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Credit for Learning Experiences other than Formal Instruction 1.101

Related Procedure: 1.103 Student Grades

Elgin Community College (ECC) students may have attained specific skills comparable to those being achieved through formal instruction provided by the College. Credit may be awarded for demonstrated skills obtained outside of the traditional classroom, according to the procedures that follow. The availability of credit for learning experiences other than formal instruction is included in the course description. Each department determines by what means credit may be granted through learning experiences other than formal instruction. Methods may include but are not limited to The College Board Advanced Placement (AP), CLEP Testing, or Proficiency Credit, which may include oral exam, written exam, portfolio review, or demonstrated skills obtained through work or other experiences. Credit awarded will not exceed one-half of the number of hours required for an associate degree or certificate. A student seeking credit for learning experiences other than formal instruction must already be enrolled or have applied for admission to the College.

Students intending to transfer to another institution should consult with that institution regarding transfer credit policies.

Advanced Placement Tests

The College Board Advanced Placement (AP) tests may be used to fulfill ECC course requirements in a variety of areas. They are nationally standardized, subject-specific tests taken at the high school after completion of an Advanced Placement course. The courses for which a student can receive college credit based on AP scores is denoted with a proficiency code in the catalog. A listing of ECC courses and required AP scores are available at For AP credit to be posted on an ECC transcript, official scores must be sent from the College Board to ECC’s Records and Registration Department. Contact Records and Registration Department to verify receipt of scores and posting of credit. Beginning with the 2016-17 Academic Year, ECC will award Advanced Placement credit in compliance with Illinois Public Act 099-0358 (HB3428). For Advanced Placement scores dated prior to 8/13/15, college credit will be awarded under the College’s previous policy. For Advance Placement scores dated after 8/13/15, college credit will be awarded under the new regulations. See for details.

CLEP Testing

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a group of nationally standardized tests offered by appointment at the ECC Main Campus Testing Center during regular hours. These computerized tests are usually best suited for those with considerable academic and life experiences. Students may take as many CLEP tests as they wish, up to 50 percent of the credit hours required for an ECC certificate or degree, including proficiency options. Most tests can be completed in 90 minutes. Call the Testing Center to make an appointment to take the test and complete the required registration material. For more information, including fees go to For information on registering and paying for CLEP exam, go to

Proficiency Credit

ECC’s Proficiency Credit is a demonstration of knowledge and skills obtained in a method other than formal instruction provided by the college. The course catalog indicates whether Proficiency Credit is available and shall be evaluated through one or more of the following methods: oral, written, portfolio, and demonstrated skill assessments. Contact the Divisional Dean to initiate the process for obtaining credit.

Courses at Non-College Institutions

Credit earned for academic courses at non-college institutions (i.e., courses taken through business, industrial, labor organizations) may be accepted if it is recommended by the American Council on Education Programs of Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (ACE/PONSI) in The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs. All criteria is subject to approval of the ECC department offering similar courses. For more information, refer to

Military Experiences

Credit earned for military training, education and through Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES) may be accepted for transfer credit if official documentation is provided and courses are recommended by the American Council on Education in The Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services.  For more information, refer to

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