Jul 23, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin

Undergraduate Admission Requirements and Procedures

Application Deadlines

An application for admission should be submitted well in advance of the term in which the student plans to enroll. A beginning freshman should complete the admission procedures early in the senior year of high school. The following deadlines have been established for students in order that maximum consideration and assistance can be given to each applicant:

     Fall Semester August 15
     Spring Semester December 15
     Summer Session 1 May 1
     Summer Session 2 June 1

Exception to these deadlines can be made only with special approval of the Executive Director for Enrollment.

Step-by-Step Admission Procedure

The student desiring admission should provide the following items:

  1. Completed Application for Undergraduate Admission (www.usi.edu/apply).
  2. Pay the non-refundable application fee or (for high school students) submit fee waiver request
  3. Official transcripts from high schools and all colleges/universities previously attended 

In general, SAT or ACT scores are not required for admission unless a student indicates they would like scores considered on their admission application. Refer to the Standardized Test Scores section for more information. When all steps listed above are completed, the applicant’s admission file will be complete; upon review, the applicant will be notified of the decision on admission to the University. Unofficial transcripts can be used to make an initial admission decision. Prior to the beginning of the semester, final official transcripts must be submitted. Detailed information will be communicated to the student regarding placement testing and Screaming Eagles Orientation (academic advisement and registration for classes).

Notice of Admission

Applicants will be notified as quickly as possible of their admission status upon receipt of all required materials. Students can typically expect a response within 10-14 business days.

New Freshmen

In order to qualify for admission to the University of Southern Indiana, new freshmen students are considered for acceptance based on their high school GPA and curriculum and other evidence of the applicant’s potential for academic success. Standardized test scores will be taken into consideration if a student indicate this preference on their application.

Each freshman applicant is reviewed on an individual basis. USI recommends that students take the following courses while in high school:

  • Four years of English
  • Three to four years of science (minimally, one laboratory science)
  • Three years of social science
  • Three to four years of mathematics
  • Three to four additional academic electives

Transcripts recording any coursework completed while in high school that could be considered for college credit should be submitted with the Application for Undergraduate Admission. This includes university-level/dual credit courses taken through a college or university, Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or International Baccalaureate (IB). Refer to the Transfer Credit Policy and Prior Learning Assessment sections for more information.

Admission to the University does not guarantee acceptance into a specified area of study, department, or college. Further information about the requirements of major programs and/or colleges may be obtained from the respective academic department. 

Homeschooled Students

The University of Southern Indiana welcomes applications for University admission from homeschooled students. Homeschooled students have been part of the academic community for many years and the University recognizes the important contributions that these students make both in the classroom and as a part of student life on the campus. The University makes a deliberate effort to accommodate the special circumstances of homeschoolers in the admission process.

Applicants for admission who have not fulfilled a college preparatory curriculum are considered for admission on an individual basis. Grade point average, curriculum, and other evidence of the applicant’s potential for academic success are considered in the admission decision.

Qualified homeschooled students are eligible for consideration of institutional scholarships. Homeschooled students applying for academic scholarships are evaluated on the same basis as all other students.

Homeschooled Transcripts - The University understands that the academic transcripts of homeschooled students may differ from those of public and private high school students. Homeschooled transcripts are required for admission to the University and they should include:

  • An assessment of academic performance (letter grades, percentages), including an explanation of any applicable grading scale
  • A list of all high school equivalent courses taken, and the timeframe in which the courses were completed (year and semester)

If students have completed coursework concurrently at a college or university, include official transcript(s) from the institution(s) with your application for admission. Refer to the Transfer Credit Policy and Prior Learning Assessment sections for more information.

Admission of homeschooled students to the University of Southern Indiana does not guarantee acceptance into a specific program of study, department, or college. Further information concerning the academic requirements of major programs and/or colleges may be obtained from the respective academic department.

High School Equivalency Exam

Any individual between the ages of 18 and 22 years of age who is not a high school graduate may be admitted by passing a high school equivalency exam (GED, HiSET, TASC, etc.). Indiana residents must provide proof of successful completion of the HiSET exam. Applicants residing outside of Indiana must present documentation proving successful completion of their state’s equivalency exam (GED, HiSET, TASC, etc.).

