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units of credit

unit of credit

the unit of college credit is based on the semester hour. it is normally given for a minimum of approximately one hour per week of lecture per semester, two hours per week of laboratory work per semester, or the equivalent.

a high school semester unit of credit normally requires about 60 hours of study. (a semester unit equals approximately half a carnegie unit.)

a continuing education unit (ceu), offered in some continuing education courses, is based on "the contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction and qualified instruction." ten contact hours equal one ceu.

classification of students by credit

students are classified in one of several ways:

  • freshman:  has less than 30 semester credits
  • sophomore:  has 30 or more semester credits
  • full-time:  carries 12 or more credits in a regular term
  • part-time:  carries 11 or fewer credits in a regular term

credit loads:

credit load maximums each term depend on previous academic performance.

cumulative gpa maximum credits*
3.50 - 4.00 21
2.50 - 3.49 19
1.50- 2.49 18

transfer of credit and other ways of earning credit

iowa lakes will accept credit from other institutions of higher education and will grant credit for other forms of extra institutional learning if such credit is determined to be generally equivalent to the credit awarded for work in residence at iowa lakes, can be documented in an appropriate manner, and applies to the 
student’s program of study and toward his or her educational goals.

one of the other methods includes test out, such as the college level examination program (clep).

credit accepted at iowa lakes in transfer will not necessarily transfer to another institution in the same manner because most colleges evaluate transfer credit themselves. in addition, credit granted at iowa lakes for test out, experiential learning, or other non-traditional forms of instruction may transfer if it qualifies under the policies and procedures for granting such credit at the receiving institution.

working closely with an advisor and any college or university to which a student wishes to transfer will be important to the planning process. students are responsible for taking the courses they need to meet their graduation and transfer requirements, but advisors can help smooth the process.

additional information is available from a counselor’s office, the success center, the records office, and from executive deans or advisors.

inter-institutional transfer of credit

iowa lakes will accept credit transferred from other regionally accredited institutions of higher education provided that an official transcript is received directly from the institution, the grades are satisfactory, and that the courses apply toward the student’s field of study. a grade of ‘c’ or better, or its equivalent, is considered to be satisfactory.

credit from non-regionally accredited institutions may be transferable to iowa lakes based on accreditation by a specialized or professional accrediting organization; comparability of the nature, content and level of the credit offered, as determined by iowa lakes administration and faculty; and the appropriateness and applicability of the credit earned to the student’s current program of study.

credit for military service

credit may be granted for military experience in the following instances:

  • two credits in physical education for a year or more of active duty.
  • credit for dantes or usafi courses with acceptable scores or grades.
  • service school courses
  • military specialties (mos, ner, etc.)

a recommendation of the american council on education is one of the methods used in determining possible credit for military experience. applicability to the student’s program of study is also considered.

credit for extra-institutional and experiential learning

iowa lakes may grant credit for formally structured courses offered by non-collegiate sponsors such as businesses, corporations, governmental agencies, unions and professional groups. college credit recommendations published by the national program on non-collegiate sponsored instruction (through the regents of the state university of new york) and the national guide to educational credit for training programs (through the american council on education) are used as guidelines for the awarding of credit.

credit may be granted to an iowa lakes student for learning gained through work experience or personal study, if the student can document that this learning meets the competencies of the course for which credit is requested. credit may be awarded only for a course listed in the current college catalog.

the student, upon recommendation of the instructor and advisor, presents a written proposal to an instructor responsible for teaching the course in question, requesting credit for that course. supporting materials must accompany that request, including a complete description of the prior learning, supervisory verification if available and a description of the competencies achieved.
if the instructor evaluates the proposal as having merit, the instructor will present the proposal to an executive dean or the dean’s designee for permission for the student to contract for the course credit.

the student and instructor will develop a performance contract to document competency in the course objectives, define a time line for completion and the student will pay the appropriate charges.

instructor verification that the student is to receive credit for the course is submitted to the director of records and registration and a grade of ‘l’ is recorded on the academic record.

credit by examination

credit may be earned by examination at iowa lakes through the following methods:

  • the act prep examinations
  • selected dantes examinations
  • “challenge” examinations for specific iowa lakes courses which are developed and graded by the appropriate academic department.

certain requirements must be met and iowa lakes specifies acceptable scores for each examination. for further information, contact the testing personnel at one of the iowa lakes success centers.

the college level examination program (clep) for general and certain subject examinations.

other information

a minimum of 12 semester credits must be earned in residence before military experience credit or credit by examination will be posted on the permanent record. a maximum of 30 semester credits may be accepted for military experience, experiential learning, and credit by examination. some forms of earning credit may incur iowa lakes fees and charges for test administration, evaluation, and/or posting. some standardized tests require payment of examination fees as well.

*some vocational-technical programs have a higher maximum required for a term.

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