College Credit for Military Service & Experience

Photo by Sgt. Scott Schmidt

Active-Duty and Veterans can receive college credit for military service and save time and money at the same time. Many colleges and universities provide military transfer credit for military experience via participation through ACE (American Council on Education). ACE collaborates with the Department of Defense (DoD) to extensively review military training and experiences in order to recommend appropriate course credit to member schools. ACE then works extensively with these member institutions to educate them on translating prior military learning experiences into college credit.

Receiving college credit for military service is a great benefit but the amount of credit received can often fall below expectations. There are many factors that can contribute to this but here are the most common:

  • The desired area of study or program is different than their MOC (Military Occupation Code).
  • Military experience or training is determined to be duplicate and applied to the same transfer credit recommendation.
  • Most ACE credits typically only apply to lower level, free elective coursework such as associates degree level classes.
  • Typically very few credits apply toward core requirement, upper level course work.
  • The institution’s transfer credit policies are not transparent.
  • Ultimately colleges determine the military college credits they will accept and how they will be applied to a specific degree.
  • Colleges don’t always follow the ACE recommendations or they may interpret them differently from one school to the next.

How to maximize military service for college transfer credits

  • Review your military transcript and ACE recommendations for courses and occupations.
  • Seek a degree that is aligned closely with your MOC.
  • Determine the school’s policy on accepting military college credits. Admissions counselors or college websites typically can provide this information.
  • Seek out schools that have good veterans programs or determine how military friendly your choices are.
  • Speak to several schools. Colleges interpret military training credits differently and can apply credits differently for the same degree program and military experience. The decisions may be very different!
  • Appeal any adverse decisions on military transfer credits. Successful appeals do happen.
  • Don’t enroll before the school determines your military transfer credits.

Service members or Veterans should request a military transcript as a first step.

Military Education and Experience Systems (includes Guard & Reserves by branch):

  • Air Force – The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)
  • Army – AARTS System
  • Coast Guard – The Coast Guard Institute (CGI)
  • Marines – SMART System
  • Navy – SMART System

Veterans can access these systems unless they are not eligible. If the Veteran is not eligible they should complete the DD-295 and provide their DD-214 Discharge Document in order to receive college credit for military service.


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Military Friendly Schools & Colleges Membership Lists

The military, Department of Defense (DoD), and Veterans Affairs have a variety of programs where colleges and schools can become members.  These programs protect service members, veterans, military spouses and dependents to help ensure they receive a quality education.   Below is a list of these programs and links to the member directories of the military friendly colleges and schools that are on these lists.

Note: The U.S. Government, DoD, and Veterans Affairs or military does NOT expressly endorse or approve a school as military friendly.

ACE (American Council on Education)

Colleges and Universities that participate in ACE are experienced at translating prior military learning experiences into college credit.   ACE collaborates with the Department of Defense to review military training and experiences in order to recommend appropriate college credit.  Additionally, ACE will provide recommendations for formal courses and occupations based on an individual’s military training and experience.  Gaining college credit for military experience can help save hundreds or thousands of dollars in tuition costs.  ACE Directory

DANTES External (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support)

DANTES supports all DOD components including the Coast Guard by providing a non-traditional education environment to pursue academic and vocational goals.  Dante’s provides education alternatives to service members who cannot attend classes or schools due to work schedules, duty locations that do not permit class attendance.  High school, college, technical, or vocational courses are all available via methods such as textbooks, video, audio tapes, internet, email or TV.  Courses can be taken from schools or colleges that are part of Dante’s External. Dante’s External Directory

MyCAA (Military Career Advancement Accounts) Program

This program is for active-duty military Spouses and provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance.  This program is limited to military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or Associate’s degree in a portable career field and occupation. MyCAA Directory

Post 9/11 GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon program allows approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post‐9/11 GI Bill.  These additional funds do not count against GI Bill entitlements. Yellow Ribbon Directory

SOC (Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges)

SOC functions in cooperation 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 service members worldwide.  Members of SOC must provide credit for military training and experience, credit for nationally recognized testing programs, limited residency requirements and avoid excessive loss of previously earned credits. SOC Directory

VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program

The Principles of Excellence are guidelines for educational schools and institutions receiving federal military and veterans educational funding.  Participating schools agree to principles and guidelines that provide service members, veterans, spouses, and dependents with the information, support, and protections they deserve. VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program Directory

Below, we have grouped the military friendly programs as they directly apply to active-duty, veterans, military spouses and dependents.  Indirect benefits and information may still apply to all other groups.