Standardized Test Scores

On their application for admission, students indicate whether they want to provide standardized test scores as part of their application. If students choose to submit SAT or ACT scores, USI will superscore and take the best score from each section for a final score. Standardized test scores may still be required for admission to specific academic programs at the University. Details concerning test score requirements for specific programs can be obtained from the respective academic department. Standardized test scores may also assist with appropriate placement into English, math, and reading classes. Refer to www.usi.edu/university-division/academic-skills/placement-testing for more information.

If planning to include test scores for admission consideration, it is recommended that beginning freshmen should take one of these examinations in the latter part of the junior year or early in the senior year in high school. Each applicant should consult his or her high school counselor’s office for detailed information on test dates, test centers, registration forms, registration periods, and deadlines. This information also may be obtained by visiting www.actstudent.org or www.collegeboard.com. If a student already has taken one of the required tests and the University of Southern Indiana was not designated to receive the results, he or she should do one of the following: (1) contact the National Testing Center and request the scores be sent to the University, or (2) request that the high school send the test scores to USI Undergraduate Admissions on an official transcript. A student who did not take the SAT/ACT while in high school should contact ACT or SAT for test registration information.

Transfer Students

In evaluating applications for transfer admission, academic performance at each college attended is considered. If the applicant has less than 12 transferable hours post-high school, they will also be required to submit final high school transcripts.

A student desiring to transfer from another accredited college will need to submit an application for admission and official transcripts from all previous colleges/universities attended. A transfer student should have a minimum cumulative average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and be in good standing at the institution from which he or she is transferring.

Course credits earned from regionally accredited colleges and universities will be accepted as transfer credit subject to the guidelines in USI’s Transfer Credit Policy.

Undergraduate Admissions may admit transfer students who have college coursework in progress at another institution. Transfer students who enter the University with coursework in progress or are admitted based on unofficial transcripts will be required to submit final official transcripts as a prerequisite to their continued enrollment. Required credentials must be submitted to Undergraduate Admissions within the semester of initial enrollment. Continued enrollment is conditional upon compliance with the admission requirements which were in effect at the time of the student’s initial enrollment in the University.

International Students

International applications follow the same application deadlines as all undergraduates. An international student who will enter the U.S. on a nonresident student visa (F-1 or J-1) should apply well in advance of the semester in which the student plans to commence studies. Due to immigration regulations, international students who will join USI on a F-1 or J-1 student visa can only begin baccalaureate degree studies in the Fall and Spring semesters. International students who will begin their studies in the Intensive English Program (IEP) can start their studies in Fall, Fall 2, Spring, Spring 2, or Summer 1 terms.

In order to receive consideration for admission the student must submit:

  • A completed Application for Admission with application fee (online application available at www.usi.edu/international/admissions/how-to-apply);
  • Official English proficiency results at a satisfactory level are required. USI accepts results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS, Cambridge English Advanced, EIKEN, ELS Level 112 completion, or Pearson Test of English Academic exams. We also accept Ordinary Level Certificate completion with 5 passes including a B or higher in English (first language English). For a full list of minimum scores for each of the acceptable English proficiency options and country exemptions, visit www.usi.edu/international/admissions/how-to-apply. Students who do not meet English proficiency requirements can achieve conditional admission at USI through the Intensive English Program;
  • Original, official academic records and diploma or degree certificate (with graduation date) from each high school (with graduation date), college, or university attended. If original academic documents are not issued in English, literal line-by-line English translations are required in addition to the original language;
  • Applicants must meet the standards outlined above in the New Freshmen and Transfer Students sections.

After being admitted to USI, in order to receive your immigration documents to apply for a F-1 or J-1 visa, students must also submit the following:

  • Enrollment Deposit
  • Statement of Finances with supporting documentation;

Credit may be given for International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme coursework, Cambridge International AS and A Level exams, Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. Refer to the Prior Learning Assessment section for more information.

