Translating Military Experience to Academic Credit

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1 STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL Translating Military Experience to Academic Credit Custom Research Brief Research Associate Amanda Wernicke Research Manager Joe LeMaster September 2012

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3 3 of 20 Table of Contents I. Research Methodology... 4 Project Challenge... 4 Project Sources... 4 Definition of Terms... 5 Research Parameters... 6 II. Executive Overview... 7 Key Observations... 7 III. Residency Requirements... 8 Financial Aid Residency Requirements... 8 Academic Residency Requirements... 8 IV. Policies for Awarding Academic Credit for Military Experience... 9 Sources of Credit... 9 External Guides for Awarding Credit Institutional Guides for Awarding Credit Transcript Notations Credit Application toward Degree Requirements Processes for Awarding Military Experience Credit Processes for Applying Military Experience Credit toward Degrees V. Policy Development and Maintenance Administrator and Staff Responsibilities Recommended Development Process VI. Policy Communication Communication among Institution Employees Communication to Prospective and Current Students VII. Majors Recommended for Students with Military Experience Program Designed for Veterans Programs Attractive to Military Students... 19

4 4 of 20 I. Research Methodology Project Challenge Leadership at a member institution approached the Council with the following questions: Policies for Translating Military Experience to Academic Credit What institutional policies govern the translation of military experience to academic credit? How do institutions develop these policies? Which institutional units, academic departments, and administrators are most critical during the policy development process? What roles do these stakeholders play? Do institutions convene special committees or advisory boards to inform the creation of policies? What individuals serve on these committees? Do institutions engage with third-party vendors to calculate academic credit? How do requirements for tuition assistance, in-state residency, and scholarship eligibility impact students who hope to secure academic credit for their military experience? How do institutions document academic credit awarded for military experience on student transcripts? Coordination of Credit Processes with Campus Units How do military and veterans affairs administrators coordinate the translation of military experience to academic credit with the registrar? With the office of financial aid? With individual academic colleges and departments? How do academic requirements of individual colleges impact an institution s ability to award credit for military experience? How do administrators communicate military experience translation policies across the institution? How do admissions and transfer student offices incorporate policies into recruitment materials and outreach? What are the most prominent challenges that administrators face in coordinating policies that govern military experience translation to academic credit? What recommendations do contacts offer to address these challenges? Targeted Degree Programs for Students with Military Experience How do institutions encourage students with military experience to pursue particular degrees that incorporate such experience (e.g., technical training, leadership skills, etc.)? Have institutions created new degree programs to accommodate students with military experience? How were these programs developed, and what institutional departments and academic colleges were most involved in the development process? In what academic college(s) do these programs reside? How do institutions market degree programs that are catered to students with military experience? Project Sources The Council consulted the following sources for this report: Advisory Board s internal and online research libraries. American Council on Education. Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces.

5 5 of 20 American Council on Education. A Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations. ansferguide_2011_web.pdf CollegeSource. About u.select. https://www.transfer.org/uselect/aboutuselect.htm National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (http://nces.ed.gov/) National Science Foundation Awards. Transitioning Troops to Engineers: From Military Experience to a Civilian Engineering Career. Servicemember Opportunity College Consortium. u.select. Featured Schools. https://www.transfer.org/uselect/browseschools.htm Definition of Terms The acronym ACE refers to the American Council on Education. ACE organizes committees of faculty members who assess each military training and experience; ACE then publishes aggregate recommendations on the number and type of credits institutions should award for specific trainings and experiences. For the purposes of this report, the term military student refers to any student with military experience, whether active duty or veteran. The acronym SOC refers to Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, an organization created in 1972 to provide educational opportunities to servicemembers who, because they frequently moved from place to place, experienced difficulty completing college degrees. SOC works with 15 higher education associations, the Department of Defense, and Active and Reserve Components of the Military Services to expand and improve voluntary postsecondary education opportunities for servicemembers worldwide. 1 1 Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges,

