Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy

Reference Code: SPL0003 Classification: Student Services
Approved Date
26 Aug 2022
Date Effective
26 Aug 2022
Review Date
25 August 2025
Approved By
Academic Board


Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) A national system of qualifications encompassing all post-compulsory education. Higher education awards are located at AQF Levels 5 to 10.
Equivalence Assessment of credit for prior learning will take into account equivalence and comparability of the learning outcomes, the volume of learning, and program of study, including content.
Formal learning Learning acquired through a formal program of study with an accredited education provider, e.g. certificate, diploma or degree.
Informal learning Learning acquired in an informal context, such as through work, community service, open learning opportunities or life experiences. This type of learning is not organized or externally structured in terms of objectives or time.
Non-formal learning Learning acquired through non-accredited study with a provider other than a university or accredited education provider. It includes education and training provided through employer-based programs and professional bodies.
Micro-credential An award that warrants achievement of clearly articulated learning outcomes that is not sufficient, in itself, to lead to the award of an Australian Higher Education Qualification or international qualification with equivalent learning outcomes.
Prior learning Learning that has taken place prior to admission to a program at NTI.
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) The process that involves assessment of a student’s relevant prior learning to determine the credit outcomes of a student’s application for credit.
Articulation arrangements Articulation arrangements enable students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and credit in a defined pathway (nested programs).
Credit Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through articulation or RPL.
External credit Credit granted for studies completed at another institution towards an NTI qualification.
Internal credit Credit granted for studies completed at NTI towards another NTI qualification. This includes both award and non-award studies completed at NTI.
Specified credit Credit granted towards one or more specific subjects. Specified credit is granted when learning can be demonstrated to be a near or exact equivalent to an NTI subject or subjects.
Unspecified credit Credit granted as equivalent to the volume of learning of an elective subject or subjects, but not subject learning outcomes. This type of credit appears on an academic transcript as “Unspecified Credit”.
Unspecified credit can be granted for elective subjects. It does not exempt a student from a core subject or subjects but carries the specified credit value towards the completion of an award.



This policy applies to current and future award students of Nan Tien Institute (NTI).

Policy Statement

NTI is committed to maintaining the integrity of its academic programs and protecting the academic standards and reputation of its awards. Credit is granted within the constraints of this commitment and where program structures and requirements permit to do so.

This policy aims to ensure:

a) Accessible, inclusive and diverse pathways to higher education;

b) Opportunity for students to have their different types of learning recognised;

c) Fair, valid and reliable processes for assessment of prior learning which enable every student to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes;

d) Alignment with the AQF Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines; and

e) Quality assurance to guarantee that prior learning is of an appropriate standard.

Systems and Procedures


Admission to NTI is based on academic merit and approved criteria, as defined in the Admission Requirements. An applicant who is eligible for credit is not guaranteed admission to NTI, except where this is included as part of an agreement between NTI and another education provider, or as part of an approved NTI pathway or nested program. 


a) Credit towards an NTI award may be granted when students can demonstrate they have achieved the discipline learning outcomes for the relevant subject and an assessment of equivalence has been undertaken. The assessment criteria are outlined in the Credit for Recognised Prior Learning Procedures attached to this policy. Application for credit may cover more than one category of learning, including formal non-formal and informal learning.

b) Credits based on RPL may be granted for micro-credentials awarded by a university or other accredited institutions where the micro-credentials evidence achievement of clearly articulated learning outcomes and standards is verified.

c) Credit may be granted as specified or unspecified credit.

d) Credit may be granted for a subject undertaken on a non-award basis where course structures allow.

e) Limits may apply to the amount of credit granted as explained in Sections 3, 6 and 7 of this policy.

f) Except for subjects completed at NTI as part of a lower qualification in the same program (nested program), no marks or grades will be recorded for subjects where specified credit has been granted and they will not be included in the calculation of the grade average.


a) Credit will not be granted for prior learning completed more than ten years ago, unless the applicant can demonstrate the currency of learning against the subject learning outcomes. A shorter time limit may be applied where there is concern about the currency of the applicant’s knowledge or where professional accreditation requirements limit the granting of credit.

b) Exceptions to the ten year limit may be approved for certain articulation arrangements (nested programs) or for individual cases. In considering these cases, post-qualification experience may contribute to the currency of knowledge and may be taken into account.

c) Students may not use the same prior credit towards more than one qualification as this would constitute double counting of credit.

d) Credit will not be granted for formal learning assessed as “fail”, “pass conceded” or equivalent grade.

e) Credit will not be granted for a subject a student has already attempted and received a finalised grade.

f) Restrictions on the amount of credit may apply:

i. Where there are core components of the course required for satisfactory completion of the course;

ii. Where professional accreditation requirements limit the maximum amount of credit that can be granted.


a) Applications for credit for prior learning must be made in writing using the prescribed procedure.

b) An application for credit for prior learning can be made with an application for admission to NTI, or after enrolment.

c) Except for applications based on previous studies at NTI, a credit application must be accompanied by evidence of formal, non-formal or informal learning.


