CPLE saves students time and money


MATC students have huge portions on their plates these days, juggling the demands of classes and studying while often times balancing jobs, families, finances and a social life. MATC’s department of Credit for Prior Learning and Experience (CPLE) is hoping to aid students in bridging the gap between academic goals, real life demands and all its challenges to put students on the fast track to a degree and ultimately the workforce.

CPLE aids MATC in customizing credits for prior learning, a plan that recognizes the student’s past and present experiences from a variety of settings such as:  traditional classroom learning, military service, on-the-job training, licenses, certifications and apprenticeships. Students also have the opportunity to receive credit for courses by passing national exams like College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST), Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Excelsior College Examination Program (UExcel), and MATC Challenge Exams — effectively “testing out”  of classes  in that subject area.

Barbara Cannell, associate provost, explains the CPLE philosophy by stating, “I think it’s really recognition of what students have done in their lifetime, that potentially their learning could be recognized in an educational setting. Our students’ average age is 28 right now. You know, people come with a variety of experiences, and students who’ve been in the industry and have done some things that potentially warrant enough competencies to earn credit for that,” she said. “So I think it’s really important that students understand that we have this option A or B, and can explore what that is and possibly looks like to aid in individual degree and employment goals.”

The CPLE process begins with visiting the department webpage via matc.edu. Students view a short video about CPLE, and complete a short questionnaire regarding their past education and life experiences, which is then reviewed by a CPLE specialist who reaches out to the student to meet and discuss possible CPLE options.

Denise Bleakly, current student in the Administrative Professional program, describes how her military training and certifications helped her get ahead, explaining, “Based on my prior military experience I was able to get credit for some of the classes. For example, the keyboard and keypad class, I didn’t have to take that because I already know how to do that…. And I didn’t have to take that class because I took a class in the military. The acronym is TAPS. It stands for Transition and Placement Services class and those are four-and-a-half- days long, and I took that right before I got into the military and I took the same class the year prior.”

The benefits for student who obtain credit through prior learning are that they save time and money. Bleakly echoes that sentiment by urging her peers to explore CPLE, stating, “You save yourself so much time by pursuing Credit for Prior Learning. If they’re not a veteran like me, they can talk to their class adviser or program adviser and they can guide them. And like me, there’s all these classes I don’t have to take and that’s more money in my pocket, because if I had to take all of those classes, I’d have to spend so much more money on books, and time and effort. I earned it so why not?”

Students interested in CPLE can talk one on one with CPLE specialists during CPLE Days on each MATC campus, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 – 6 p.m. at West Allis (Welcome Center) Oct. 26, Mequon (Cafeteria) Oct. 27, Oak Creek (Welcome Center -A106) Nov. 2, and Downtown Milwaukee (S Building – S203) Nov. 3. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions, bring samples of evidence of prior learning for initial review and take home giveaways.  Students can visit www.matc.edu/student/resources/cple/index.cfm to learn more or start the CPLE review process.