6 6 of 20 Research Parameters The Council interviewed student affairs administrators, veteran s affairs staff, and registrar s office staff members at public institutions. A Guide to Institutions Profiled in this Brief Institution Location Approximate Enrollment (Total/Undergraduate) Classification Type College A South 27,000 undergraduates Associate's--Public Special Use Public University B South 14,000/10,000 University C South 7,000/6,000 University D Midwest 57,000/43,000 University E Midwest 12,000/11,000 University F South 15,500/13,000 Doctoral/Research Universities Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs) Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs) Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs) Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs) Public Public Public Private Private San Diego State University (SDSU) Pacific West 30,500/26,000 Research Universities (high research activity) Public University H Mid-Atlantic 43,000/28,000 University I Midwest 18,500/14,500 Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs) Research Universities (very high research activity) Public Public

7 II. Executive Overview Key Observations 7 of 20 Contacts emphasize that awarding academic credit for military experience is a straightforward process executed through registrar systems; however, applying credit earned through military experience toward general education requirements, specific major requirements, and major electives is more difficult because it requires agreement from department chairs that military experience taught sufficiently similar content as the institution course. Students typically do not understand the difference between awarded and applied credit and are frequently disappointed upon realizing that many of the credits they were awarded will not reduce the time to complete a degree or save money. To avoid this frustration and disappointment, institution websites and personnel educate students about the credit translation process before they apply, as well as expand the applicability of military experience credits to degrees. However, in many cases, military experience can only be counted as elective credits, either because the experience is not relevant to any bachelor s degree or it is not relevant to the bachelor s degree the student pursues. For example, if a former military police officer is pursuing a BS in Engineering, he or she will be required to complete more credits than if the student had applied his or her military experience credits to a BS in Criminal Justice. Contacts observe that Navy and Marine Corps veterans can more easily apply military experience credits toward degrees because their training is typically more technical. Conversely, Army infantry and artillery training is often inapplicable to bachelor s degrees. Across contact institutions, the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services Online serves as the foundation for translation practices. However, contacts at several institutions find that military experience descriptions in the ACE Guide Online are too vague to persuade department chairs to apply credit from military experience toward degree requirements. One institution has successfully requested additional information about particular military trainings referred to as programs of instruction from ACE that contains similar information to course syllabi. Another institution maintains a comprehensive manual of military experiences and trainings and the corresponding institutional credit offering. Institution advocates for veterans must educate department chairs about the relevance of military experience and importance of applying military experience credit. Academic advisor training should also incorporate information about how to apply military experience credit. Such outreach is more effective when provosts and presidents visibly support application of military experience credits to degrees. Bachelor s degrees in criminal justice, organizational leadership, general studies, and applied arts and sciences are reportedly popular among military students because students can apply more military experience credits to them than to other degrees. Contact institutions do not develop degree programs specifically for military students. San Diego State University developed a Troops to Engineering program that facilitates transitions from active duty, to a community college pre-engineering curriculum, to upper level engineering coursework and paid internships, to full-time engineering positions after graduation. Administrators created a similar Troops to Geosciences program and are considering expanding the program to additional in-demand science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

8 III. Residency Requirements Financial Aid Residency Requirements Financial Aid Residency Requirements Waived for Military Students 8 of 20 Across contact institutions, contacts indicate that military students typically pay in-state tuition or less. State and university policies make it as easy as possible for military students to access in-state tuition pricing. For example, a state GI Promise bill allows all veterans to receive in-state tuition. At University C, contacts indicate that if a military student did not qualify for in-state tuition, the university would apply financial aid to fund the difference. In some states, students military status allows them to receive residency status without the typical one-year wait period. In other states, military students complete a waiver for in-state tuition without officially becoming a resident. Academic Residency Requirements Contact Institutions Follow SOC Guidelines All contact institutions are members of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium and therefore agree to reduce academic residency requirements for students on active duty. No more than 25 percent of degree requirements must be completed at the institution granting the degree (i.e., home college), with no final year or semester in residence required. The only exception is for undergraduate degrees offered 100 percent online, which may require up to 30 percent of the degree to be completed through the home college. 1 But SOC Guidelines Do Not Necessarily Apply To Veterans Contacts at University I note that many veterans did not complete a SOC Student Agreement during active duty status, which is required for eligibility for reduced academic residency requirements. Additionally, contacts at University D indicate that veterans can rarely apply enough transfer credit to their degree for the residency requirement to be relevant; most military students transfer between 20 and 30 credits, and 250 credits are required to graduate. Academic Residency Requirements at Select Contact Institutions For Students without SOC Student Agreements Institution College A University B University D University E University I University H Residency Requirement 25 percent of degree requirements must be completed at the institution. 25 percent of degree requirements must be completed at the institution. Students must complete at least one year of higher level coursework (i.e., 3000 level and higher) within their selected major at the institution. Students must complete at least 30 semester hours through institution, with 15 hours in their major. Students must complete a certain number of credit hours of upper level courses at institution, but the requirement varies by college. Students must complete 30 semester hours at institution. Additional residency requirements vary by major. 1 Servicemember Opportunity College Consortium, SOC Criteria,

