Credit for Prior Learning

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Awarding of Credits-Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning Options May Include:

Credit by Examination


Students who wish to receive course credit for competencies acquired through work experience or other non-academic experiences can request Credit by Examination. The student is responsible for requesting credit by examination. The instructor, in partnership with the divisional dean, is responsible for granting or denying the request for Credit by Examination. A grade of “CE” is assigned for successful credit by examination on the student’s academic record. Only hours earned for credit are recorded. Credits by Examination will be applied toward graduation requirements, but students must satisfy the graduation requirements related to credit hours completed in attendance at Gaston College. Quality points will not be awarded. A grade of “CE” is not used in computing a student’s grade point average. The instructor is responsible for keeping records of the examination and reporting the results, using the Credit by Examination form, to the Records and Registration Office by the third week of class. Credit by Examination cannot be earned for classes numbered less than 100 or for courses in which the student earned a grade or was enrolled and did not drop prior to the first day of the class. This includes audits and withdrawals.

No student may request Credit by Examination for more than 18 credit hours. Because of the nature of the Emergency Medical Science program, students enrolled in this program are exempt from the college’s policy on maximum “CE” credits.

Effective with the Spring 2014 term, a student who wishes to attempt Credit by Examination must meet with the academic department to provide evidence of proficiency in the course in which he/she is requesting Credit by Examination. The Credit by Examination fee is $50 and the student does not need to register for the class. The examination must be administered during the first 10 days of the semester and may be taken only once. A student who receives any type of financial aid should consult with the Office of Financial Aid before attempting Credit by Examination.


Courses Listed in High School to Community College Articulation Agreements

Students may receive college credit for high school courses if taken within the last 5 years, earned a B or better grade, and received a grade of 80 or higher on a post-assessment test within two years of high school graduation. Students in the Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation or Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation may receive credit for EDU 187 if Teacher Cadet or Teaching as a Profession courses in in high school with a B or higher grade.

Certifications, Licenses, and State/Industry Recognized Credentials

The coursework must have been completed, which resulted in the awarding of a valid certification, license, and/or state/industry recognized credential that is consistent with the CPL standards as approved by the Curriculum Course Review Committee (CCRC).

Standardized Exams

Advanced Placement

If a student has taken AP (Advanced Placement) courses in high school and has earned a score of “3” or higher, he/she is eligible to receive college credit for that score. Scores older than five years are not considered for transfer credit. The results of the Advanced Placement Examination should be sent directly from The College Board to the Records and Registration Office. To obtain official score reports contact:

AP Services
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Telephone 609.771.7300
Fax 609.530.0482


Our CB code is 5262. For further information about how to request a score report, visit the following Web site:

The following chart is an example of Gaston College credit equivalency for AP scores of 3, 4, or 5. All equivalencies are subject to change.

AP Examinations Gaston College Equivalent Courses
Scores of 3 or 4  
Art History ART 114
Biology BIO 111
Calculus AB MAT 271
Calculus BC MAT 272
Chemistry CHM 151
Computer Science AB CIS  115
Economics: Macro ECO 252
Economics: Micro ECO 251
English Language and Composition ENG 111
English Literature and Composition ENG 111
Environmental Science BIO 140, BIO 140A
French Language FRE 111
German Language GER 111
Government & Politics: Comparative POL 210
Government & Politics: United States POL 120
Physics B PHY 151
Physics C: Mechanics PHY 131
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism PHY 132
Psychology PSY 150
Spanish Language SPA 111
Statistics MAT 152
Studio Art: Drawing ART 131
Studio Art: 2D Design ART 121
Studio Art: 3D Design ART 122
U.S. History HIS 131
World History HIS 111


