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King University News :: King University Adopts Prior Learning Assessment

The faculty at King University gave their approval on Friday, July 26, 2013 to incorporate prior learning assessment (PLA) into the University’s policy.  Tennessee’s PLA Task Force was created after Tennessee was named recipient of the Completion Innovation Grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The PLA Task Force defines PLA as the assessment of college level learning for college credit that is gained outside a traditional academic environment.  

“King University’s educational experience is uniquely designed to help prepare students to make meaningful and significant contributions to their communities through their vocation after they complete their degrees,” said Dr. Matt Roberts, dean of Academic Affairs for King University.  “Prior learning assessment allows students to receive credit for educational training they have received outside the traditional academic courses.” 

Roberts continued, “A student’s preparation may take the form of military training or other instructional experience received on the job.  Through faculty evaluation and the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), King will work to assess that a students’ learning is at a collegiate level so the student may be awarded equivalent college credit towards their degree program.” 

According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, in January 2010, Tennessee passed the Complete College Tennessee Act, a comprehensive reform agenda that seeks to transform public higher education through changes in academic, fiscal, and administrative policies at the state and institutional level.  At the center of these reforms is the need for more Tennesseans to be better educated and trained while also acknowledging the state's diminished fiscal capacity to support higher education. 

In a May 2012 article in Inside Higher Ed, senior reporter for Inside Higher Ed and former New York Times reporter Paul Fain stated, “Observers say prior learning’s impact on higher education could be enormous.  Its potential could even rival that of online learning, by continuing to open student access beyond the campus…”

“Our new prior learning assessment policy will have its largest impact on our adult learners,” said Roberts.  “King’s Graduate Professional Studies and Online Programs (GPS) has continued expansion throughout the region, meeting adult learners where they are in an effort to make high caliber educational learning opportunities both available and convenient.  The new PLA program will serve to enhance students’ King experience.”

Today, King offers baccalaureate and master’s degree programs through the University’s GPS program at more than a dozen locations across Southwest Virginia, and East and Middle Tennessee, as well as numerous online degree options. 

To learn more about prior learning assessment at King University, visit  For information on King’s Graduate Professional Studies and Online Programs, visit or contact the Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014 or


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.