9 9 of 20 IV. Policies for Awarding Academic Credit for Military Experience Sources of Credit Military Transcripts Primary Basis for Awarding Credit Military transcripts are typically the starting point for translating military experience to academic credit. Transcript types depend on which branch of the military the service member works or worked for: The Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) Sailor/Marine/ACE Registry Transcript (SMART) The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) Coast Guard Institute CCAF Easier to Translate and SMART Transcripts More Accurate than AARTS Contacts report that some military transcripts are easier to translate and more accurate than others. For example, the Community College of the Air Force is more similar to non-military community colleges than other branches education programs, so University D administrators find CCAF courses much easier to transfer than courses on other military transcripts. Administrators Advise Military Students How to Amend Inaccurate Military Transcripts Contacts at University I note that AARTS transcripts are often incomplete, omitting basic training and possibly other military experiences, while SMART transcripts are more thorough. University I administrators believe the Army is improving AARTS transcript consistency and, in the meantime, administrators coach military students to request that the Army amend inaccurate transcripts to ensure they receive all transfer credit earned. Administrators Encourage Students to Submit Exam Scores for Credit Institutions also encourage students to submit scores from DSST (formerly known as DANTES) and College Board s college level examination program (CLEP). SOC consortium members must accept credit from at least one nationally-recognized testing program. 1 Three Institutions Evaluate Military Experience Learning through Portfolios University E, University H, and University B offer credit for professional experience, including military experience, for students who submit portfolios detailing the experience and learning outcomes. Faculty members with relevant subject material expertise evaluate student portfolios. 1 Servicemember Opportunity College Consortium, SOC Criteria,

10 10 of 20 Portfolio-Based Credits Apply only to Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree at University B University B limits portfolios of prior experiential learning credit to students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) program. Contacts at University B note that this option is particularly appealing to students with many years of military experience and higher military rank because they have more experience from which to draw. Students that complete a portfolio typically receive between 12 and 18 credit hours. Students may apply up to 24 credit hours of portfolio-based experiential learning credit toward University B s B.A.A.S. 1 2 Porfolio-Based Credit May Apply to Any Bachelor s Degree at University E and University H University E awards credit through an internal process termed a Certified Learning Equivalency (CLE). Students may apply for CLE credit for work experience, military or work training, and classes taken at a non-accredited college or university. Students must apply for CLE credit within one year of initial enrollment by completing a Petition for Award of Validated Learning Equivalency form, explaining in detail why the student deserves the credit. 1 Additionally, students must pay a $50 application fee and $35 per credit hour for each credit hour awarded. A maximum of 24 hours can be awarded through CLE. University H students must participate in courses to formally develop portfolios of prior learning with a faculty member s guidance. Students who complete both EXCL 301 and 001 may receive up to 30 credits for prior learning to apply toward their degree. 2 External Guides for Awarding Credit ACE Publication Guides All Contact Institutions The American Council on Education (ACE) organizes committees of faculty members who assess each military training and experience. ACE then publishes aggregate recommendations on the number and type of credits institutions should award for specific trainings and experiences. All contact institutions follow ACE guidelines. However, several administrators note that descriptions in ACE s Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services Online (The Guide Online) are insufficiently detailed for institutions to apply such credit toward major requirements or, in some cases, even general education and major elective requirements. Administrators Lobby ACE for Additional Course Information Administrators at University I sometimes obtain programs of instruction from ACE, which provide course description at the level of detail equivalent to a syllabus; on other occasions, administrators requests are not met, without a clear explanation. Institutions lobby ACE to widely distribute programs of instruction to allow military student to more easily apply credit toward degrees; contacts indicate that ACE may be developing a document similar to a course catalog of military experiences. 1 Contact Institution Website 2 Contact Institution Website