Active Duty

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Edwards

 

  • ACE (American Council on Education)
  • DANTES External (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support)
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program
  • SOC (Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges)
  • VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program

Veterans

  • ACE (American Council on Education)
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program
  • VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program

Military Spouses

  • MyCAA (Military Career Advancement Accounts) Program
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program
  • VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program

Dependents

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program
  • VA Approved – The Principles of Excellence Program

See the Military Friendly Colleges Guide for more information on selecting the best school.


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2012-2013 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Rates

The new Montgomery GI Bill Rates increased by approximately 6.18% this year and is effective from October 1st, 2012 through September 30th, 2013.  This increase

is almost double the increase from the previous year of approximately 3.30%.  Increases occur every year on October 1st and are designed to cover the increased costs of education due to inflation.  An eligible active-duty servicemember or veteran enlisted more than 3 years can now receive up to $56,304 in MGIB benefits up from $53,028 in the previous period.

The new 2012-2013 MGIB Rates

Rates for three years or more enlistment:

Institutional Training
Training Time 2011-2012 Monthly rate 2012-2013 Monthly rate Year over Year Increase
Full time $1,473.00 $1,564.00 6.18%
¾ time $1,104.75 $1,173.00 6.18%
½ time $736.50 $782.00 6.18%
less than ½ time more than ¼ time $736.50 ** $782.00 ** 6.18%
¼ time or less $368.25 ** $391.00 ** 6.18%

 

Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training
Training Period 2011-2012 Monthly rate 2012-2013 Monthly rate Year over Year Increase
First 6 months of training $1,104.75 $1,173.00 6.18%
Second 6 months of training $810.15 $860.00 6.15%
Remainder of training $515.55 $547.40 6.18%

 

Correspondence and Flight– Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,564.00 paid.
Cooperative – $1,564.00
** Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

 

Rates for less than three years of enlistment:

Institutional Training
Training Time 2011-2012 Monthly rate 2012-2013 Monthly rate Year over Year Increase
Full time $1,196.00 $1,270.00 6.19%
¾ time $897.00 $952.50 6.19%
½ time $598.00 $635.00 6.19%
less than ½ time more than ¼ time $598.00 ** $635.00 ** 6.19%
¼ time or less $299.00 ** $317.50 ** 6.19%

 

Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training
Training Period 2011-2012 Monthly rate 2012-2013 Monthly rate Year over Year Increase
First 6 months of training $897.00 $952.50 6.19%
Second 6 months of training $657.80 $698.50 6.19%
Remainder of training $418.60 $444.50 6.19%

 

Correspondence and Flight – Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,270.00 paid.Service Member MGIB Education
Cooperative – $1,270.00
** Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

 

The Montgomery GI Bill was established in 1984 and provides financial assistance for education and training.  To be eligible you must contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months of active-duty, have High School or equivalent degree and served at least 2 years on active duty.

There is also a Buy-Up Program where if eligible service members contribute an additional $600 they can receive up to $150 a month or $5,400 (36 months) more in benefits.

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs


Post Military Option: Online Psychology Degree

An online degree in psychology or counseling is an excellent method to start a career in a job helping others. Online psychology degrees are useful for occupations such as career counseling, school counseling, human resources, and general business; they also open up doors to family-marriage therapist and clinical social worker careers with a master’s degree program and respective licensure.

Psychology jobs are found in a variety of professional fields:

  • Clinical
  • Forensics
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Corporate

How long does it take to earn an online degree in psychology?

Online psychology bachelor degree programs may be completed in as little as three years with accelerated or year-round learning, though most programs take four years or more. An online psychology master degree takes an additional two years.

What will I learn in an online psychology degree program?

Psychology students study statistics, research, theory, and the role of other social and life sciences on the field of psychology and human behavior: anthropological psychology, sociological psychology, and physiological psychology to name a few.

