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Alternative Credit Options

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Alternative Credit Options

Ursuline College allows you to pursue college credit outside of the traditional classroom setting. In keeping with Ursuline's personal approach to education, we recognize your unique learning experiences by providing you with the opportunity to receive credit for what you already know. You can earn academic credit by examination through our Test-Out and CLEP options. Through our External Learning Assessment program, you have the opportunity to receive credit for what you have learned through hands-on work, volunteer service and personal experiences. Finally, you may be eligible to earn college credit for formal training experiences that have been required by your employer.

A few features of Ursuline's Alternative Credit options include:

You can finish up to a third of your degree! A maximum limit of 43 semester hours may be earned through Alternative Credit Options. Costs that are significantly less than traditional courses at Ursuline College. You'll pay less than $70.00 per credit hour for all Alternative Credit Options. Recognition in your degree program for your personal and professional accomplishments.

CLEP - College Level Examination Program

  • A national, standardized testing program that is recognized by colleges all over the country.
  • Ursuline College accepts most of the 29 subject exams as elective credits and some can be substituted for specific Ursuline College requirements.
  • Roughly a 70% is considered passing.
  • The College Board publishes a study guide that will help you prepare for CLEP exams.
  • If you don't pass the CLEP exam, nothing goes on your transcript and you are eligible to retake that exam again in 6 months.
  • Each CLEP test costs $80.00 to take, with an additional $10.00 fee to have the credits posted to your transcript if you pass the exam.
  • For More Information on the CLEP exams, visit the CLEP Web site.

Ursuline College Credit-Granting Polices for CLEP

  • Discuss CLEP possibilities with your advisor. Ursuline does not accept all CLEP exams, and not every exam recognized by the College is recognized for every major.
  • All CLEP exams are multiple choice and are given on a computer.
  • CLEP tests are not permitted during your final semester at Ursuline.
  • CLEP exams may not be taken for a class that a student has failed at Ursuline and needs to repeat.
  • Cost of a CLEP Exam: $80.00
  • Create an account on the CLEP website to register for an exam and pay your test fee. Find a CLEP testing Center and schedule your test. Ursuline is not a testing center, your scores will be sent to us by the College Board. Locally, tests are administered at Cleveland State University (216) 687-2272; Walsh University, Medina 330 764 4724; University of Akron (330) 972-7084; Kent State University 330 244 5050. Test centers usually charge an administrative fee. 
  • STUDY RESOURCES: For $24.95 plus postage and handling, you may order a copy of the 2016 CLEP Official Study Guide by the College Board (also available for short term loan at Ursuline's library). This study guide contains a description of each examination and sample test questions and answers. While other publications are available, you should make every attempt to review material provided in the College Board's study guide. Use the website collegeboard.com to find test descriptions and other valuable resources and information about preparing for CLEP. Also go online to ursulinelibrary.wikispaces.com/CLEP for other resources in our library.
    • You will also need to secure a college-level textbook in the subject area. You will need to purchase this textbook at a college bookstore, as most college libraries do not carry textbooks. We do not recommend studying only from the CLEP handbook – it serves only as a supplement to the textbook and is designed to give you guidance as to what to study.  
  • When you go for your testing session, be sure to indicate that you want your scores sent to Ursuline College (College Code: 1848). You will receive your test results immediately after taking the exam. Ursuline College students earning the minimum required exam score of 50 (roughly equivalent to a 70%) are granted credits based upon the recommendation of the American Council on Education. If you earn a passing score of 50 or above, there is a $10.00 fee to get the grade posted to your academic transcript. Please send a check made out to Ursuline College for $10.00 to URSA, Mullen 306, 2550 Lander Road, Pepper Pike, OH 44124. Your passing grade will not be posted until we receive this payment.
  • You are allowed one re-take of the exam, but you must wait at least 6 months to do so.

External Learning Assessment

External Learning Assessment
(ELA) allows you to earn academic credit for learning you gained outside of the classroom through on-the-job training, volunteer experiences, significant personal events, etc.

The ELA is done in the form of a paper or a portfolio for elective credits. It will allow you to gain credit for LEARNING, rather than EXPERIENCE. The difference is that experience is a description of events; learning is the product of what you take way from an experience, and how you translate the experience into future situations.