11 11 of 20 Public Ohio Institutions Contract with Vendor: u.select Tool from CollegeSource The Ohio Board of Regents requires all public institutions in Ohio to use u.select, a gateway tool CollegeSource developed to facilitate transparent access to participating institutions' automated degree audit and transfer articulation systems. 1 Through u.select, both students and university staff members can view how credits earned at other institutions and military experience translate to any public Ohio institution. Several institutions in Texas, including Dallas County Community College District, Sam Houston State University, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Houston, and the University of North Texas, have also implemented u.select. 2 Institutional Guides for Awarding Credit Institutional Guides Add Detail to ACE Guidelines 3 Individual Career Evaluation Process Manual at College A College A maintains the most comprehensive translation policy because the policy adds specificity to ACE guidelines across all military experiences; other institutions add applicability and specificity only at student request. College A developed the Individual Career Evaluation Process Manual beginning in the midto late 1970s. The manual articulates ACE credit recommendations more specifically to College A courses, either program electives or exact course numbers in the College A course catalog. The Dean of Student Development maintains responsibility for the manual and consults department chairs with subject matter expertise when new military experiences must be added to determine exactly how the military experience will apply at College A. Transfer Admission Planner at SDSU San Diego State University archives courses it has approved to meet transfer admission requirements in an online Transfer Admissions Planner. The planner contains information about transfer courses that may be used to meet general education requirements, as well as courses that prepare students for their major. 3 The planner is more applicable to courses completed at traditional higher education institutions than credits received through military experience. However, the planner serves as a model for archiving courses that have been previously approved and providing easily accessible information to students. 1 CollegeSource, About u.select, https://www.transfer.org/uselect/aboutuselect.htm 2 u.select, Featured Schools, https://www.transfer.org/uselect/browseschools.htm 3 Contact Institution Website

12 12 of 20 Transcript Notations Institution Transcripts Record Information from Military, ACE, and Institution Institution transcripts typically contain the following information for military experiences and: Name of the military experience according to the military branch ACE reference number for the military experience Number of credit hours awarded Generic ACE-recommended name of the course Credit Application toward Degree Requirements Application of Military Experience Credit toward Categories of Degree Requirements From Least Useful and Least Difficult to Implement to Most Useful and Most Difficult to Implement Free Electives Courses outside the selected major that do not count toward any specific graduation requirements, only toward the total number of credit hours earned General Education Requirements Major Electives Core courses that all students must complete to graduate from a given institution; courses include but are not limited to communication, mathematics, problem solving, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. Courses in the selected field of study that are required in addition to core requirements within the selected major; contacts indicate that academic department administrators are more flexible in accepting transfer credit for major electives than for major requirements. Major Requirements Core courses required to complete study in the selected field of concentration Source: American Council on Education, A Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations, pdf Processes for Awarding Military Experience Credit Automated System Established at University H 1 ACE Recommendations Pre-Loaded into PeopleSoft Student Record System Approximately six years ago, University H created rules for automatically applying ACE recommended course credit to military experiences documented in students military transcripts. New information from The Guide Online uploads into the University H PeopleSoft system on a monthly or quarterly basis.