Scores of 5  
Art History ART 114, ART 115
Biology BIO 111, BIO 112
Calculus AB MAT 271
Calculus BC MAT 272
Chemistry CHM 151, CHM 152
Computer Science AB CIS  115
Economics: Macro ECO 252
Economics: Micro ECO 251
English Language and Composition ENG 111, ENG 112
English Literature and Composition ENG 111, ENG 131
Environmental Science BIO 140, BIO 140A
European History HIS 213, HIS 214
French Language FRE 111, FRE 112
German Language GER 111, GER 112
Government & Politics: Comparative POL 210
Government & Politics: United States POL 120
Music Theory MUS 121, MUS 122
Physics B PHY 151, PHY 152
Physics C: Mechanics PHY 131
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism PHY 132
Psychology PSY 150
Spanish Language SPA 111, SPA 112
Statistics MAT 152
Studio Art: Drawing ART 131, ART 132
Studio Art: 2D Design ART 121
Studio Art: 3D Design ART 122
U.S. History HIS 131, HIS 132
World History HIS 111, HIS 112


College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP®)

College-level credit is awarded to students who provide official CLEP (College Level Examination Program) results to the Records and Registration Office. Scores of 50 or above on subject examinations are required for college credit. No credit is given for the general examination. CLEP scores older than five years are not considered for transfer credit. For further information on CLEP contact:

P.O. Box 6601
Princeton, NJ 08541-6601
Telephone 609.771.7865

Cambridge Assessment International Education Examinations (CAIEE)

Must be completed with a grade of “E” or better, which is the equivalent to a grade of “C” or better in the U.S. 

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

 Students must complete the DSSTs and earn the minimum score as recommended by the American Council on Education at the time the official score is evaluated. CPL will be the same amount of credit awarded students who completed the related course.

International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme

Students must complete the IB with a score of 70 or higher.

Military Credit

Military Credit is awarded based on the Guide to the Evaluation of Education Experiences in the Armed Services.

Workforce Continuing Education

Workforce Continuing Education courses must have an equivalent learning outcome as a curriculum course to be considered for the awarding of CPL. In some cases, multiple Workforce Continuing Education courses may be combined to demonstrate an equivalent learning outcome for a curriculum course. In all cases, a grade of “S” or “C” or better must be earned for a Workforce Continuing Education course to be eligible for CPL. Awarded CPL for Workforce Continuing Education cannot be used to fulfill the residency requirement for graduation.


Gaston College recognizes “Registered Apprenticeships” as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor and will award CPL for a registered apprenticeship based on any applicable and approved statewide articulation, including an evaluation of the instruction provided when articulation is not applicable or approved. Work-based learning (WBL) course credit may be granted for the experiential portion of a Registered Apprenticeship; however, documentation, including completed time on task, must be provided through an Apprenticeship Agreement and constitute the documentational requirements of a WBL experience.

Public Safety Training (PST) Prefix Courses

Courses in the NCCCS Combined Course Library with a Public Safety Training (PST) prefix will be evaluated for the awarding CPL for industry-recognized public safety training and/or credentials. To be consistent with 1D SBCCC 400.8(c), credit will be considered for public safety training that meets the criteria outlined in the Public Safety Training (PST) course descriptions as listed in the Combined Course Library. Gaston College requires official documentation from the training provider or credentialing entity that validates, at a minimum, the description and length of training.

Portfolio Assessment

The College may award CPL based on portfolio assessment. For the purposes of this option and consideration, a portfolio must contain a collection of artifacts documenting competencies gained through prior life and learning experiences. The assessment may also require self-reflection on growth during the learning experiences, strength/weaknesses of the artifacts, and/or how well the artifacts demonstrate attainment of course learning outcomes or course learning objectives. The assessment would be conducted by subject matter expert(s) (SME) designated by the College. The SME(s) conducting the assessment will provide the rubric or instrument to assess the portfolio along with the minimum passing criteria. The portfolio assessment may also require a Credit by Examination (CBE) exam as per this policy, and if the CBE exam is outside of regular course enrollment, an assessment fee may apply. The maximum allowable CPL for portfolio assessment is 18 credits.


