Department Test-Outs


University policy allows departments to offer test-outs for students who feel they have the background/knowledge for an ISU course. Departments have the flexibility in determining whether a test-out is available for a particular course, the content of the test-out, and what test score/performance is required to earn credit. Students are charged a $100.00 fee for any test-out they register to take, whether they receive credit or not.

Set-Up Process

To be able to charge student fees for test-outs, the department must set up a selling agency with the Accounts Receivable Office. For most departments, a single selling agency can be used to collect the fees for any test-outs administered. However, departments that administer numerous test-outs that want to track the revenue for various tests separately can do so by establishing different selling agencies (e.g., English may choose to establish one selling agency for use with ENGL 150/250 and a separate selling agency for other test-outs).

Departments will need to identify the individuals who will have access to upload billing information to Accounts Receivable. These individuals will need to be granted access to particular screens in AccessPlus and also receive training on how to upload the documentation.

Departments should contact Accounts Receivable Office at Accounts Receivable Office at | 515-294-7388 for information on establishing their selling agency and getting staff members set up with access to Accounts Receivable screens.

Test-Out Administration

  • Departments need to share basic information about the test-out with students (e.g., where, when, and what the test-out covers, etc.). Refer to the Information to Provide Students webpage.
  • Students submit the Departmental Test-Out Application to take the test-out and authorize the fee to their university bill. This can be done using a Qualtrics survey (Note. A template is available by contacting the Office of the Provost Academic Programs, or via paper application signature form (Note. Since this is a financial authorization record, departments must maintain copies of the application documentation for 10 years). 
  • Department administers the test-out and evaluates the student performance to determine whether the student earns credit or not.

Billing Students

All students who sign up to take a test-out will be billed $100.00 by the department; this includes students who do not score high enough to earn credit and students who fail to show up for the test-out. These fees are deposited into an account designated by the department with Accounts Receivable (see Set-Up Process section above) and are available for the department to offset the costs of administering the test-out.

Accounts Receivable has developed a manual to assist departments in uploading the necessary information into AccessPlus to bill the student. Contact the Accounts Receivable Staff at to obtain a copy of the manual and for training/questions about uploading documents. Departments will upload an Excel file from a template. There are nine columns/fields in the Excel file for each student:

Excel ColumnContent and FormatSample
AStudent ID: Nine-digits112233445
BCustomer Name: last first middle (no comma or punctuation)Smith Sally Sue
CCustomer Type: S (S for student)S
DTicket Date: Date of charge in MM/DD/YYYY format10/19/2018
EAgency ID: XXXX - Provided to department by Accounts Receivable from the "Set-Up Process" section above1001
FTicket Number: Six-digit reference number for each charge billed; First three digits should be term and last three digits can be a count for each student.F18001
GTicket Amount: No $ in column = 100.00100.00
HTicket Description: Can be blank and display the selling agency title or can be modified individually per student.(left blank)
IID Indicator: Y since we are using students' ID numbersY

Note 1: As a recommended best practice, departments should bill the students within a week of the test-out date (Note. Departments do not need to wait until test-outs are graded to bill students).

Note 2: If a department has not yet established/trained someone to upload files to Accounts Receivable, an Excel file with the fields identified above should be e-mailed to Accounts Receivable and the AR staff will work with you to establish a shared cybox location where you can load the required student billing information and copy of the test out application signed by the student. This will provide the detail necessary for the AR staff to finalize the billing centrally.  

Note 3: Colleges that do not administer very many test-outs may choose to establish one selling agency with Accounts Receivable to manage the paperwork with Accounts Receivable and the Office of the Registrar centrally.

Recording Credit on Student Transcripts

After the department has determined that a student earned credit, the department must provide information to the Office of the Registrar to record the credit on transcripts. The Office of the Registrar needs the following information to be able to record credit earned by test-out

  • Legal student name (e.g., Last First)
  • University ID (e.g., 112233445)
  • Designator (e.g., ENGL)
  • Course Number (e.g., 250)
  • Credits Earned (e.g., 3 credits)

Departments can use the same Excel file they used for Accounts Receivable, but add the following three columns for each student: Designator, Course, and Number of Credits. If a department uses the same file that includes all students billed, the department should enter "0" for credits earned for those students who did not pass the test-out/earn credit. The file should be e-mailed to with a subject line of "Departmental Test-Out." The credit will appear on the student transcript at the end of the semester in which the test-out was given.

Note. If a department administers an exam, and no students earned credit, there is no need to send a file to the Office of the Registrar.