- Official Documentation & Credit Application
- Transcript Credit from Regionally Accredited Colleges and Universities
- New York State Education Department Recognized Institutions
- International Transcripts Requiring Evaluation
- Standardized Examinations
- The American Council on Education (ACE)
- NationaL College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS)
- Military Training
- Empire State University Professional Learning Evaluations (PLE)
- Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA)
Official Documentation & Credit Application
Students are required to provide official documentation in order for their credits to be accepted. To be considered official, a transcript or other academic documents must be sent at the student’s request directly from the originating institution or organization to Admissions at Empire State University. Transfer credit and other prior learning (advanced standing) that meets policy for acceptance will be evaluated and applied to a student's record as close to the time of admission as possible.* At SUNY Empire we apply all available transfer credit to a student's record, so the student and their mentor can see what is available. However, not all credits may be usable toward a student's degree. Students will work with their mentor to determine which credits and how many of them, apply toward their particular degree.
*Undergraduate students matriculating prior to Fall 2022 have their prior learning applied to their record at the point of degree program concurrence.
Maximum Number of Transfer Credits
In most associate degree programs, students may include up to 40 credits of transfer and/or other prior learning (advanced standing). Students in an AA or AS in General Studies program may transfer in up to 52 credits. In our baccalaureate programs students may include up to 93 credits of advanced standing. Keep in mind, baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 45 credits at the upper-level, therefore the maximum amount of lower-level credits (like those earned through a community college), that can be used toward a student's bachelor's degree, is 79. Students will work with their mentors to determine which credits are applicable.
Semester Credit Hours
College credit represents the number of hours students have spent studying a particular topic. These hours are converted into credits based on the length of the course (semester, term), the number of hours the course met during the designated time and the number of hours expected for work outside of the course meetings. Typically, credits are measured in semester or quarter credits. SUNY Empire awards credit based on semester hours. If a student attended an institution that awarded quarter credits or another type of unit of measure, the credits will be converted to semester credits upon application to their SUNY Empire record.
Grades of D generally indicate less than satisfactory performance and are not transferable in most cases. Students who were awarded an Associate in the Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), or Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree can bring in all or part of the credit earned as part of that degree, including courses with D grades. Students without a completed associate degree can bring in credits for which the student received a C- or above. D grades earned as part of an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) degree are not transferable, even if the student completed the AOS. Courses with D grades listed on a SUNY general education transfer addendum (GETA) may be used to meet SUNY General Education Requirements.
Transferring PLA Credit From Another Institution
Prior learning assessment credit or credit for individually evaluated learning that comes to the university on a transcript from a regionally accredited institution, or from an institution on the NYSED approved list when a student attended, may be accepted when it is part of a completed A.A., A.S. or A.A.S. degree. If this is not the case, then the credits may be used if the originating institution’s process for awarding the PLA credits has been reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and has been determined to be consistent with Empire State University’s conventions for evaluating such credits. PLA programs from SUNY institutions have already been evaluated, and are acceptable for direct transfer. For standardized examination credit, the transcript must indicate the exam title, the year taken, and the score received. Otherwise, students will need to submit an official score report as documentation.
Empire State University awards credit for specific learning only once. Similar courses in the same subject at the same level taken at different institutions are considered potentially redundant unless the university has determined that there is no significant overlap. Similarly, other sources of prior learning may be redundant with planned or completed college coursework. For example, management principles learned in a training program or on the job may involve the same learning as that in a Principles of Management course taken in college. Concerns about potential redundancy should be discussed with a student's mentor.
Age of Credits
Empire State University accepts credits no matter how long ago a student earned them, except when the learning is in an area that has changed significantly over time, such as computer technology. In such cases, credits should be reviewed for currency. Students should talk to their mentor about the appropriateness of their credits.
Transcript Credit from Regionally Accredited Colleges and Universities
Empire State University recognizes transfer credit acquired through other regionally accredited colleges and universities. In order for the credit to be directly transferable, the college or university must be regionally accredited or a candidate for accreditation at the time of the student's attendance. A list of the regional accreditation agencies can be found online at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website. In order to be accepted, the transcript must show the course title, the grade (or equivalent evaluation such as is provided by certain non-traditional institutions), and the credit earned for each course. Courses with a grade of C- or higher (or equivalent) are acceptable. Students with an earned Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree may transfer in coursework with D grades that was part of the awarded degree. An official transcript will be needed for each institution attended, even if transfer credit from a previous institution is listed on another college transcript. Developmental courses, remedial courses, English language courses that strengthen a student’s language skills to college-level, or pre-college courses listed on transcripts are not accepted as transfer credit.
