Polk State College accepts college credit earned at other institutions as transfer credit if the institution is regionally accredited or the institution is accredited by an accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This is accomplished in accordance with specific policies, also known as national accreditation. The mode of delivery (e.g., online, open-entry/open-exit, or hybrid) or the term design (e.g., compressed, Fast Track, or traditional 15- to -16-week courses) does not factor into credit transferability. More information about transfer credit is provided in Florida Statute 1004.09 and Rule 6A-14.0304.
- Credit is awarded provided the credit earned is in an appropriate area and at an appropriate level, and as long as a grade of D or higher has been achieved (i.e., if a D is a passing grade for Polk State's equivalent course).
- Credits earned at Polk State College are based on semester hours; therefore, all transfer work is converted to equivalent semester hours.
- All transfer credits contribute to the cumulative (overall) GPA of the student's Polk State College record.
- Credits at the upper-division college level are not generally accepted for transfer for associate degree programs. Upper-division courses are accepted for transfer toward baccalaureate degrees and associate degrees only if an upper-division course meets a specific lower-division requirement. Master-and doctoral-level courses are not transcribed to Polk State transcripts and may only be used as an acceptable transfer with the permission of the degree's program director at Polk State College.
- Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions and non-public accredited institutions participating in the Florida Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) for which there are comparable courses or requirements at Polk State College are posted to the student's academic record. When appropriate, this credit is applied toward degree requirements or electives. In some cases, however, it is recorded as credit earned in excess of degree requirements.
- Credits awarded for online courses are evaluated in the same manner as face-to-face courses and the same policies for transfer apply. MOOCs are discussed in the section titled "Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) ".
- Developmental courses in English, reading, and mathematics are only transferred from state institutions. Out-of-state or private college developmental credit does not qualify for transfer. Students who transfer without a college-level English or mathematics course must take the placement exam unless otherwise exempt.
- Polk State College accepts transfer credit from other institutions if the institution's accrediting body is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and if the school and its course meet the rigor of Polk State's course as determined during the evaluation process.
- Transcripts from international institutions, including those in the English language, require an official evaluation (at the expense of the student) from an external agency recommended by Polk State College. The student is not required to provide transcripts from international post-secondary institutions if transfer credit is not desired. Polk State prefers that the student use International Education Evaluations, Inc. or Josef Silny & Associates for the transcript evaluation, however, a student who has already used an agency listed at www.naces.org may submit transcript evaluation(s) for consideration. Polk State requires international high school transcripts to be evaluated on a document-by-document basis. The student does not need to pay extra for a course-by-course evaluation for a high school transcript.
- A student with a regionally accredited (or equivalent) bachelor's degree already has the General Education coursework required for an Associate in Arts degree. The exceptions to this statement are program-specific General Education courses, General Education courses that serve as a program course, and courses that are too old according to a program's standards. In addition, the student is required to have two college-level mathematics courses at the College Algebra or higher level for the AA degree, and one college-level or higher mathematics course for an AS degree (regardless of program area).
Note: If a student changes his or her intended program, it is the student's responsibility to request a reevaluation of applied transfer credits for the new program. This is not automatically done.
Polk State College recognizes that valid learning can take place in non-traditional and non-collegiate environments. The College follows equivalency course guidelines from the American Council of Education (ACE) in accordance with the Articulation Coordinating Committee of the state of Florida. The College also generally follows the additional credit-granting recommendations of the ACE but reserves the right to exercise its own judgment in such cases. Polk State College maintains articulation standards for providing credit based on various credentials, certifications, and licensures in addition to state-mandated agreements. More information on non-traditional credit awards is provided through the Credits for Experience and Non-Traditional Learning webpage. This page also contains information and links regarding Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).
All credit that is transferred to Polk State College becomes part of the student's permanent academic record and appears on the transcript. The credits are applied in the most appropriate manner to the student's program of study in the areas of general electives, General Education courses, program-specific courses, and other academic requirements. In some cases, credit contributes to excess hours on the student record.
Student Responsibilities for Award of Transfer Credit:
A student must submit an official transcript to the Admission and Registrar's Office before consideration is given for transfer. The student is advised to submit his or her transcript(s) six weeks before the beginning of the semester.
The student may be asked to complete a Credit Evaluation Worksheet and provide documentation from the sending institution about course content, faculty credentials, textbooks, or other criteria used in the evaluation process. Requests for evaluation of credit from schools that are not regionally accredited and that do not participate in the SCNS must be initiated by the student 12 weeks prior to the beginning of the term (but no later than the Drop deadline of the graduating term). The student plays an active role in collecting required data for evaluation. A transcript evaluation specialist reviews the documentation and renders a transfer decision based on Polk State's credit awarding policies. The student is responsible for reviewing all credit applied from transfer or articulation. The College is not responsible for misappropriated credit.
A student may appeal a transfer decision by completing an online Transfer Action Request Form. The student is advised to provide thorough and complete documentation with the appeal. The appeal is entered on a Transfer Action Request form found under Admission and Registrar forms on the website. Many individuals are involved in the decision process: The Transcript Services Supervisor, the College Registrar, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and/or one or more discipline-specific faculty members. Once a final decision is rendered, the student is notified in writing through the Transfer Action Request process.
Polk State participates with other state and private institutions in reverse transfer for the purposes of degree attainment. A student has the option to opt into reverse transfer when applying to the College. Reverse transfer allows Polk State and future institutions that the student may attend to share the student's academic record. A student who leaves Polk State without earning a degree, can have these records evaluated to determine if he or she meets the requirements for a Polk State degree and can therefore be granted one. The student must meet all the requirements for graduation, including attaining a minimum of 25 percent of instruction toward the degree at Polk State College. The Graduation Requirements section of this document provides further details about this option.