Many states want college students who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to get academic credit for their military training and experience. The challenge is figuring out how many credits that training and experience is worth.
At least 26 states have passed legislation directing their boards of education to develop statewide policies to provide academic credit to the largest influx of veterans since the end of World War II, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based nonprofit organization, says 19 states have enacted related legislation in the last two years alone.
"There's a lot of interest in a lot of different circles [in helping] veterans," said Cathy Sandeen of the American Council on Education (ACE), which represents the presidents of U.S. colleges and universities.
More than 2,300 schools rely on ACE to review various types of military training and experience and recommend how to translate them into academic credits. But as is the case with AP exams or transfers from another school, each school makes the final decision on how much credit, if any, to award.
"The problem is it's just a recommendation, and schools can choose whether or not to accept it," said Michael Dakduk, who heads the Student Veterans of America, a coalition of student veterans groups on college campuses. Dakduk served as a Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first step to claiming the credits you have earned is to request a transcript from your military service. Each service will provide unofficial personal copies and send schools an official copy of your transcript at no charge.
The Military uses the Joint Service Transcripts System (JST), which automatically captures your academic credits from military training, and Standardized tests. The JST system is available to enlisted Soldiers only.