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Strategy & Collaboration

​​​​​Credit for Prior Learning

Many Oregon institutions offer Credit for Prior Learning as a way to obtain credit for evidence-based assessment of learning​ that occurs outside of traditional college-level coursework. ORS 350.110​ defines "prior learning" as "the knowledge and skills gained through work and life experience, through military training and experience and through formal and informal education and training from institutions of higher education in the United States and in other nations."

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission convenes an Advisory Committee to address and report to the Oregon Legislative Assembly annually on its progress toward:

  • Increasing the number of students who receive academic credit for prior learning
  • Increasing the number and type of academic credits accepted for prior learning
  • Developing transparent policies and practices
  • Improving prior learning assessment practices
  • Creating tools to develop faculty and staff knowledge
  • Developing articulation agreements
  • Developing outcome measures

Oregon’s unique statute requires the Commission to work not only with public universities and community colleges, but also with independent for-profit and not-for-profit institutions of higher education.

Credit for Prior Learning Standards

In 2017 the Advisory Committee and Commission formally adopted the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Stand​ards to be implemented by any Oregon institution offering CPL. The Standards, first adopted in 2014 and updated in 2017, require Oregon institutions to submit data to the Commission annually on the types and number of CPL offered. A summary of changes made in 2017​ is available for more information.​

The Credit for Prior Learning Advisory Committee​ will be meeting in 2023 to review and make recommendations for revisions to the CPL Standards to align with Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 2020 Accreditation Standards.

ORS 350.110 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to appoint members to the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Advisory Committee representing the sectors as outlined in ORS 350.110 (2). 

Future Ready Oregon

Sena​te Bill 1545 (2022), Future Ready Oregon is a comprehensive ​$200M package of investments that support education and training that leads to employment and family-wage careers, prioritizing Oregon's historically underserved and vulnerable communities. One program included in the Future Ready Oregon investments allocated $10 million in one-time funding to increase opportunities for students from priority populations to receive academic credit for prior experience or skills gained outside of traditional higher education institutions. Such academic credits will count toward a credential that provides a pathway to employment or career advancement. In the summer of 2022, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) accepted applications from Oregon community colleges and public universities for funds to expand Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) in Oregon's public higher education institutions.

Of the 25 public institutions that were eligible to apply for CPL funding, 14 community colleges and 5 public universities applied. All those institutions were awarded funds, allocating the entire $10 million. Most grantees are focused on expanding CPL, creating transparent systems, increasing staff capacity to support CPL students, and the creation/distribution of marketing materials to engage priority populations.

In the long term, activities implemented under this grant program are expected to improve prior learning assessment practices in Oregon's public higher education institutions and increase the number of students receiving CPL. CPL works with other Future Ready Oregon programs that build on existing successes while advancing transformational change, connecting Oregonians to the postsecondary credentials needed to prepare for a future of increasingly complex work.

Annual Legislative Reports

Since 2012, the HECC has reported annually to the Oregon Legislature as required on Credit for Prior Learning. View the Annual Legislative Reports​ on our website for more information.​

​HECC Credit for Prior Learning Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee holds public meetings yearly or more frequ​ently as needed​.​

Contact Us

Staff directory​ for Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development

For additional information contact Shalee Hodgson​, Policy Advisor.