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Science Careers Blog

February 5, 2008

Returning Veterans Having Problems with Academic Credits

The last thing military veterans need is another problem in their return to civilian life. But according to today's Boston Globe, many service men and women are not getting the academic credits they feel they deserve from their training and experience in the service. The article suggests that the problem occurs with veterans working in the military's technical specialties.

Men and women join the military services for any number of reasons, but a big draw is the opportunity to learn advanced skills and get academic credit for those skills when they leave the service. The American Council on Education runs an accreditation system that was set up to evaluate military training and experience, but the Globe found that many veterans are getting turned down for those credits when they enroll in colleges and universities. The Council says that 14% of institutions do not accept any military training or experience for credit, while 30% accept some training, but not experience. The article quotes a vice-chancellor of a college in Boston who says her institution doesn't even have a process for evaluating military experience.

The result for many veterans is their ending up at institutions considered military-friendly, where their training and service are more likely to earn credit. Another impact -- one that hits all of our wallets -- is more taxpayer funding needed to cover classes taken by veterans under the GI Bill

One of the reasons for the denial of credits, according to a college veterans-affairs director and other administrators interviewed for the article, is that a good deal of military training is too technical to transfer to college programs. A related problem, according to a Defense Department official, is that many academic advisers are not conversant with military training,  with each branch of the service having its own Military Occupational Specialties and requiring different documents to verify service in those specialties.

Still another reason for the high expectations of returning veterans are the promises made during their recruitment, which is not surprising given the pressure recruiters face these days.

Hat tip: Inside Higher Ed.

 

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