Psychology master degree programs offer more focus than the bachelor degree counterparts. For example, an online master degree in forensic psychology will lead to an entirely different career path than an online master degree in clinical social work. The C.S.W., like the marriage-family therapist, is able to provide one-on-one counseling and therapy, whereas the forensic psychologist works in criminal justice.

Where do I find an online psychology degree program?

Online psychology degree programs are available from several reputable schools across the internet. The school you attend should be accredited so that your online degree program is recognized as quality education by employers and future schools. It’s best to do research and ask questions about the online psychology program(s) of interest to you before enrolling.


Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are continuing their education by pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field and occupation.

About MyCAA

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA) is a career development and employment assistance program sponsored by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program. MyCAA helps military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications, or Associates Degree (excluding Associates Degrees in General Studies, Liberal Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies that do not have a concentration) necessary for gainful employment in high demand, high growth, Portable Career Fields and Occupations.

What else does MyCAA Offer?

  • Training and Education Financial Assistance – MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of up to $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses in acquiring a professional credential needed to meet their Portable Career goal. Annual cap waivers are available if there is an upfront tuition cost that exceeds $2,000 (up to the maximum education benefit of $4,000).
  • Employment Readiness Counseling – Counseling services are provided to all military spouses married to active duty service members of all ranks, regardless of their eligibility to receive MyCAA financial assistance and their desire to pursue higher levels of education. Counseling services help military spouses identify additional sources of federal, state, and local financial assistance, expanded career choices and opportunities, and necessary support resources (e.g., child care, transportation, books, computers, equipment, supplies, etc.).
  • Employment Assistance and Career Services – Referrals are made to networks of military friendly employers for MyCAA spouse participants who have completed their programs of study using MyCAA funding and who are ready to seek gainful employment.

Who is eligible?

Spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2 who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders, including spouses married to members of the National Guard and Reserve Components in these same pay grades.

Are currently employed military spouses eligible?

Yes!

How do military spouses know if a school is participating?

See our MyCAA list by state.

Do spouses have to select a school that is participating?

No, but it can take up to 60 days for approval, and it is recommended to find a school that is participating.  The school and only the school can apply for the MyCAA program.  Spouses can encourage the schools to apply and even provide them the link to the application.  These schools have an incentive to do so if it’s a difference between a military spouse attending the school or not.  The easier path, however, is to choose a school that is already participating.

What are the approved career fields and occupations?

  • Aerospace
  • Animal Services
  • Automotive Services & Transportation
  • Business, Finance & Administration
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health & Human Services
  • Homeland Security
  • Hospitality
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Skilled Trades
    • Aesthetician or Skin Care Specialist
    • Barber
    • Colorist
    • Cosmetologist
    • Designer
    • Gemologist
    • Journalist
    • Make-up Artist (Theatrical & Performance)
    • Mortuary Science
    • Musical Instrument Repair
    • Nail Technician
    • Photographer
    • Sales Manager
    • Translator/Interpreter
    • Writer/Editor

Where can I get more information?

Contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) Consultant at 1.800.342.9647.

FAQ

I was told since my husband is 100% retired and disabled that I could get this program to pay for my school or receive money. I just went to school to become a CNA. I paid for it out of pocket. Could I be reimbursed or receive money to continue my education? I was told I could get up to $2,000.00 the first year, and another the second . They said it was only for one time.

You may be eligible for education benefits if your husband is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability that arose from active duty service in the Armed Service. You’ll need to complete the Application for Survivors’ and Dependents Educational Assistance Form, VA form 22-5490, and send it to the VA regional office in your area. Also, since you have already started training ask the school you’re attending to complete VA Form 22-1999 and send both to Veterans Affairs.

I don’t believe my school is on the list for MyCAA. How would I go about receiving this money for the school? As it states above that it is possible but just takes longer.  School name: National College of Technicial Instruction – in Roseville, CA.

Schools must participate in the MyCAA program in order to qualify for aid. Spouses can and are encouraged to have their schools apply but ultimately only the school can complete this process. It also takes up to 60 days to complete the process. Lastly, MyCAA will not pay or refund tuition costs for courses you’re already enrolled in. If this school is the best fit for you, try speaking with the school and even give them the link to the MyCAA “Come on Board” program to get them to apply.


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