13 13 of 20 2 Students Submit Military Transcripts and University H Employees Scan Documentation into PeopleSoft When students apply to University H, they submit paper and electronic transcripts from the military and any other institutions attended. University H employees scan paper transcripts through an optical character recognition template, verify that text is correctly recognized, and upload transcript data into PeopleSoft and Singularity software; this process replaces manual data entry of transfer course information. 3 ACE Recommendations Automatically Populate Student Transcript or Transfer Credit Clearinghouse Faculty Evaluate Military Experience In most cases, ACE recommendations automatically assign subject-specific or generic elective credit to military experience. If ACE recommendations do not automatically populate the system, part-time faculty members with relevant academic expertise in the Transfer Credit Clearinghouse evaluate what credit to assign to military experience. Contacts indicate that academic department chairs or full-time faculty are consulted only when students request to apply military experience credits toward major requirements. Processes for Applying Military Experience Credit toward Degrees Ad hoc Process Introduced at University C; Standardized Process under Development Among contact institutions, University C is in the earliest stages of establishing a standardized policy and process for translating military experience to academic credit. For each military student that enrolls, the Coordinator of Veterans Services translates military experiences to academic language, interprets the ACE recommendation, and meets with department chairs in person to encourage application of specific credits from individual students military experience toward degrees in their department. After precedence has been set with the application of credit for one student with a particular military background, other students may apply military experience credits similarly. The Coordinator of Veterans Services collaborates with the admissions director to standardize the process for applying military experience to degrees. Standardized Process Established at University D University D requires academic department staff to interpret vague ACE recommendations. 1 Military Experience Presented on Transcript as Generic Credit Based on ACE Guidelines After military students enroll, courses from their military transcript appear on their University D Transcript as generic credit, based on ACE recommendations. For example, military training related to math might appear as four semester hours of general math and count toward a degree only as free credit. Dozens of credits may be labeled this way, or as few as one, depending on students military background. 2 Students Request Advisors or Department Chairs to Apply Generic Credit toward Degree To apply generic credits toward a general education requirement, major elective, or major core course, students must persuade department-based academic advisors or department chairs that their military experience is equivalent to institution courses that fulfill the relevant general education requirement, major elective, or major core course. Course materials providing evidence of learning outcomes beyond what is available on ACE s Guide Online can facilitate approval, but military students typically do not have access to such materials.

14 14 of 20 3 Advisors or Department Chairs Change Student Record or Submit Request to Registrar Designated staff or faculty members in each academic department have permissions and responsibility to directly alter students electronic records to reflect that credit applies to a requirement. 1 If a department chair or advisor believes that military experience or training is similar enough to a specific institution course, the advisor or department chair must go through the registrar to alter a student s transcript to reflect institutional course numbering. V. Policy Development and Maintenance Administrator and Staff Responsibilities Student and Veterans Services Administrators Advocate for Credit Application and Department Chairs Ultimately Decide Student Services Administrator The Dean of Student Development at College A manages the Individual Career Evaluation Process Manual. Veterans Services Administrators At University D and University C respectively, the Veterans Center Director and Coordinator of Veterans Services advocate for flexibility in awarding and applying credit for military experience. Professional Transcript Evaluators University H employs part-time faculty in the Transfer Credit Clearinghouse who evaluate courses that have never been evaluated or accepted before; at University B, two University Transcript Evaluators review transcripts in the admissions department. Contacts report that these professionals can translate most military experience to institution credit, but occasionally refer cases to subject matter experts in academic departments. Academic Department Chairs Department chairs ultimately determine whether military experience credits apply to departments majors and translate to individual courses. Presidents and Provosts Executive-level administrators support is critical to achieve institution-wide application of military experience toward degrees. For example, contacts at University C note that the university president voices support for military students; administrators believe this encourages flexibility among department chairs when applying military experience credits toward degrees. Administrators at University D believe that faculty and academic advisors cooperate with the veteran s center because the center reports to the Provost. 1 University D, Departmental Transfer Credit Coordinator List,

15 15 of 20 Recommended Development Process Administrators First Establish Systems for Awarding Credit, then for Applying Credit Contacts at University I recommend the following process for developing systematic, useful translation of military experience to academic credit: Step 1: Award Credit Step 2: Apply Credit Build a business flow that incorporates ACE s basic recommendations for each military experience into the institution s student transcript system, preferably with automatic updates, so that military students at least receive generic elective credits for military experiences. Among contact institutions, University H maintains the most automated process, described in section IV. Establish more detailed, useful levels of credit, so that military experience credit appears on students transcripts as fulfilling general education, major, or major elective requirements. Ensure that once a precedent is set with a specific course, all students with similar military experience can automatically apply similar credit; this helps institutions accumulate pathways over time based on case-by-case evaluation. To assist the most veterans with the least effort, focus on the following: Academic departments that already attract significant numbers of military students Academic departments in which faculty members are veterans or indicate they are military-friendly Military experience or training that appear frequently on students military transcripts Degree Maps Establish Formal Pathways for Military Students at University H Among contact institutions, University H s military operations unit developed the most formal pathways from military careers to bachelor s degrees. A military branch provides documentation of a particular role and education officers in the military operations unit work with staff in the transfer credit clearing house to map which military experiences or training fulfill degree requirements and which requirements must be completed at University H. For a given military occupation, University H may offer several degree maps because multiple associate and bachelor s degrees relate to the occupation. Degree maps also account for military rank; military students with higher ranks are awarded more credit. For example, University H offers degree maps online for Intelligence Specialists of six ranks to pursue a B.S. in Digital Media and Web Technology, a B.S. in Management Studies, and two similar associate degrees. Contacts note that degree maps do not assist military students who pursue degrees unrelated to their military careers. Source: Contact Institution Website

