If you’re a member of the military and are seeking a college degree, you may be closer to graduation than you think. Not only can you graduate faster. You can also graduate cheaper! How? By claiming credit for your military experience and applying those credits towards earning your degree. That can save you hundreds of dollars in tuition and shorten your degree completion time by months.
So how do you apply these credits as you enroll for college? By having all of your official transcripts sent to the college you are applying to. That includes all transcripts from any service branch where you served as well as any previous college you attended. Remember to receive your new college’s evaluation, before starting any courses. That’s so you won’t take a course only to discover later that you could have actually waived.
You can also obtain college credit through Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES). DANTES is a testing program, an evaluation system for military technical training to document learning experiences gained through military services.
Your military education and experience credits are filed and accessed differently for each service branch. The Army uses the AARTS system. The Air Force uses The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) system. The Navy and Marine Corps share the SMART system. And The Coast Guard uses the Coast Guard Institute (CGI). Veterans can use their former branch system or fill out a discharge document.
The American Council on Education (ACE) is the organization that recommends whether or not your type of military training should be applied to college credits. But it is the school that makes the final decision as to whether to accept ACE’s recommendations. Every school has a different set of criteria, so don’t expect everything to transfer. This is especially true of many core courses that are required in order to meet the general education requirement. These might include the basics such as math, science and English. Also, most schools will limit the number of credits they will allow you to transfer. But some offer transfer credit for as much as 75% of an undergraduate degree program. It makes sense to check out various schools to determine which is the most
military-friendly school for you.