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Educator: Veterans Need College Credit For Military Service

Ken Sauer testified before Congress Wednesday, asking that a better system be put in place to equate certain military experience with college credit.

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Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dawn Price

Some colleges allow veterans to receive class credit for work they have done during service. For example, a soldier who has worked in construction could receive some engineering credits.

After serving in the military, many veterans return to school to get a degree and find a career outside of the armed services, and an Indiana education advocate is hoping to transfer a veteran’s active duty work experience to course credit.

Ken Sauer testified before Congress Wednesday, trying to persuade the Department of Defense and the American Council on Education to release a database that equates certain military experience to college credits.

Sauer is a Commissioner for Research and Academic Affairs in Indiana and says transferring practical skills learned in the military to class credit is not a new concept.

Schools in seven states already offer this type of credit, but Sauer wants every veteran to have this opportunity.

“For example, if you were briefing people as part of your job,  that could translate into 3 or 6 hours of undergraduate communications coursework,” he says.

The American Council on Education has already established some equivalency guidelines, but Sauer and his colleagues say they still need to be aligned with universities’ curricula.

Ivy Tech Community College starting offering veterans credit for military service this semester,  and Veterans Benefits Coordinator Laura Vest says it made sense to honor the training veterans already have.

“It prevents them from feeling bored and that their classes are unnecessary, because they already know this type of philosophy,” she says.

Vest says this equivalency helps veterans skip introduction classes and sometimes even higher level internship classes.

Vest says she hopes other colleges will offer the same credit so veterans are not using GI benefits for training they have already received.

Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is an education reporter for StateImpact Indiana. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

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