16 VI. Policy Communication Communication among Institution Employees Administrators Communicate Policies through Staff Trainings, Meetings, Websites, and Student Records Systems 16 of 20 Strategies and Media for Communicating Military Experience Translation Policies Academic Advisor and Admissions Personnel Orientation At University D, the Director of the Veterans Center presents for 30 minutes during new academic advisor orientation. The director discusses military students special needs, how to respond when students must deploy mid-semester, and transferring credit from military experiences. The presentation concludes with a question and answer session. At University H, all university representatives to military bases and recruitment personnel receive training on the institution s credit translation policy. Meetings with College-Based Academic Advisors The University D s Veterans Center Director also meets with groups of advisors in each college to ensure that experienced advisors are aware of changes in university and state policy related to credit for military experience. The director customizes these meetings to college subject areas and advisors prior knowledge about military experience credit. Direct Communication from Transfer Student Center or Veterans Center Staff Members At University I and University D, staff members in the veterans and transfer student centers , conduct in-person meetings, and hold phone conversations to communicate military experience credit policies and engage stakeholders. At University D, each academic department designates staff or faculty to change general credit to applied credit; every few months, the transfer credit center manager sends these designees and the entire university advising community links to The Guide Online. These s also encourage staff and faculty to be flexible when applying military experience credit toward degrees. Similarly, University B employees can direct questions about the awarding or application of credit for military experience to one of two University Transcript Evaluators or the Admissions Director. Institution-Wide Veterans and Transfer Center Websites University I maintains comprehensive websites with information dedicated to veterans and to transfer students. The veteran s website also has a section dedicated to transfer student veterans. The websites are useful for current students, prospective students, and the institution employees that serve them and ensure that available information is consistent. The website sections targeted to prospective students also serve as a recruitment tool. Course Catalog Contacts at University I and University B report that institution employees and students reference the course catalog, in online or physical form, to learn the institution s policy for granting academic for military experience.

17 17 of 20 Individual Career Evaluation Process Manual At College A, all staff members access the Individual Career Evaluation Process Manual online to determine how to translate students military experience to academic credit. Student Record System Contacts at University H indicate that their PeopleSoft student record system serves as an excellent coordinating mechanism among staff members because all staff members who work with students can view particular students military experiences, ACE recommended credits, and what course equivalencies specific military experiences were awarded in the past. Communication to Prospective and Current Students Admissions and Academic Advising Staff Supplement Websites and Veteran s Services Administrators Communications Several of the tools for communicating military experience translation policies to staff members are readily available to students, including course catalogs and veterans and transfer center websites. In addition to these public documents and direct communication from veteran s services staff members, the following media and strategies communicate military experience translation policies to students: Admissions and Recruitment Personnel and Printed Materials Admissions personnel at University D and University H incorporate explanations of the military experience transfer credit process into the admissions website and materials distributed while personnel travel. University D plans to include advice about completing CLEP tests and online coursework before enrolling at University D so students who plan ahead may arrive with more credits that apply toward degrees. Academic Advisors and Department Chairs Across contact institutions, veterans services administrators educate academic advisors and department chairs about military experience translation policies and processes so they can better advise military students on degree completion. Several Institutions Dedicate Academic Advisors to Military Students University H dedicates advisors in the central advising unit to military students. University D s Veterans Center employs an academic advisor to explain the process of transferring credits, review transcripts and ensure military students have the correct supporting documents. An advisor at University I was dedicated to military students, but his role has not been assigned to another staff member since he departed the university.