Exchange students participating in an established exchange program between their home institution and USI should contact the international office at their institution to apply to the program.

Intensive English

An Intensive English Program (IEP) is offered through the Center for International Programs. Students who are accepted to an undergraduate degree program with conditional admission to start in the IEP will move automatically into the degree program upon completion of the IEP without submitting an additional application. For more information about IEP, visit www.usi.edu/international/intensive-english.

Upon successful completion of the IEP curriculum and submission of all required documents, qualified students can apply to an undergraduate degree program at USI without submitting a language proficiency test score such as TOEFL or IELTS. Applicants to USI graduate programs will need to submit language proficiency exams meeting the School of Graduate Studies admissions standards.

Non Degree-Seeking Students

A student applying under this category must be 18 years of age or older and must have graduated from a Department of Education-commissioned high school. The pursuit of a degree may not be an immediate objective for the non degree-seeking student. The applicant should complete the regular application for admission. The non degree-seeking student is also required to submit the most recent college/high school transcript. However, if the student later decides to pursue a degree, all pertinent academic documents must then be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for consideration as a degree-seeking student.

High School Agreement Program

A high school junior or senior may be admitted to the University upon approval from the high school principal or guidance counselor, the student’s parents, and the Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

Required application materials include (1) the high school agreement application and (2) the high school transcript. The final decision on all High School Agreement applicants will be made by the Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

Programs for Spouses and Retirees

Special reduced-fee programs are available for spouses of full-time students and for retirees. Refer to One-Course Plan information in the Student Financial Assistance  section of the bulletin for details.

Service members Opportunity College

The University is a member of Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC), a consortium of national higher education associations. As such, it cooperates with the Department of Defense, the Military Services, the National Guard Bureau, and the Coast Guard to help meet the higher education needs of Service members.

Placement Testing

Placement into English, math, and reading courses are based on a student’s ACT/SAT scores and any transfer credit a student may have. Students who did not submit standardized test scores for admission can still submit scores for placement purposes. Without scores, students may need to take a placement test to determine appropriate placement. Students who wish to try to improve their course placement can also take a placement test.

Students who have taken French, German, or Spanish classes in high school and want to continue study of that language at USI will be placed according to number of years they have studied the language. Placement tests are available in French, German and Spanish in certain circumstances by appointment. Students who took Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Latin in high school should contact the World Languages and Cultures department at 812-465-7026 to schedule an interview.

Students who require testing to determine placement should contact the Rice Library Testing Center at www.usi.edu/library/rice-library-testing-center or by calling 812-464-1913.

Placement testing is offered year-round and students may schedule a test on-site or request a voucher for online testing. Placement testing on the USI campus is offered at no cost to prospective students. There is an additional cost associated with the online voucher that must be paid with credit or debit card to the online proctoring service.

Registration for test times on campus closes 48 hours in advance of testing time. Visit www.usi.edu/library/rice-library-testing-center to make an appointment.

Taking a test

  • A student ID number and photo ID are required for testing.
  • Math and reading tests are not timed and generally take about an hour to complete. These two tests may be repeated a second time one week or later after the first attempt.
  • English (writing) is a 50-minute essay test – it can only be taken once.
  • Appointments are scheduled in two-hour blocks. Students should arrive 10 minutes before testing starts, which is the top of the hour for their appointment time.
  • Students who arrive 15 minutes past the start time will not be admitted.
  • No walk-in appointments will be accepted.
  • No personal items are allowed inside the testing center. Secure storage space is available.
  • Placement tests should be completed two weeks prior to advising and registration appointments.

Testing remotely

Vouchers are available for students unable to come to campus. Students may request to take their tests online using a remote option. The virtual remote proctor costs the student $25; allows the student to test at home using their own computer; and requires a high-speed internet connection and a webcam.

Disability Resources

Resources for students with disabilities requesting accommodations must be registered with Disability Resources at least two weeks in advance of scheduling an appointment for placement testing. Contact Disability Resources at usi1disability@usi.edu or 812-464-1961 for more information.

