Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio (PLA portfolio)

PLA is: doing ->  learning -> showing -> earning!

Polk State College allows learners to receive college credit through portfolio development for prior learning experiences that do not have a standardized mechanism for college credit evaluation (e.g. external standardized credit-by-exam, articulated licensure or certification (ACE), in accordance with guidelines established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).  Through what you’ve done and what you’ve learned you can show what you know and earn credit for it!

Assessment by portfolio is a process through which a student documents that college-level learning experiences have been obtained through non-college experiences. Portfolio assessment may result in the award of credit for specific Polk State courses within a student’s program of study for up to 25% of the student’s degree program. A non-refundable portfolio fee is assessed for review of the portfolio based on the number of credits sought; however, this cost is less than the cost per credit hour tuition for the regular course.

How Do I Get Started with a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio?

STEP 1: Learn what’s involved in the process

View the PLA Information and Orientation presentation on this website. This is required before you to request permission to pursue the PLA. Then, you must confirm that you have the needed documentation and experience and that you can demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of the course for which you want to earn PLA credit.

Review the PLA process flow chart on this website for a summary of the PLA process steps.

STEP 2:  Verify that you meet the qualifications

  • Enrolled in a degree-seeking program at Polk State College
  • Completed ENC 1101 (or equivalent)
  • Minimum of three (3) years professional experience in the area for which you are seeking PLA credit

STEP 3: Request approval to pursue the PLA

Submit the following to Matina Wagner, Internship /PLA Coordinator, at

  • Prior Learning Assessment Request Form
  • Abstract (rationale for PLA request – guidelines are on the PLA Request Form)
  • Basic Course Information (BCI) sheet for the course for which you are requesting PLA credit (
  • Resume
  • Unofficial college transcripts

Once the PLA Coordinator confirms your request is complete and accurate, it will be submitted to the appropriate program director or district dean for approval to pursue based on your source of experience and justification.
NOTE: This does not mean that you have earned the credit; it means you have the ability to pursue the portfolio for possible credit.

STEP 4: Complete the online PLA Portfolio Development course

Once approved, you are required to take the PLA Portfolio Development course which is a non-credit/fee-based course online.  This is required for your first portfolio, but if you choose to seek PLA credit for an additional course, the PLA Portfolio course is optional.  The PLA Coordinator will provide course access information and will assist you in formatting your portfolio.

STEP 5: Pay the PLA fee

Once the portfolio course is completed, pay the PLA fee of $50 per credit hour requested (e.g., 3 credit hour class = $150 PLA fee) at the Polk State Cashier’s Office.
NOTE: This is a nonrefundable fee, and you must submit the receipt with your portfolio.

STEP 6: Submit the Portfolio for evaluation

Submit your portfolio to the appropriate program director with a copy of the PLA fee receipt. The appropriate subject matter expert/course instructor will evaluate your portfolio based on the course BCI and your demonstration of mastery of the course learning objectives.
For further information, contact Matina Wagner, PLA Coordinator at or 863.298.6897.