18 VII. Majors Recommended for Students with Military Experience Program Designed for Veterans Troops to Engineers Program Supports Veterans at SDSU The Success in Engineering for Recent Veterans through Internship and Career Experience (SERVICE) program at SDSU, also referred to as the Troops to Engineers program, encourages recent veterans to study engineering at San Diego State University, typically after completing preparatory coursework at a partner community college. The program director places participants in paid internships while they complete their undergraduate education and assists them in finding full-time positions upon graduation. 18 of 20 Services Provided to Program Participants Assistance obtaining paid internships and full-time employment One-credit military transition course, which outlines university resources for veterans, scholarship applications, time management, civilian resumes, and other topics. Partnerships with Community Colleges to Create Pre-Engineering Pathway The program director collaborates with three local community colleges to design degree maps outlining basic community college coursework for SDSU s Engineering degree and helps assure that all credits transfer. Contacts note that students spend their GI bill benefits more efficiently by transferring to SDSU from community colleges. Networking with Industry Contacts $100,000 Troops to Engineers Annual Program Budget Program director s salary Part-time student assistant s wages Small travel budget Marketing materials In order to place veteran students in internships and full-time positions, the program director networks with local companies seeking to employ engineers. For example, the director introduces the Troops to Engineers program, details the benefits of hiring veterans, and presents profiles of students available for internships and hire. Through established relationships, industry contacts send the director notification of their openings, to which she responds with the resumes of likely candidates. Funding from NSF and Donors The dean of SDSU s College of Engineering received a one-time $200,000 NSF grant in Fall 2010 to launch the Troops to Engineers program. 1 Donations from local industry now sustain the annual program budget of approximately $100, Contacts indicate that companies that participate in the program are willing to contribute funds because they value the graduates they have hired. 1 National Science Foundation Awards, Transitioning Troops to Engineers: From Military Experience to a Civilian Engineering Career, 2 San Diego Military Advisory Council. Troops to Engineers SERVICE White Paper.

19 19 of 20 Program Success and Expansion Participation of eligible engineering students has increased from 14 students in Spring 2011 to 60 in Fall 2012, indicating a growing demand among student-veterans for career services provided by the Troops to Engineers program. SDSU is also establishing a Troops to Geosciences program after a professor in the geosciences department was impressed with the veteran students with whom he interacted and decided to pattern a career support program after the Troops to Engineers program. SDSU may expand SERVICE programs to additional high-demand STEM areas. Programs Attractive to Military Students Leadership and Criminal Justice Bachelor s Degrees Reportedly Most Popular Organizational or community leadership and criminal justice are popular among military students at University I and University B. Contacts at University I indicate that students can apply more credits from military experience toward these majors because they require more major electives and fewer major core courses than most majors. No contact institutions have designed a major specifically for veterans. Majors that Military Students Typically Pursue Major Crimial Justice Organizational or Community Leadership Engineering Applied Arts and Sciences General Studies Political Science; International Studies Counseling Accounting; Business; Managment Computer Science Institutions University B, University I University I, University D University I University B University B University D University D University H, University C (particularly for students that had administrative roles in the military) University H In Degree Counseling, Advisors Emphasize Students Goals, Not Military Experience College A advisors encourage military students, like any other student, to pursue a major that will help them achieve career or further educational goals. However, College A advisors recommend general studies to students whose only goal is to earn a bachelor s degree because general studies allows students to apply more military experience credits.

20 20 of 20 Bachelor s Degree in Human Resources Management Attract Veterans University F and University E administrators market on-site and online human resource management degrees to military students. Contacts emphasize the high demand for human resource programs among military personnel because of the large number of human resource jobs in the military. Many military students aspire to earn a bachelor s degree to gain access to more advanced positions in their organizations. Programs Marketed to Military Students Online and In Person Events on Bases and Presentations to Groups of Active Duty Personnel University F and University E operate campuses located in close proximity to military bases; institution representatives attend job fairs and military transition programs on bases to market human resource management and other degree programs. Similarly, the SDSU Troops to Engineers Program Director promotes engineering careers when visiting bases and presenting her program to groups of active duty personnel, particularly those with technical jobs that are more likely to have prepared them to be engineers. Military Student- Specific Admissions Websites Most contact institutions dedicate a website or a section of the admissions website to market the institution to military students, but these websites do not typically feature degree programs. University B contracts with a marketing vendor to recruit students, and the vendor s website highlights three degrees toward which military students apply many military experience credits: Criminal Justice, General Studies, and Applied Arts and Engineering.

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