NOTE: Math, reading, and writing placements are mandatory and GENS coursework should be completed by the end of the first year. Credit hours for all these courses count toward a student’s full-time status, but not all the classes offer academic credits. However, these courses save time, academic standing, and financial aid, all of which can be jeopardized if students try to advance to courses for which they are not prepared. For additional information on placement and testing, visit www.usi.edu/library/rice-library-testing-center.

Screaming Eagles Orientation

All new students (freshmen and transfer) are required to participate in Screaming Eagles Orientation. The orientation program focuses on introducing new USI students to the academic policies and support services at USI and facilitating the academic advising and registration process for their first semester. During this program, students meet with staff in their academic area to select courses. Admitted students will receive information from New Student and Traditional Programs prior to Screaming Eagles Orientation outlining orientation dates, reservations, and instructions for participation. For further information, visit usi.edu/orientation

In addition, the University offers a welcome week program in which all new students are expected to participate. The fall welcome week program provides further orientation to programs and services offered by the institution; education on developing skills needed to succeed in college; and opportunities to become connected with other students, faculty, and staff at the institution.

Transfer Credit Policy

The Registrar’s Office is responsible for USI’s transfer credit evaluation service. Official transcripts from other institutions will be reviewed to determine what academic credits will transfer to USI, and their equivalent USI courses.

To be considered official, a transcript must be sent directly from the institution to USI. If the college/university is able to provide a certified e-transcript, it should be sent directly from the institution to enroll@usi.edu. If submitting a paper copy, it should be mailed directly from the institution to the attention of either Undergraduate Admissions (for new students) or the Registrar’s Office (for current/readmitting students); 8600 University Blvd, Evansville, IN 47712.

Course credits earned from regionally accredited* colleges and universities will be accepted as transfer credit subject to the following guidelines in USI’s Transfer Credit Policy:

  • Only courses taken while a school is regionally accredited will be accepted.
  • Only courses with grades of C- or better will transfer. Exception: D grades (D-, D, D+) will transfer when the transcript indicates an associate degree (other than applied degrees) or baccalaureate degree has been awarded, or if the transcript indicates completion of the Indiana College Core (formerly known as the Statewide Transfer General Education Core-STGEC) and a course with a D grade was required for ICC. Some degree programs may require a higher minimum grade in certain courses.
  • Grade point averages do not transfer. Transfer courses accepted for credit are included in earned hours but are excluded from GPA hours, Quality Points, and GPA. Therefore, credit from a transfer course will not replace the credit and grade of a USI course. If a student has earned credit in a course both at USI and transfer, the transfer course will be considered a duplicate; the earned hours will remain with the USI course and the grade will be retained in GPA computations.
  • Credit from quarter-system schools are equal to two-thirds credit at USI.
  • Orientation and remedial courses will not be accepted for transfer credit.
  • Competency or proficiency credit earned at another college or university will not be accepted as transfer credit.
  • Noncredit courses earned at previous colleges or universities will not transfer.
  • Transcripts from international institutions must be an official copy (not a photocopy). If records are in a language other than English, the student may also be required to provide an English translation and course-by-course evaluation report from an acceptable evaluation agency. This report will then be reviewed to determine acceptable transfer credit.
  • Even though credit hours are transferable, the transferred hours may not necessarily apply toward a particular degree program. The applicability of credits toward a specific degree, as well as Core 39, can be determined in counsel with the appropriate departmental advisor. The time elapsed since the completion of the course may also prohibit it from applying toward requirements of a particular degree program and is subject to review by the department of the student’s program.
  • Effective summer 2015, new freshmen, new transfer students, and readmitting students are not limited on the number of credits that can transfer to USI. However, to receive a USI degree, all baccalaureate students must complete at least 30 credit hours at USI, 39 hours of upper-division courses, Core 39, and major requirements for their plan of study. Associate degree students must complete at least 18 credit hours at USI, Core 39 coursework required for the program, and major requirements for their plan of study.
  • For students with transfer work from Indiana colleges/universities, completion of the 30-hour Indiana College Core (formerly known as the Statewide Transfer General Education Core-STGEC) will impact the number of hours and classes required to complete USI’s Core 39.

