Programs & Majors
Location: College Center,
Room 270 (behind the info center)
Prior Learning Assessments
All forms, instructions, and schedules for PLAs are on D2L. All ASAP students can access them by logging into D2L and choosing the course "PLA Resource Room"
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ASAP right for me?
ASAP is designed for adult students who want to earn a degree as fast as possible. They typically work full-time and/or may be balancing multiple responsibilities along with college. If you need flexible options to complete your two-year degree because you are not able to attend school by following the traditional day schedule, this program is for you!
We offer accelerated options to complete a any two-year degree (AA, AS, or AAS). These options include:
- Accelerated courses that meet either one night a week or Saturdays for eight weeks. Accelerated courses are a great option because they allow you to complete more than one course during a 16 week semester.
- Credit for prior learning - earning college credit for demonstrating your skills and knowledge in a subject instead of taking the course. We value what you've learned over the years through work and life experiences and will assist you to identify your specific skills and knowledge.
- Design your own degree. The Individualized Professional Studies (IPS) degree is an AS degree earned in a career field that is not targeted by existing degree programs at Inver Hills. You may choose your own concentration to plan a degree. This degree option works well for students who want to specialize in an area for their career or to work toward an advanced degree.
How many degrees are offered in an accelerated format?
Students are able to accelerate any degree by enrolling in the 8-week accelerated courses. You do not need to be an ASAP student to enroll in these courses - they are on the course schedule like all others.
New students enroll in our educational planning class and also work individually with their ASAP instructor to develop an educational goal and a degree plan. The instructor determines which courses within the degree the student may be able to do as credit for prior learning.
What if I am already a student at IHCC in a specific program?
Current IHCC students can accelerate their degree by taking advantage of the 8-week courses and/or by enrolling in ASAP to take advantage of credit for prior learning. Completing credits through this method saves time because students will earn credits at their own pace--not by taking the actual course. For example, students enrolled in the paralegal program must complete 30 credits from the paralegal curriculum and 30 credits in liberal arts. Depending on each student's skills and knowledge, they may be able to complete some of the liberal arts credits through credit for prior learning.
What is a "Prior Learning Assessment"?
Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) are the courses ASAP offers under credit for prior learning. To meet the required objectives of a Prior Learning Assessment, a student must demonstrate knowledge and/or skills to meet the same outcome measures that a student would if enrolled in the course. A written competence narrative is required for all prior learning assessments. This is a document detailing how and where this knowledge was obtained to demonstrate the level of competence the student has in this topic area.
Depending on the subject, the student may be required to read a specific book in relation to the topic to learn more about the theory associated with the subject. For example, the course "Interpersonal Communication," if done as a prior learning assessment, requires students to demonstrate their knowledge in communication methods and also read a textbook that explains communication theories. The student would write a narrative describing their knowledge gained on the subject through work and life experiences and connect their knowledge with the theories used in the book.
How long does it generally take to complete an AA or AS degree?
This all depends on the student's motivation, if prior college credit will be transferred in toward the degree, and how many courses they can do via credit for prior learning. The flexibility of this program allows the student to register for as many courses/prior learning assessments they feel they can successfully complete in a semester. A timeline for completion can be developed in our educational planning class to help determine a completion date.
What is the average age of our students?
The median age of the students in the ASAP program is 41. Our program is specifically designed for students with at least five years of work experience; many of our students have been in the work force for 20+ years and are returning to college or just starting out.
Do students receive help in degree planning?
Absolutely. Students register for two courses -- INTS 1010 (Educational Planning and Assessment - 3 credits) and INTS 1011 (Prior Learning Assessment Development - 1 credit). The Educational Planning and Assessment course offers students individualized help to develop an educational goal and a degree plan based on which degree they will complete at Inver Hills. If a bachelor's degree or higher is desired, the degree plan includes the seamless transfer of all necessary courses. We help you plan carefully to ensure everything is included to meet all degree requirements. This is based on a 2- and/or 4-year option, depending on the student's desires. The Prior Learning Assessment Development class prepares the student for what is expected of them to successfully complete their prior learning assessments.
How do I know whether my knowledge and skills fit into the degree I'm planning on pursuing?
You will receive individualized help from your instructor to determine how your knowledge and skills can be tied into your degree.
What is the cost?
Students pay the same tuition and fees that the traditional student does. Currently, tuition and fees total approximately $175.73 per credit. Books are an additional cost and can range from $50 - $150 per course.
The tuition for completing courses through credit for prior learning is significantly less than our regular credits -- even more reason to try this! Effective summer 2013, the cost per PLA credit is $100.00.
Does financial aid cover the cost of this program?
Yes. Financial aid applies to courses and/or prior learning assessments.