Students may be eligible to receive transfer credit(s) to Gaston College from nationally-accredited colleges and universities. Gaston College accepts transfer credits from institutions of higher education that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and other national agencies recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation as described in the current edition of Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

A transfer credit evaluation is provided for each student with prior college work when the student has an application for admission on file with the Office of Admissions. Students must earn at least 25% of credit hours of their course work at Gaston College in order to receive a degree or diploma from Gaston College.

Time limits may restrict the transfer of some courses if it is determined that the course material is outdated. Only course work completed at Gaston College is used in computing grade point averages.

The student should meet with his/her academic division to determine how and if the course work will apply toward the student’s degree program and graduation requirements at Gaston College.

Credit will be awarded unless specifically prohibited by other College, Federal, State, or Accrediting Agencies (e.g., College Now, program specific accreditations, etc.).


  • Courses which have a Gaston College equivalent course in terms of course title/content/semester hour equivalency. Students may be able to receive credit with divisional dean approval if the credit hours do not match. In these cases, students must still meet the minimum hours for the curriculum standard.
  • Courses for which there is an equivalent course in the North Carolina Community College Common Course Library (CCL).
  • Courses earned with letter grades of “C” or higher unless the course is from a North Carolina Community College. Grades of “D” will be accepted but may be below the minimum grade for some majors.
  • Courses from nationally-accredited schools.
  • Some military credits on a case-by-case basis with proper documentation.
  • CLEP score(s) 50 or above subject to examination, less than five years old.
  • AP credit and IB credit for scores of “3” or higher, less than five years old.
  • Credit from foreign institutions, only if an official course-by-course evaluation is provided and all other transfer requirements have been met.
  • Possible CJC credit for students who successfully complete the BLET program.
  • Possible FIP credit earned from the National Fire Academy as recommended by ACES and approved by the Director of the Fire Protection Technology program.
  • Possible AUT credit earned through the ASE examination and approved by the Chair of the Automotive Systems Technology program.
  • Emergency Medical Science (EMS) credit is given to those that have passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) cognitive and practical examinations and received National EMS Certification as an EMT-Basic. These students must provide a letter from NREMT stating that they have passed their certification along with their NREMT certification card. Upon receipt the EMS Department Chair reviews their course work for credit to be accepted by Gaston College.
  • The North Carolina High School to Community College Articulation Agreement is honored by Gaston College. As outlined in this agreement, high school students have an opportunity to earn college credit for specific courses taken in high school.. Credit may be awarded to high school students who complete specific high school courses. The following criteria must be met: a grade of B or higher earned on the high school course and a raw score of 80 or higher on the Career Technical Education post-assessment. Students must enroll in Gaston College within two years of their high school graduation date to receive this credit. Gaston College must be provided an official high school transcript from the School County Office showing the course(s), the grade(s) earned, and the corresponding Career Technical Education post-assessment scores. If the post-assessment scores are not reflected on the high school transcript, a letter on school letterhead stating the post-assessment scores and the corresponding course must be submitted with the high school transcript.



  • Courses earned with a letter grade lower than a “C”, unless taken at a NC Community College. Please be aware that a “C” or better grade may be required for certain academic programs.
  • Courses from non-nationally accredited schools.
  • Work-Based Learning experience courses.
  • Department-specific time limit restrictions (varies by department).
  • Courses earned through credit by examination.


Academic Advisors other members of the college faculty and staff are available to advise and assist any student planning to transfer to a four-year institution. It is the student’s responsibility to follow their intended school’s admission requirements closely. These requirements are indicated in the particular institution’s catalog.

Because of the highly specialized nature of courses in particular programs, some courses are not designed for transfer to a four-year institution. Students also should note that courses numbered 100 or lower usually do not transfer.

Students are strongly advised to see an academic advisor regularly if they are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university. Representatives from four-year colleges visit the campus regularly in order to help Gaston College students plan their transfer programs.

Students that have been granted academic forgiveness or have repeated courses with deficient grades should contact their intended transfer institution about their course transfer policy. Many institutions count all course attempts upon transfer.