Skip to Content
Need Help Live Chat

Higher Education - Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

1. Purpose

To ensure that credit and recognition of prior learning (RPL) are provided in accordance with the credit and RPL policy of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and that the integrity of higher education courses is maintained.

2. Scope

All students enrolled in CIT’s higher education courses of study.

All staff teaching higher education courses at CIT.

This policy does not apply to overarching standing credit transfer arrangements which are subject to CIT’s Higher Education Articulation Policy.

3. Principles

3.1  CIT is committed to the provision of credit and the recognition of prior learning. The RPL process ensures that students' progression or completion is not affected where their prior learning has taken place outside CIT. This commitment enables CIT to satisfy its function of conducting an educational institution to provide excellence in study in the field of higher education (under the Canberra Institute of Technology Act 1987), as well as comply with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (in particular Part A, Standard 1.2, "Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning").

3.2  The overarching principle is that credit through recognition of prior learning is granted provided:

  • the student is not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes for the course, and
  • the integrity of the course is maintained.

3.3  An assessment of a student’s prior learning is undertaken on a case-by-case basis, based on the evidence provided by the student.

3.4  Recognition of prior learning is a process requiring an evidence-based academic judgement about equivalence of learning, which is undertaken by a teacher whose qualifications align with CIT's Higher Education Staffing Policy and Higher Education Professional Equivalency Policy.

3.5  In determining whether a student could be academically disadvantaged or otherwise disadvantaged in their proposed course of study by an award of credit, the assessor will consider the consequences of awarding credit, having particular regard to (a) the needs of the individual student and/or cohorts and (b) the requirements of the specific course of study and of CIT generally.

3.6  The assessor will consider the following information relating to the specific unit of prior learning: learning outcomes, assessment methods and tasks, course objectives, course materials, course entry requirements, duration of the unit, general educational practices and standards of the provider, and practical training components.

3.7  Based on the information referred to in paragraph 3.6, the assessor will determine:

  • whether the prior learning aligns with the design and level of preparedness needed for the CIT course of study, for example by considering whether the prior learning:
    - is current or out of date
    - is consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level involved
    - displays the necessary foundations of learning (e.g. whether it provides sufficient underpinning in relevant principles, rather than being only oriented towards skills and competencies).
  • whether the award of credit will lead to the student requiring additional learning support of a type that is not readily available when required
  • how the scope, depth or learning outcomes of prior learning compares with that of the CIT course
  • whether the prior learning was carried out in an environment that would not meet the relevant requirements of the HES Framework for a course of study
  • whether the prior learning engaged with advanced knowledge and enquiry at a level consistent with the level of the CIT course or the expected learning outcomes
  • whether learning outcomes that would otherwise have been required to be demonstrated in the CIT course may not be demonstrated as a consequence of the RPL
  • whether the assessments associated with prior learning demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes appropriate to the CIT course of study.

3.8  The assessor will ensure that:

  • excessive credit is not granted for lower AQF levels of learning e.g. granting credit for a unit of Level 6 learning in a Level 7 course of study
  • RPL is not provided where students are not sufficiently prepared for undertaking the CIT course.

3.9  Credit will only be available for whole subjects. Credit for part of a subject is not available.

3.10  The Head of the relevant Department will ensure that RPL assessment decisions for a course of study are consistent and that this policy is applied consistently across students and courses of study. Consistency is ensured by the publication of RPL decisions on the CIT website (see below)

3.11  The RPL process must give priority to any external course accreditation requirements (for example, industry or professional standard requirements). Therefore, in some cases, RPL will not be available if the external accreditation requirements do not allow RPL.

3.12  Whether or not credit is granted, the outcome of the RPL application is provided in writing (email or letter) to the student within 28 days of the initial application, or of the date on which additional information was requested by CIT.

3.13  A student who is dissatisfied with an RPL decision is able to request a review of the decision by the Head of Department of the relevant teaching College

3.14  On applying for RPL, the applicant shall pay a fee equal to the cost of the relevant CIT subject. If the student is successful in their RPL application, they are exempt from paying tuition fees for the subject for which credit is granted. If the student is not successful in their RPL application and enrols in the CIT course, the full tuition fee is payable.

3.15  Generally, RPL will be provided only for equivalent learning at the same AQF level. For example, for a Biology subject at the AQF Level 7, credit will only be given for an AQF level 7 Biology subject.

3.16  The maximum number of units for which credit may be available is 50%. Students must complete at least 50% of the overall number of units of the Higher Education course of study at CIT. In exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the Executive Director, Education Services, for greater level of credit.

3.17  Whether credit is provided will depend on the relevance and currency of the prior learning- therefore, credit will not be provided where the knowledge is not considered to be current.

