfer Credit Petition

A student may petition either the equivalency determination or denial of transfer credits by submitting the Transfer Credit Petition Form found in the Forms section of Raider Central on the main website. The final determination will be made in consultation with the appropriate faculty/instructional staff normally responsible for the subject matter in question and the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment.

Application of Transfer Credits to Baccalaureate Degree Programs

Lower-division college credits in technical areas not generally applicable at the upper (baccalaureate) level will be reviewed according to the following factors prior to their acceptance as satisfying NWFSC upper (baccalaureate) degree requirements:

  • Breadth, depth, and rigor of course content as evidenced by course syllabi, prerequisites, placement test scores, exit requirements, student portfolios, textbooks, writing or oral communication requirements, grading standards, catalog descriptions, etc.
  • Qualifications of the faculty member(s) providing the instruction
  • Age of credits
  • Recommendations through other established credit assessment bodies (e.g., ACE)
  • Institutional accreditation via other professional assessment/accrediting bodies (e.g., AMA, NLN, a state agency)
  • Secondary documentation of course competencies (e.g., professional certification, standardized exam scores, etc.)
  • Where questions of applicability remain following such a review, the credits may still be used to meet lower-division degree requirements subject to one or more of the following conditions:
  • Successful completion of related higher-level courses in the student’s program of study
  • Successful completion of subsequent courses in the subject/course sequence
  • Successful completion of complementary lower-division coursework in the subject or related area
  • Demonstration of specific lab/clinical skills or other applied competencies
  • Completion of additional supplemental independent/directed study in the subject area which augments the skills/content of the technical course
  • Presentation of a portfolio of work substantiating the breadth, depth, and rigor of the course content to include both theory and applied competencies
  • Analysis of clusters of course credits where a combination of technical courses may represent baccalaureate level competencies when viewed as a package (e.g., eight credits in technical coursework may correspond to a three-credit traditional transfer course in a given subject area)

 

International Students:

International students submitting international post-secondary transcripts for evaluation must have them translated and evaluated by one of the credential evaluation agencies sanctioned by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES). A list of NACES agency members can be found at www.naces.org. Students will need to have the official evaluation sent to NWFSC, Office of Academic Records and Enrollment, 100 College Blvd. East, Niceville, FL 32578. Each course on the evaluation will be individually assessed for transfer consideration. Normally, these credits will come in as elective credit only, unless the student can provide a translated course syllabus that details the course description, course pre-requisite or co-requisite requirements, and the student learning outcomes of the course. Credits will be awarded on a course-by-course basis.

 

Credit-by-Exam:

NWFSC follows the Florida Department of Education guidelines in acceptance of credit for nationally standardized accelerated mechanisms, allowing students to proceed toward their educational goals as rapidly as possible. Credit is awarded in accordance with recommendations established by the statewide Articulation Coordinating Committee (ACC). Section 1007.27(2) Florida Statutes requires the ACC to establish passing scores, course, and credit equivalents for the following:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • Cambridge A-Level & AS-Level Examinations (AICE)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • DSST (DANTES)
  • Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)
  • Excelsior/Regents College Examinations

 

Scores must be submitted on an official score report from the organization administering the examination. Students must be cognizant of initial testing and retake policies for each exam. Some exams require students to wait a specific amount of time before they can retake the exam. For graduation purposes, exams must be taken and successfully passed prior to the last date of the month in which graduation is sought.

 

Educational Credit for Industry Certifications: 

There are several acceleration methods associated with Industry Certifications. These acceleration opportunities allow students who are progressing to the next level of education to earn a guaranteed number of college credits toward the A.A.S. or A.S. degree.

 

The Gold Standard Articulation Agreements provide information on the identified industry certifications approved by the Florida State Board of Education. Contact the Coordinator of Career & Technical Education for additional information. 

 

Students may request academic credit for specific Industry Certifications that relate directly to NWFSC courses. To be eligible, the Industry Certification must be valid and five years old or newer. The award of credits based upon industry certification will be made only after receipt of official documentation of the certification via the certifying agency or testing vendor.

 

Technical Credit by Examination:   

Technical credit by examination (TCE) may be available when no nationally normed advanced placement test exists. Academic Departments will create a preapproved list of courses eligible for TCE. Students may request and the College may agree to prepare and administer examinations to assess specific technical course objectives at the discretion of the appropriate Department Chair/Director. 