  • The learning must be college level, so the topic must be similar to a course found in a college catalog.
  • You must show depth of knowledge by covering a variety of issues within the topic and you must show theoretical knowledge of the topic.
  • The learning you discuss must be measurable and verifiable. You will need to discuss how much time you spent in the learning activity and should provide evidence of your learning (for example, samples of your work, copies of certificates, diplomas or letters from teachers or employers and a summary of learning outcomes).
There is a $25 registration fee for the ELA. A faculty member who has expertise in the area about which you are writing will evaluate your portfolio. If you receive credit for your portfolio, you are charged $50.00 per credit hour granted. You will have one calendar year to complete the ELA, but it must be completed 6 months before you graduate.

You must talk with your academic advisor to determine whether you can use the ELA credits in your degree program. A hand-out explaining the recommended portfolio format is available in the Office of Alternative Credit Options located in 210 Mullen.

If you work for a company that requires that you attend formal professional development workshops or training, you may be eligible to earn credit through Workplace Training Evaluation. This option requires that your training has been previously reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE) and that you submit a transcript from the ACE Registry of Credit Recommendations. Credit earned though this method will be used for elective credits only and cannot be used to replace major or Ursuline Studies requirements. There is a $10.00 fee per course to post the credits to the student's permanent record and credits must be posted before the student registers for her/his final semester of classes

For more information, stop by Mullen 306 or call 440 684 6080.


This option is primarily intended for students who took a similar course at a non-accredited institution, or who took a class that didn't transfer in. It is also for students with substantial knowledge in a particular subject. You will receive a study guide produced by the department issuing the test that will include recommendations as to the textbook and the major areas of emphasis from which to study. All test-out grades are pass/no credit, meaning you must earn a grade of C or better (76%) in order to pass. If you fail the test, you cannot re-take it and it does not appear on your transcript. If you pass it, you get credit for the course and are accessed a $35.00 fee per credit hour ($105 for a 3 credit-hour course).

Test-outs are administered by URSA's Office of Academic Support, Mullen 312, 440 449 2049. The Department Head, or his/her designee, determines which courses are included on the list of test-outs; he/she will determine eligibility, the appropriate test, grading and grade assignment for all tests in a given department. You must have previous knowledge in the relevant field or have taken an appropriate course for which credit has not been given. All currently enrolled, degree-seeking students are eligible to test out of authorized courses.

  • Discuss test-out options with your advisor. Sign up as you would for any other course, using as a section number "T-88". You take the test-out during the semester in which you sign up.
  • Please complete a test-out scheduling form.
  • Study guide material and test format are available on the Ursuline College (Academics/Alternative Credit Options) website for most tests. If this information is not available on the website, contact the Office of Academic Support.
  • The deadline to schedule a test-out is three weeks prior to the exam date. You must call URSA's Office of Academic Support to schedule a date for the test. Tests will be given in Mullen 312, and should be scheduled 2 to 3 weeks before the end of the semester. For exams that are not multiple choice, you must take your test-out by mid-term.  
  • Most test-outs administered by URSA's Office of Academic Support are multiple choice; these tests are graded within 72 hours of the test administration. Computer applications test outs are graded by the end of the semester in which you take the test out. You will be notified by mail about whether or not you passed the exam.
  • All test-out grades are officially shown and reported on the transcript on a pass/no Credit basis. You must earn a grade of "C" (76%) or better in order to pass a test-out. 75% is not a passing score.
  • TAKING A TEST-OUT IS A ONE-SHOT DEAL; you are not given a second chance to pass the exam. If you do not feel ready, please wait to take the exam. Unsuccessful or not completed test-outs are not listed on your transcript - they are automatically dropped from the computer at the end of the semester.
  • Students are not permitted to take a test-out during their final semester.
  • Students are not permitted to register for a test out and the course simultaneously
  • You will be assessed $35 per credit hour on the tuition bill. Payment is made in the same manner as for courses taken. Should you not take the test or not complete it successfully, the payment less $15.00 will appear as a credit on your tuition account (providing payment was made previously).

Study Guides