3.4.4 Evaluating Academic Credit

The institution has a defined and published policy for evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit for transfer, experiential learning, advanced placement, and professional certificates that is consistent with its mission and ensures that course work and learning outcomes are at the collegiate level and comparable to the institution’s own degree programs. The institution assumes responsibility for the academic quality of any course work or credit recorded on the institution’s transcript. (See Commission policy “The Transfer or Transcripting of Academic Credit.”)

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University follows the Texas Education Code in its published policies for accepting transfer credit from exams, two-year colleges, four-year institutions, and military training / correspondence courses. Part of the University Mission is a focus on "addressing issues and proposing solutions through programs and services designed to respond to the needs and aspirations of individuals, families, organizations, agencies, schools, and communities" [1] and a strong commitment to transfer credit and transfer students is a cornerstone of current state policy. The Texas Higher Education Plan, "Closing the Gaps," emphasizes the need to increase enrollment in college and universities, with a target of 50% more graduates statewide by 2015; solid transfer credit policies help to achieve this goal [2]. Furthermore, by involving knowledgeable faculty and administrators in the transfer evaluation process, Prairie View A&M reinforces its mission of achieving "excellence in teaching, research and service" and "extending knowledge in all disciplines offered."

Undergraduate Credit-by-Exam
Under Section 51.968 of the Texas Education Code (TEC), "Each institution of higher education that offers freshman-level courses shall adopt and implement a policy to grant
undergraduate course credit to entering freshman students who have successfully completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, who have achieved required scores on one or more examinations in the Advanced Placement Program or the College-Level Examination Program, or who have successfully completed one or more courses offered through concurrent enrollment in high school and at an institution of higher education" [3]. Prairie View A&M University maintains clear equivalencies for scores on accepted Advanced Placement (AP) and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams and makes them available in the undergraduate catalog [4]. The University receives International Baccalaureate (IB) transcripts electronically [5] and awards credit for exams on which students scored at least a 4, whether higher level (HL) or standard level (SL) [6]. Up to 30 hours of academic credit can be satisfied by exam, and Section 51.968 of the Education Code further stipulates that a minimum of 24 semester hours be awarded to any student who complete the IB Diploma Program successfully.

Undergraduate Institutional Transfer Credit
As described in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.3, to qualify for transfer admission to Prairie View A&M University, students must have at least 15 hours of credit and a 2.0 cumulative GPA; those with less than 15 hours are considered under the guidelines for freshman admissions.

Under 61.822 of the Texas Education Code, all colleges in Texas have a 42-hour core curriculum, and "if a student successfully completes the 42-hour core curriculum at an institution of higher education, that block of courses may be transferred to any other institution of higher education and must be substituted for the receiving institution’s core curriculum" [7]. Including the core, undergraduate students can transfer up to 66 semester hours from accredited two-year institutions for credit at the 1000 and 2000 levels at Prairie View A&M. Rule 4.25 of the Texas Administrative Code states that "no institution of higher education shall be required to accept in transfer, or apply toward a degree program, more than sixty-six (66) semester credit hours of lower-division academic credit. Institutions of higher education, however, may choose to accept additional credit hours" [8]. Prairie View's adherence to the minimum rule is common at other area institutions like Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and Sam Houston State University.

Two degree programs at Prairie View A&M University accept more than 66 transfer hours from two-year institutions. In the case of joint admissions to the College of Business with Lone Star College, students can transfer up to 72 semester credit hours [9]. The College of Nursing accepts 63 hours of required lower-division courses plus 37 hours of required nursing courses from students who have completed a Registered Nurse Diploma or Associate Degree; an additional 31 semester credit hours must be completed at Prairie View A&M to satisfy University residency requirements [10] [11].

Courses under the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS) transfer automatically according to Prairie View A&M's equivalency guide, which is featured in the undergraduate catalog [12]. For classes not listed, faculty advisors within departments review the catalogs of the student's former institution to determine the equivalent course at Prairie View A&M and submit a substitution form indicating the reason for the request. A targeted elective option allows departments to request that the Office of the Registrar count a transfer course as a general elective for the major when no clear substitution equivalency exists [13]. In cases where no additional paperwork is submitted, courses still count as general elective hours on a student's degree plan and appear as GENL 0000 on the academic transcript.

When transferring from an accredited four-year college or university, students can earn up to 90 hours of credit, including upper-division credit if similar course content can be demonstrated to a departmental faculty advisor. They also must satisfy a residency requirement of 36 hours earned at Prairie View A&M in order to be eligible for graduation [14].

If transfer courses come from a non-American institution, students must have their transcript and coursework evaluated by an external credentials review agency—two are suggested—a minimum of 30 days before the beginning of the matriculation term [4].

Whether a student comes from a two- or four-year institution, developmental, remedial, or study skills courses cannot be transferred, and only classes in which a "C" or better was earned are considered for transfer credit, with the exception of sequential courses in which a student received a "D" (first part) and "B" (second part) [4].

For undergraduate students who wish to transfer course credit from another institution while enrolled at Prairie View A&M, two primary rules apply. First, a pre-approval form must be filled out, with signatures from the appropriate department head and dean, and submitted to the Registrar prior to enrollment in an external course; without this paperwork, no credit will be accepted. Second, students who wish to take courses at another college or university during their final semester of study must receive advance permission from the Dean of their college [14].

Graduate Institutional Transfer Credit
Graduate students can transfer no more than 6 semester credit hours from another graduate program. Only courses in which a "B" or better was received are eligible for transfer, and courses must be no more than six years old, which is the maximum time frame allowed for students to complete a Master's degree at the University [15].
All transfer credits are labeled on the student's transcript as originating from the original institution, and transfer courses count only in total academic credit hours, not the calculation of the GPA.

Colleges and departments may attach additional conditions. Most programs require a catalog description of the desired transfer course prior to approval and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. The College of Business requires four weeks advance notice and reserves the right to request a course syllabus [16].

Credit for Military, Correspondence, and Extension Courses
According to the Undergraduate Catalog, "Correspondence or extension courses will be treated as transfer courses and not included in the cumulative GPA. All such courses must be approved by the dean of the respective college before they are accepted as transfer credit in a degree program." Credits earned by military students through military schools or by correspondence are judged by the guidelines of the American Council on Education to determine appropriate Prairie View A&M equivalencies, if any [17]. Prairie View A&M does not offer credit for work experience.

Dispute Process
Students can dispute the denial of lower-division transfer credit through specific procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog [18].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.4.4

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University