Technical credit examinations may require written and verbal tests, performance test, portfolio review, or other evaluations. TCE is not available for all courses. 

  • The PLA Coordinator requests TCE to the Director/Chair of the program for which the course is under, which must be approved before moving forward.  
  • Students can attempt TCE for specific courses only once unless the Dean or designee approves a re-test request. 

Upon successful completion of TCE, the Director/Chair and the appropriate Dean sign the Articulation Analysis form and the PLA Coordinator sends the form to the Executive Director of Academic Records and Enrollment who will record a “P” on the student’s record. Documentation of the test results will be retained in the student’s record.  

Educational Credit for Non-Credit Training: 

Students may request academic credit for non-credit workforce training completed through NWFSC. The student must register as a degree-seeking student in an approved and related program. To be considered, the workforce training must be five years old or newer and the student must receive a completion certification indicating successful completion of the training.  

 

Credit for Military Training / Experience:

In recognition of the advanced academic and technical content of many military educational experiences, NWFSC may grant appropriate credits for military training that is suitable for postsecondary credit. Credit will be awarded in accordance with the state’s Articulation Coordinating Committee’s (ACC) document: Credit or Clock Hour for Military Experience Equivalency List. Courses not listed will be evaluated at the discretion of the College, who will consider recommendations from the American Council of Education (ACE) Guide. These are advisory only and not binding on the College.

 

Students who wish to receive transfer credit for military service in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard must provide an official Joint Services Transcript (JST). If no JST record is available for the service member, the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment will accept a copy of the service member’s DD Form 214. Order transcripts at the JST website. Students who wish to receive transfer credit for service in the Air Force must provide an official transcript from the Air University. Order transcripts at the Air University website. NWFSC does not accept certificates or other training documents for evaluation.

 

NWFSC will award credit for ACE recommendations in the associate and baccalaureate categories for the service member’s documented military courses. Students seeking credit for their military occupation experience must complete an electronic Transfer Credit form for the credits to be considered. Approval to award both undergraduate and clock hour credit will be based on a service member’s occupation. Awarded credit will be in consultation with the appropriate faculty/instructional staff and the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment.

 

Military courses in which ACE has provided optional credit recommendations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and a final determination will be made in conjunction with the appropriate faculty/instructional staff with the Office of Academic Records and Enrollment. While ACE recommendations will be considered for credit during the evaluation of the JST, they are not binding to the College. All direct course equivalents and general education electives will be posted to the student’s academic record. A maximum of 18 non-general education electives will be posted. All credit awarded is posted to the student’s record as transfer credit with a grade of “P”. In such cases that the service member has no transferable experience documented on his or her JST, the service member will receive 4 hours of elective credit for their military experience. Although credit-by-examination scores such as CLEP and DANTES may appear on the JST, the service member is still required to provide an official score report from the respective examination authority for credit to be awarded from these alternative examinations.

 

Please note that the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and Air University (AU) are degree granting institutions accredited by the regional accrediting body Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and as such, falls under the College’s general transfer credit policy, not this policy specific to the evaluation of the JST.

 

Credit for Law Enforcement Training:

In recognition of the advanced academic and technical content earned as a law enforcement officer, NWFSC may grant appropriate credits for law enforcement training and experience suitable for postsecondary credit. Credit will be awarded in accordance with the state’s Articulation Coordinating Committee’s (ACC) document: Credit or Clock Hour for Law Enforcement Experience Equivalency List. Courses not listed will be evaluated at the discretion of the College.

 

Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio: 

Credit may be awarded for properly documented college-level learning or experience achieved outside the college classroom. Students are responsible for defining, demonstrating, and documenting how they meet course objectives through a portfolio. The portfolio used to demonstrate the required learning includes the following: 

  • A summary statement from the student explaining what the evaluator will find in the portfolio and what the student hopes to accomplish as a result of the PLA evaluation 
  • One portfolio will be required for each course being requested for review.
  • Documents should ensure validity, i.e., measure what is intended. Excessive documentation, attractively presented, may not compensate for deficient performance in assessment or questionable relevance of learning to the objective. 
  • Varied forms of evidence of learning reflecting multiple types of assessment 
  • Students requesting credit for prior learning must do so prior to registration for the course involved and not while enrolled in the course.