New York State Education Department Recognized Institutions
Empire State University accepts credit from degree-granting institutions within New York state that have been approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to award college-level degrees at the time of attendance. This includes independent and proprietary-sector institutions, such as some New York state business schools. In order to be accepted, the transcript must show the course title, the grade (or equivalent evaluation such as is provided by certain non-traditional institutions), and the credit earned for each course. Courses with a grade of C- or higher (or equivalent) are acceptable. Students with an earned Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree may transfer in coursework with D grades that was part of the awarded degree. An official transcript will be needed for each institution attended, even if transfer credit from a previous institution is listed on another college transcript. Developmental courses, remedial courses, English language courses that strengthen a student’s language skills to college-level, or pre-college courses listed on transcripts are not accepted as transfer credit.
International Transcripts Requiring Evaluation
Empire State University accepts college credit earned at other accredited institutions internationally. Transcripts from most international institutions must be evaluated by a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). For transfer purposes, institutions evaluated at a college-level require a course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation needs to include title, credits, grades, and level of learning. If level is not included in the evaluation, coursework must be applied as lower-level (introductory) credit. The university will only accept evaluated coursework from one approved organization and will not “mix and match” evaluations from separate services or replace an evaluation which has already been accepted. Original evaluation reports must be submitted directly to Admissions. Copies of evaluations will not be accepted. Students should review pricing, services, documentation requirements and the time it takes to prepare the evaluation report as each service differs. This information can be found on the NACES website.
Empire State University accepts many types of standardized examinations that have been evaluated for college-level credits. If a student's results meet the guidelines established by the university for earning credit, they can use those credits toward their degree program plan when:
- They have completed the examination during the specific time period covered by the evaluation and credit recommendation;
- An official score report is received by Empire State University directly from the testing service.
As with all advanced standing, standardized examination topics should fit into a student's degree program by strengthening their concentration or adding breadth and depth to their general learning. See the Standardized Examination section of the catalog for details on accepted standardized examinations.
The American Council on Education (ACE)
The ACE National Guide contains ACE credit recommendations for formal courses or examinations offered by various organizations, from businesses and unions to the government and military. Credit recommendations apply only to training received during the period of time, at the locations and for the length of time listed in the guide. See the Professional Learning Evaluation (PLE) section of the catalog for more information.
NationaL College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS)
National CCRS evaluates courses, training programs, licenses and/or certificates. Credit recommendations apply only to training received during the period of time, at the locations and for the length of time listed in the directory. Students can view their credit recommendations on their website for each organization through their course credit recommendation directory. See the Professional Learning Evaluation (PLE) section of the catalog for more information.
Many types of military training and occupations have been evaluated for college-level credit through the American Council of Education (ACE). SUNY Empire accepts credit recommendations for any military training or occupation that has been evaluated by ACE. If a student is an active-duty, guard, reserve or veteran service member, the Office of Veteran and Military Education at SUNY Empire will assist them with requesting and reviewing military documentation, as well as provide other information and resources. Students can reach OVME via email, phone, fax or online at:
Empire State University Professional Learning Evaluations (PLE)
Empire State University evaluates some licenses, certificates and training programs and courses provided by industry, professional organizations, agencies and companies, and recommends college credit that can be used in an Empire State University degree. See the Professional Learning Evaluation (PLE) section of the catalog for more information.
Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA)
Empire State University is committed to the idea that students should be awarded credit for verifiable college-level learning regardless of where or how it was acquired. Many students have gained knowledge from sources that are not validated through traditional coursework, standardized examinations or evaluated professional learning. This learning can be evaluated through the individualized Prior Learning Assessment process. Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA) is the process by which students are able to explain and document their college-level learning and be assessed by an expert evaluator. Most students who go through the process find it satisfying, affirming and worth the time and effort. See the iPLA section of the catalog for more information.