3.18  Credit will not be given for a unit completed more than 10 years before the date of the RPL application.

Prior formal learning

3.19  Credit may be provided for prior formal learning (including non-award and non-accredited training) provided by

  • a university
  • other higher education provider
  • Registered Training Organisation
  • industry or professional association

3.20  The above rules also apply to applications for credit for formal studies completed overseas. If the official documentation from the other provider is in a language other than English, a complete English translation of the documentation made by an independent translator accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) must be provided by the student to CIT with the RPL application. Each page of the translation must be signed and dated by the independent translator and bear the translator's accreditation details or official stamp.

Prior informal learning

3.21  Credit may be provided for informal learning, namely, work experience, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. A maximum of 25% of the total number of credit points can be obtained through recognition of prior informal learning. Credit may only be provided for informal learning acquired in the last 5 years.

3.22  The assessor of an application for recognition of prior informal learning will consider:

  • the currency of the informal learning
  • the relevance of the informal learning to the learning outcomes of the CIT course
  • the quality and level of the informal learning - to ensure that the prior informal learning is of the same quality and standard and at the same AQF level as the CIT subject
  • transferability of the informal learning - to ensure that the skills and knowledge can be transferred to other contexts.

Records and data management

3.23  RPL decisions are recorded using CIT’s record management system.

3.24  In order to ensure consistency, decisions to award credit for prior formal learning will be available on the CIT website in the 'Higher Education RPL register' which will identify the CIT unit and the other provider's unit.

3.25  All credit granted is identified in a student's record of results.

3.26  Each year, the Head of Department will report RPL data relating to CIT higher education courses of study to the Higher Education Governance Committee for its consideration. In particular, such report will include a comparison of the success rates of students granted credit with the success rates of students who were not granted credit, as well as different cohorts and other providers. The Committee will review the RPL data, consider any recommended changes including to admissions requirements, and ensure that qualifications are awarded legitimately.

4. Documentation

Canberra Institute of Technology Act 1987

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

Guidance note: Credit and Recognition of prior learning – Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy

Related CIT policies

Higher Education Course Development Policy

Higher Education Course Closure Policy

Higher Education Professional Equivalency Policy

Higher Education Scholarly Activity Policy

Higher Education Teaching Staff Policy

Higher Education Articulation Policy

5. Definitions

All terminology used in this policy is consistent with definitions in the CIT Definitions of Terms.

'Credit' (also known as "advanced standing") is a benefit provided to a student by waiving one or more of the normal requirements for completion of a course of study, such as not having to complete a particular unit of study.

'Recognition of Prior Learning' (RPL) is defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework as a process through which eligibility for the award of credit is assessed, through assessment of formal, informal and non-formal learning.

6. Policy Contact Officer

For more information about this policy contact Director, Education Services.

Contact CIT Student Services on (02) 6207 3188 or email

7. Procedures

RPL Application

1. Credit for formal learning

An application for recognition of prior formal learning towards a Higher Education course of study must:

  • Identify the CIT unit towards which the student wishes to obtain credit
  • Identify the learning outcomes of the CIT unit
  • Provide original evidence (or certified copy) of the prior learning, for example the original provider's transcript (or certified copy) which evidences the student's successful completion of the study and the AQF level of the prior learning
  • Provide the following evidence of the specific unit of prior learning: learning outcomes, assessment methods and tasks, course objectives, course materials, course entry requirements, duration of the unit, general educational practices and standards of the provider, practical training components
  • Match each learning outcome of the CIT unit with the prior learning
  • Describe how the prior learning is current and relates to the learning outcomes of the CIT unit.

2. Credit for informal learning

An application for recognition of informal learning towards a Higher Education course of study must:

  • Identify the CIT unit towards which the student wishes to obtain credit
  • Identify the learning outcomes of the CIT unit
  • Provide original evidence (or certified copy) of the prior informal learning, for example the original statement from the employer specifying the applicant's job description and duties.
  • Match each learning outcome of the CIT unit with the evidence of the prior informal learning
  • Describe how the prior learning relates to the learning outcomes of the CIT unit they seek credit towards -  for example, by describing how the applicant exhibited the required knowledge in their work
  • Provide evidence that the informal learning was undertaken in the last 5 years.

Policy No: 2022/1362
Approved: November 2022
Next Review: November 2025
Category: Student Policies, Training Policies
Policy Owner: Executive Director, Education and Training Services

Browse Policies
CIT Definition of Terms
Complaints Form
Client Service Charter
Student Code of Conduct
2022-06-01: Corporate Credit Card Policy
2022-12-08: Revenue and Receipting Policy
2022-12-02: Admission and Enrolment Policy
2022-11-29: Higher Education - Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy
2022-11-29: Higher Education - Academic Integrity Policy