A student’s overall transfer grade point average will not be recorded on the student’s transcript. Consequently, a transfer student will establish a grade point average from the University of Southern Indiana based only on coursework taken at USI. A transfer student must, however, meet the standards of progress which corresponds to the sum of the total transfer hours accepted and total quality hours attempted at USI.

Visit www.usi.edu/registrar/transfer-credit/transfer-credit-evaluation for information about the transfer credit evaluation process performed by the Registrar’s Office after an official transcript is submitted.

* Acceptable regional accrediting agencies:

Transfer credit evaluation process

The Registrar’s Office strives to complete the transfer credit evaluation process in a timely manner after an official transcript is submitted. New students must submit all required documents to Undergraduate Admissions and be admitted to the University before the evaluation process can be completed. Admitted students should submit their Enrollment Deposit and initiate Screaming Eagles Orientation to indicate their intent to enroll at USI and ensure their transcripts are evaluated prior to advising and registration.

Factors that could delay the evaluation process include:

  • If USI has not previously received a transcript from an institution, or if a transcript includes courses for which a transfer equivalency has not yet been established. The Registrar’s Office will coordinate with the department chair for the course(s) in question. The chair will review the course description to determine whether USI offers a course that is a direct equivalent or if it will result in transfer elective credit.
  • Peak times when a high volume of transcripts are submitted (after a term ends, before the start of a term, during Priority Registration, etc.).
  • Submission of an unofficial transcript. Transfer credit will only be awarded based on receipt of an official transcript. For a preliminary evaluation of your transfer credits, use USI’s Transfer Evaluation Self-Service (TESS).  

Once an official transcript has been evaluated, students can see the results of the transfer credit evaluation by viewing their Degree Works audit (via myUSI).

Credit for associate degree programs; articulation agreements

There are a few programs at USI for which discipline-specific transfer work from an associate degree will be awarded as block credit. Additionally, several articulation agreements have been developed with community colleges in the area. These formal agreements are are joint partnerships that facilitate the transfer of credits between institutions. Students in regionally-accredited associate or occupational degree programs who are interested in obtaining a baccalaureate degree at USI are encouraged to obtain specific information about credit transfer options as early in their college careers as possible.

Mechanisms for awarding course credit based on experiential learning include nationally-recognized standardized exams (AP, CLEP, IB), evaluation of military service transcripts, departmental challenge exams, professional certification/licensure, and portfolio review. Refer to the Prior Learning Assessment section for more information.

Transfer grades

On the student’s unofficial transcript and in Degree Works, grades beginning with T indicate transfer courses. Transfer courses accepted for credit are included in earned hours but are excluded from GPA hours, Quality Points, and GPA. An official transcript includes only the number of credit hours accepted, not individual transfer courses.

Letter grades indicating the transfer credit can be applied toward graduation requirements include TA, TB+, TB, TC+, TC, TP, TCR, TS, TSC.

A grade of TIP indicates an In Progress transfer course. An official transcript showing the final grade must be submitted before the transfer evaluation process can be completed and credit awarded for eligible coursework.

Letter grades indicating the transfer credit cannot be applied toward graduation requirements include TND, TNF, TNI, TNP, TNT, TNW, TRP.

Transfer Equivalency Self-Service (TESS)

Transfer Equivalency Self-Service (TESS) is a web-based tool that allows prospective transfer students, high school students earning dual credit, and even current students to discover how coursework taken at other institutions may transfer to USI. Save time and money! Prospective students no longer have to complete an application for admission and submit official transcripts before finding out how their transfer work may be accepted. Instead, students can use TESS to perform a preliminary transfer evaluation and view a degree audit for their intended program to see how the courses may apply toward their intended program. Get started with TESS by visiting www.usi.edu/registrar/transfer-credit/tess.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credit

The University’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credit program is a student-centered and faculty-driven process for awarding college-level credit for demonstrated acquired knowledge. At USI, undergraduate PLA credit takes many forms, including:

  • nationally recognized standardized examinations (e.g., AP, CLEP, IB, Cambridge International, etc.)
  • evaluation of military service transcripts (JST, CCAF, etc.)
  • institutionally/departmentally developed challenge exams
  • documentation of professional certification/licensure through passing national exam
  • portfolio review of certain forms of licensure and professional credentials/work experience

General policies for all forms of PLA credit

  • Eligibility: To earn credit for prior learning, a student must be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Southern Indiana.
  • Application of Credit: Credit for prior learning shall be applied to degree or program requirements in the same manner as credits earned through the completion of the equivalent courses at the University of Southern Indiana. Credit will be applied for USI course equivalents when students demonstrate mastery of course objectives. Credit will be counted only once for the same course. Credits earned for prior learning are generally not transferable to other institutions.
  • Residency: Credits for demonstrated knowledge earned through any prior learning method do not fulfill University of Southern Indiana residency requirements for degree completion.
  • Grading: Credit awarded by prior learning assessment at the University of Southern Indiana shall not receive conventional letters grades. The transcript will not indicate an unsuccessful attempt to earn credit for prior learning.
  • Financial Aid: Credit awarded by prior learning assessment may affect financial aid eligibility. Students should consult the Student Financial Assistance Office to determine the impact on financial aid eligibility before conferral of prior learning credit.
  • Transcription: Credit awarded for prior learning will be transcripted indicating the method of prior learning assessment.

Nationally-recognized standardized examinations

USI will grant eligible credit for the standardized exams listed below. Students register for an exam and pay an exam fee through the organization that administers the examination. A PDF listing the minimum score required to receive credit at USI and the courses/credit hours to be awarded for each exam can be downloaded below:

Exam/program Organizational web site Credit at USI (PDF)
Advanced Placement (AP) apcentral.collegeboard.org AP Exam Credit
College Level Examination
Program (CLEP)
clep.collegeboard.org/exams CLEP Exam Credit
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Diploma Programme (DP)
www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme IB Credit
Cambridge International
AS & A Level Exams
AS & A Level Exams Cambridge Credit

In order to be considered official, a score report/transcript must be submitted directly to USI from the organization that administers the exam.

Military service transcripts

Military credit may be granted for eligible coursework based on submission of an official Joint Services Transcript (JST) or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript, and review of the American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendation. There is no fee assessed for evaluation of a JST transcript or CCAF transcript.

Institutionally/departmentally developed challenge exams

Course-specific prior learning credit may be granted to students who demonstrate achievement of course objectives by successfully completing a departmentally developed challenge exam. Challenge exams are metrics developed by departmental faculty that measure the “whole of content” within the specific course in which it is associated. Challenge exams may also have performative or practical requirements in addition to the examination itself. Challenge exams are administered by the chair or program director in which the course-specific credit is being awarded.

Each departmental challenge exam will incur a fee of $50.00 per credit hour to administer and assess the examination. Online payment is made via the Prior Learning Assessment payment portal. The fee is non-refundable even if the student fails to qualify for credit. A student may only attempt a specific departmental challenge exam twice. A Departmental Challenge Exam form must be filled out for each challenge exam attempted, regardless of the results. Students who fail to acquire course credit based on their challenge exam performance will be required to register for and complete the course.

World Languages & Cultures Departmental Challenge Exam Credit

Students can earn challenge exam credit in a world language if advanced placement is recommended. The student must earn a grade of ‘B’ or better in the USI world language course into which they have been placed (ARAB, CHIN, FREN, GERM, JPN, LATN, or SPAN). After completing the course with a ‘B’ or better, the student must visit the World Languages and Cultures department to initiate the World Languages & Cultures Departmental Challenge Exam form to receive credit for the lower-level language course(s). The challenge exam will incur a fee of $50 per credit hour for each course to be awarded as credit. Online payment is made via the Prior Learning Assessment payment portal.

Students who are a native (or near native) speaker of a language other than English and were educated outside the U.S. where the main language of instruction was not English are not eligible to earn challenge exam credit for courses in their native language. Students who have questions about the applicability of credit earned by departmental exam should speak with their academic advisor before completing the challenge exam credit form.

