2.04 Credit for Prior Learning

Title: Credit for Prior Learning
Number: AP 2.04
Adopted: January 2005
Reviewed: March 2020
Revised: March 2020

Nicolet College recognizes that prior to enrolling, a student may have acquired some of the skills, knowledge, and competencies included in programs offered by the College. The College will make every effort to ensure students receive appropriate credit for prior learning. At Nicolet, the Transfer of Credit process evaluates credits earned through formal education from an accredited post-secondary institution. The Advanced Standing process lets students seek credit for coursework completed in high school; completion of apprentice-related instruction and Youth Apprenticeships; demonstration of subject-area competency through national examinations or local challenge examinations; military education or experience; and experiential learning, including but not limited to previous work experience, business and industry training, community service, or other life experiences.

Students interested in exploring credit for prior learning should contact Academic Advising or refer to the Nicolet College website for more information.

Transfer of Credit

Nicolet College staff conduct a credit evaluation when students request to transfer credits from a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher education to a certificate, diploma, or degree program at Nicolet College. The following conditions and stipulations must be met:

  1. Students must apply for admission and have official transcripts sent directly to Admissions at Nicolet College.
  2. Nicolet will grant transfer credit only for courses that apply to the student’s certificate, diploma, or degree program at Nicolet College.
  3. Transfer credits are not used in determining the student’s grade point average at Nicolet College.
  4. Only postsecondary credits earned at a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher education and awarded a minimum 2.0 grade point on a 4.0 scale qualify for transfer.
  5. Credits are accepted for transfer when course content is confirmed to be comparable.
  6. Time limits shall not restrict the awarding of credit for prior learning unless Nicolet College has documented a specific programmatic reason for time limits.
  7. For a student transferring from one Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institution to Nicolet College, credit awarded for courses meeting a general education requirement at one WTCS institution will be honored as fulfilling the same general education requirement at Nicolet College.
  8. A student who has earned a postsecondary or professional degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher education will be granted credits towards fulfilling WTCS associate degree general education core requirements.
  9. Students who meet the required general education credits may need to complete some additional general education core courses based on documented program- specific general education requirements.
  10. Military education credits will be accepted for transfer in conformity with the recommendations of the American Council on Education.
  11. International credits may qualify for credit for prior learning if the international credits are deemed comparable to credits offered by Nicolet College. Students seeking credit for international coursework must provide an official evaluation of academic credentials which has been completed by an approved organization/association.

The Registrar, in conjunction with the appropriate Academic Advisor/Success Coach and program faculty, will conduct the transfer credit evaluation.  Transfer credits do not count toward the minimum number of credits students must earn at Nicolet College (refer to the Maximum Amount of Credit for Prior Learning section of this policy).

Advanced Standing with Credit

Advanced Standing with credit may be granted when it is determined that an individual’s skills and knowledge are equivalent to the competencies in one or more courses in a certificate, diploma, or degree program. Recognition of Advanced Standing is an effort to minimize duplication of competencies attained from previous education, life, or work experience; lessen the cost of duplicative education; and accelerate the achievement of educational goals and credentialing.

A student must be admitted to a certificate, diploma, or degree program at Nicolet College before Advanced Standing will be awarded.  Advanced Standing can be awarded only for required program courses or elective courses that apply toward the student’s designated program of study.

Credits earned through this process do not count toward the minimum number of credits students must earn at Nicolet College (refer to the Maximum Amount of Credit for Prior Learning section of this policy).

Guidelines for the following Advanced Standing options can be obtained from an Academic Advisor or Success Coach or found on Nicolet’s website: military training and experience, national examinations, high school coursework, registered apprenticeships, local challenge examinations, and portfolio assessments.

Maximum Amount of Credit for Prior Learning

Each candidate for a certificate, diploma, or degree must earn a minimum of 25% of the required technical studies, occupational specific, or liberal arts credits through Nicolet College coursework.  These established minimums cannot be met through credit for prior learning.


There is no fee for evaluating and granting transfer credits, credit for high school articulated coursework, credit for apprenticeships, credit for military training and experience, and credit for national examinations.

Fees do apply for written challenge exams, skill demonstration or performance assessments, and portfolio assessments. Current fees are listed on the Nicolet College website.  Fees must be paid prior to the assessment, and are non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the assessment.

If a student is already enrolled in a course, the Advanced Standing evaluation must be completed during the first 14 calendar days of a standard term, the first 7 calendar days of a standard summer term, or the first 15% of the course hours for courses shorter than a full term. Assessment fees must be paid prior to attempting the assessment.  If credit is granted, the student will be withdrawn from the course with a 100% refund of the course tuition and course fees. Students receiving financial aid should consult with financial aid personnel before beginning the Advanced Standing process, since reducing the number of enrolled credits may have financial aid implications

Communication with Students

Evaluation of credits earned from a post-secondary institution will be conducted for all students presenting official transcripts from a post-secondary institution when they meet with their Academic Advisor or Success Coach.

Specific information on the process for applying for Advanced Standing and applicable fees will be available on the Nicolet College website, at the Welcome Center, and from the students Academic Advisor/Success Coach or program faculty. Academic Advisors or Success Coaches will encourage students to request credit for prior learning when reviewing their educational goals and achievements, and will assist them with the process.

Communication with Faculty and Staff

Faculty will be aware of credit for prior learning procedures, and will assist students in applying for Advanced Standing, when appropriate.

Changes in Policy

Any changes in the existing policy will go into effect with the start of a future term. This will provide adequate time to communicate policy revisions and allow students to complete Advanced Standing processes initiated prior to the changes going into effect.

Equitable Treatment

Nicolet faculty and staff will take the following steps to ensure equitable treatment of students requesting credit for prior learning:

  1. All program students presenting an official transcript from another accredited post-secondary institution will receive a transfer of credit evaluation.
  2. There will be widespread availability of policies and procedures for obtaining credit for prior learning as described under the Communication with Students section of this policy.
  3. The procedure for initiating and completing the request for Advanced Standing will be streamlined and clear.
  4. Faculty, Academic Advisors/Success Coaches, and the Registrar will be readily available to assist students with the process, and to perform the evaluation of transfer and/or Advanced Standing.
  5. The appropriate Dean will validate the credit award for Advanced Standing.
  6. The Registrar will validate the level and number of credits being awarded.

Appeal Process

Students who believe this policy is improper or unfair, or who wish to contest the application of this policy, should follow the Complaint and Grievance Procedure for Nicolet Students, in AP 1.06 Student Standards of Conduct.