Credit for Prior Learning - Southwestern Illinois College


Proficiency examinations may be taken in some courses or programs upon petition by the student. These examinations may be taken only with the approval of the instructor/coordinator, dean and vice president for Instruction. They are available to those students who, in the judgment of the responsible college officials, possess the requisite background knowledge as a result of previous coursework, experience, or a combination of course work and experience.

Students authorized to take proficiency examinations will be required to pay a nonrefundable 50 percent tuition charge. If the student is successful, the 50 percent tuition charge will apply to his/her total tuition for the course. This fee is payable at the time they submit their applications.

Students who successfully complete proficiency examinations will have the credit recorded on their college transcripts with the designation PC (proficiency credit). A letter grade will not be recorded and the credits will not be included when computing grade point averages; however, they may be applied toward graduation requirements. A student can earn a maximum of 16 semester credits through proficiency examinations.

Information about specific proficiency examinations is available from the dean of the division to which the course/program is assigned.

Proficiency examinations are given in accordance with the following restrictions:

  • They may not be taken to raise a grade, remove a final grade of F or replace an incomplete I.
  • They may not be taken before a student is officially admitted to SWIC.
  • They may not be taken more than once in the same course.
  • They may not be taken in a course that is below the level of previously completed coursework.
  • They may not be taken in a course which a student has previously audited or in which a student has been enrolled.
  • Seminars may not be used as a basis for proficiency examinations or credit.
  • They may not be taken prior to receiving written consent from the appropriate instructor, dean and the vice president for Instruction.
  • They may not be taken prior to receipt of the non-refundable fee.

Please understand that it is the student’s responsibility to check with transfer institutions regarding transferability of proficiency credit.


Students who have previously completed college course work with a grade of D or better can request to have their transcripts evaluated toward a degree or certificate at SWIC. Transfer credit grades are not included in the cumulative grade point average. Transfer credit may be accepted from another college or university that is regionally accredited by any of the following associations:

  • HLC – The Higher Learning Commission
  • MSA – Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • NASC – Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • NEASC-CIHE – New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • NEASC-CTCI – New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Technical and Career Institutions
  • NWCCU – Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • SACS – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • WASC-ACCJC – Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • WASC-ACSCU – Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

Transfer Credit acceptance is reviewed on a yearly basis.

Steps to having your transcripts evaluated
  1. Submit New Student Information Form to Enrollment Services
  2. Request official transcripts be sent to Enrollment Services from each institution attended
  3. Submit a Transfer Credit Evaluation Request Form to Enrollment Services.

When the required documentation is received, an official evaluation of the student’s coursework will be completed. Evaluation results will be emailed to your SWIC student email account.

A course that meets general education requirements at SWIC will be accepted in transfer to meet comparable general education requirements. College-level courses that are not direct equivalents will be evaluated for elective credit. Credits accepted in transfer do not necessarily apply to all certificates or degree programs.


If you have earned credit for completing an AP, CLEP or DANTES exam, you must request an official score report from AP, CLEP or DANTES in order for SWIC to examine the credit and grant it when acceptable. Credit for exams that appear on high school or other institution’s transcripts will not be accepted. A Transfer Credit Evaluation form must also be submitted to the Enrollment Services office.

Review the lists of exams SWIC accepts.


The law requires that appropriate credit is granted for all previous education, training or experience. It is your responsibility to ensure all applicable transcripts are received. Failure to have transcripts evaluated can result in termination of VA educational benefits retroactive to the beginning of the semester in which you entered SWIC or the beginning of the semester in which you requested a Change of Program, regardless of whether or not you are currently enrolled. Retroactive termination results in an overpayment of benefits that you may have to pay back to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Any current member of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Reserves, National Guard, or eligible veteran who has successfully completed basic training may be granted two hours of credit for health (HES 151 or HES 152) and two hours of credit for physical education upon submission of his or her form DD-214 or the equivalent thereof.


Credit awards are granted based on professional certifications and/or union or industry training/education. The process for issuing credit awards is:

  1. Student makes contact with a subject area faculty member or program coordinator/department chair to discuss whether or not a credit award evaluation/assessment would be appropriate.
  2. Student provides documentation to program coordinator/department chair for certifications and/or union or industry training/education.
  3. A skill assessment is scheduled with the program coordinator/department chair, when appropriate, which could include hands-on and/or written assessments.
  4. Upon successful completion of the assessment a credit award is completed by the program coordinator/department chair and submitted with supporting documentation for consideration of approval to the appropriate academic dean and vice president for Instruction.
  5. If approved by the appropriate academic dean and vice president for Instruction, the credit award packet is forwarded to the Enrollment Services office for processing.