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Graduate CPL - Frequently Asked Questions

What are graduate CPL credits?

CPL stands for Credit for Prior Learning.  Students will complete a portfolio representing evidence of graduate level learning received outside of a traditional classroom setting.  The credits are graduate credits and will be assigned to the discipline in which the learning represents. 

Who is eligible for Graduate CPL credits?

At this time, the graduate CPL credits are limited to those high school teachers who are collaborating or plan to collaborate with a MinnState system college or university.  We plan to readdress this stipulation in the near future to hopefully include anyone who is looking to earn credit for HLC requirement purposes.

Will graduate CPL credits show on an official transcript?

Yes, the graduate CPL credits will show on an official SMSU transcript.  The listing will appear as follows: XXXX 589, depending on the discipline in which the credits are awarded.  The grade method used for the course will be a Credit/No Credit grading option.

Do credits count towards HLC credentialing requirements?

Yes, the MinnState System Office has approved graduate CPL credits as counting towards HLC credentialing.
For any institutions outside of the MinnState system (should you partner with more than one institution), please check with the partnering institution to determine their policy towards graduate CPL credits.

Can Graduate CPL credits be earned in other disciplines?

The “Credits Offered” list represents what we are currently offering at SMSU.  We will continue to look into and develop additional courses based upon the need and practical application within a discipline.

What is the cost associated with graduate CPL credits?

The cost for a graduate CPL portfolio review is $75 per credit.  Students are charged for the number of credits requested and not the number of credits awarded.  There will be no additional fee for the awarding of credits once the review is complete.

Will students be required to pay if credit is not awarded?

Yes, as students are paying for the review of their submitted portfolio and not the number of awarded credits.  Our faculty will work with students prior to submitting a portfolio to give an idea of how many credits the prior learning may be worth and what evidence is necessary to demonstrate that level of credit.  The suggested number of credits is not guaranteed as it will depend upon the evidence submitted within the portfolio.

Can CPL credits count towards a degree?

SMSU does allow students to use the CPL credits towards a Master’s degree in Education.  Students can use/transfer in up to 18 graduate credits in a discipline to pair with our 18 required graduate Education courses to complete a Master’s degree in Education with a content area.

How do I request an official transcript?

Official transcripts can be ordered online through the Registration and Records Transcript page.  Transcript requests are processed through the National Clearinghouse and will have a minimal cost per official transcript.  All transcripts are mailed using the US Postal service.  For additional questions about ordering a transcript, please contact the Registration and Records office at 507-537-6207 or

What are the steps to earning graduate CPL credits?

  1. Contact the College Now Office or Graduate Studies Office to inquire about graduate CPL credits.
  2. Talk with department faculty to determine if credit for prior learning is an option.
  3. Complete the Part-Time Special Admit form.
  4. Compile evidence of prior learning into a portfolio.
  5. Submit portfolio for review to faculty.

For additional information, please contact:

Jessica Mensink
Director of Concurrent Enrollment, College Now
(507) 537-6390


Cori Ann Dahlager
Director of the School of Graduate Studies


Last Modified: 6/7/22 1:31 PM | Website Feedback