Published on 2013/09/20

Creating a Postsecondary Pathway for Veterans

Seven states are setting an example for the rest of the United States by helping advance veterans toward a postsecondary credential.

In early 2012, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio began an initiative to help veterans ease into higher education through the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit. The Collaborative brought together post-secondary institutions, systems and state higher education executive officers. Since then Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri have joined on to the Collaborative.

Beyond helping veteran students settle into postsecondary education, the initiative also seeks to provide them with transfer credits for military service and training.

To determine what credits will be relevant for veterans enrolling in higher education institutions, colleges and universities from the seven participating states rely on credit recommendations made by the American Council on Education (ACE). While these recommendations have been useful, stakeholders in the Collaboration are now pushing to better understand ACE’s credit evaluation process.

“Because faculty at many institutions have not had the advantage of reviewing the documented evidence gathered through the ACE evaluations, they do not understand the rigorous, faculty-driven process,” the leaders, involved in the collaboration, wrote in a letter to ACE.

The letter also explains that institutions are slow to adopt all the prior-learning recommendations made by ACE because so little information is made available regarding their process for determining which experiences are worthy of academic credit. The letter further states that institutions want more details about what learning outcomes, assessment methods and instructional modes are involved in the military training courses being evaluated.

“We’re looking into that right now,” Cathy Sandeen, vice president for educational attainment and innovation at ACE, told Inside Higher Ed. “We want to provide more transparency.”

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