Professional certification/licensure

Credit for prior learning that leads to course-specific credit may be attained based on successful completion of nationally-recognized or state-recognized certification exams, such as but not limited to: case management; oncology nursing; critical care nursing; National Association of Social Workers’ ACSW certification; real estate licensure; broker’s licensure.

Students register for a certification exam and pay an exam fee through the organization that administers the examination leading to professional licensure. For further information about PLA credit for professional certification/licensure and to complete the PLA-Certification Credit form, contact the chair or program director of the department in which the course-specific credit is to be awarded.

Portfolio review

The PLA policy allows for the granting of credit for previous experiential learning through a portfolio review. Approved hours are awarded as lower-level elective credit, and are not tied to specific course numbers, departmental requirements, or Core 39 requirements. Instead, PLA credit awarded through a portfolio review can be applied toward the total earned hours required for degree completion.

A portfolio review for PLA credit will be assessed a $250.00 fee, and a portfolio review will not be conducted until the fee has been paid by the student/potential student. Online payment is made via the Prior Learning Assessment payment portal. Submission of a portfolio requesting PLA credit does not guarantee that credit will be awarded; the portfolio review fee is non-refundable regardless of the decision to award PLA credit. After the portfolio review committee has made a determination, a completed Portfolio Review form will be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Students who have questions about portfolio review credit should contact the department chair or program director for their major.

Portfolio review policies and process

  • The student must have at least two years of relevant work experience in the specialty area.
  • The portfolio should be prepared by the student wishing to receive PLA credit for experiential learning.
  • The student must submit a PLA portfolio to the appropriate departmental committee for review during their first semester enrolled at USI. Portfolios received after a student’s first semester of enrollment at USI will not be reviewed.
  • PLA credit for portfolio review will only be awarded once per student. Once a student has been awarded portfolio review credit, he/she cannot request further portfolio review credit.
  • The maximum to be awarded by portfolio review is 30 credit hours. Portfolio reviewers and voting committees can make recommendations and award between 0-30 credit hours.
  • Students must provide evidence to address each course objective and additional information as identified by the program and faculty who are content experts.
  • The portfolio should contain, at least, all information recommended by CAEL, and the information regarding the composition of the portfolio should be included on the website of each program that accepts PLA credit. Updated CAEL portfolio review best practices can be found at cael.org.
  • In cases where the American Council for Education (ACE) guide is used to determine PLA credit, only credit recommendations from HLC accredited institutions should be used to make such determinations. Information regarding ACE recommendations can be found at acenet.edu.
  • Course faculty with expertise in the topic will review the evidence and make recommendations to the program chair. The individual that reviews the portfolio leading to the potential awarding of PLA credit must be CAEL trained.
  • The recommendation of the CAEL trained reviewer for each portfolio must be presented to a faculty committee for a formal vote to award credit. Faculty committees should be comprised of no fewer than three full-time faculty members from the specified unit/department.
  • In cases that involve input from other academic units and departments on the USI campus regarding the awarding of PLA credit, the portfolio reviewer should elicit a written recommendation from the chair/program director of the academic unit to present to the voting faculty committee.
  • The program chair will approve course credit based on review of the evidence and recommendation of course faculty.

Professional Portfolio

Under limited circumstances, the PLA policy allows for the granting of undergraduate credit for previous experiential learning in the field of the student’s profession/degree program. An approved professional portfolio may result in course-specific credit (example: a registered nurse who has experience as a nurse manager may qualify for credit in a Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare course). Students who fail to acquire course credit based on their challenge exam performance will be required to register for and complete the course.

A professional portfolio for possible PLA credit will incur a fee of $50.00 per credit hour. Online payment is made via the Prior Learning Assessment payment portal. The fee is non-refundable even if the student fails to qualify for credit. Students who fail to acquire course credit based on their professional portfolio will be required to register for and complete the course. Faculty with expertise in the topic will review the professional portfolio and present a credit recommendation. After the faculty reviewer has made a determination, a completed Professional Portfolio form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Students who have questions about professional portfolio credit should contact the department chair or program director for their major.