Applications for credit based on RPL will be approved by the relevant Head of Program.


a) To receive an award from NTI at least 50% of the full credit value of the course must be completed at NTI as an NTI enrolled student.

b) The maximum amount of external credit based on a completed course at the same or higher level is 50% of the credit point value of the NTI course.

c) External credit may be granted for up to 50% of the credit point value of the NTI course, on the basis of an incomplete course at the same or higher level.

d) The upper limit for the granting of credit based on recognition of prior informal and non-formal learning is one third of the requirements of the award program.

e) Undergraduate subjects will generally not count towards credit in NTI postgraduate programs, unless other formal agreement applies.

f) Additional limits on the amount of external credit may be set where professional accreditation limits the maximum amount of credit that can be granted.


a) Credit towards an NTI course on the basis of a completed NTI course will not exceed 50% of the credit point value of that course.

b) Unlimited credit is granted to allow transfer to another NTI course within the articulation arrangement (as part of a nested program).


a) NTI reserves the right to withdraw credit for prior learning where an administrative error has been made or where the documentation provided by the applicant is misleading, false or invalid.

b) The withdrawal of credit for prior learning must be approved by the Head of Program or the Academic Dean and notified to Student Services.

c) Where a change is made to a provision of this policy or where a precedent or articulation is reviewed and changed, credit already granted will not be withdrawn.


When the granting of credit based on RPL leads to a shortening of an international student’s course duration, NTI must issue a new Confirmation of Enrolment and must report the change via PRISMS under Section 2 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018.


a) Students

i. Students who seek credit for prior learning are responsible for completing and submitting all documentation required to support their application.

ii. In applying for credit based on informal or non-formal learning, the onus is on the student to reflect upon their prior learning and demonstrate how that learning relates to the intended learning outcomes for the subject they are seeking credit for.

b) Heads of Programs

i. Assess and approve credit for prior learning applications and determine the level of specified and unspecified credit awarded in accordance with this policy.

ii. Approve and review articulation arrangements.

c) Student Services

i. Maintain the information about credit for prior learning.

ii. Communicate with students (including prospective students) about their credit for prior learning.

iii. Record credit granted to individual students.

iv. Maintain a credit precedence database.


a) A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a credit based on RPL application may request a review of the decision. Such a request must be accompanied by a full statement outlining the basis for the review and must be lodged within twenty (20) working days of notification of the decision.

b) A request for a review of a credit decision is lodged with the Student Services and Academic Manager who will review the initial decision in terms of this policy. Where the basis of the review request relates to the academic judgment of the equivalence of prior study or learning to a subject, the Student Services and Academic Support Manager will refer the credit review request, together with supporting documentation and information, to the Academic Dean.

c) On completion of the review, applicants are provided with a written response detailing the review’s outcome within ten (10) working days of the appeal lodgment. If more time is needed to review a student's appeal, the student will be notified in writing. Where the applicant’s request for a review of the decision is unsuccessful, a statement of reasons for the determination is provided.


a) All applicants will be provided with the outcome of credit decisions in writing.

b) International students will be required to formally accept the written record of the decision. NTI will retain the written record of acceptance for two (2) years after the international student ceases to be an accepted student.

c) NTI Student Services will maintain all the records related to the Recognition of Prior Learning processes as per the Credit for Recognised Pior Learning Procedures attached to this policy.

Legislation & Regulation

Australian Qualifications Framework 2nd Edition, 2013
Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000
National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018


Student Services Office

(02) 4258 0740 / (02) 4258 0741

Student Services and Academic Support Manager

(02) 4258 0741



Version Date Approved Date Effective Approved By Amendment
1 18 Dec 2009 18 Dec 2009 Academic Board
2 21 Aug 2020 21 Aug 2020 Academic Board 21 August 2020
3 26 Aug 2022 26 Aug 2022 Academic Board