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Veterans program gives college credit for military experience

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Flags fly at the Hays Count Veterans Memorial in support of the United States military
Flags fly at the Hays Count Veterans Memorial in support of the United States military.
Photo by Victor Rodriguez | Multimedia Editor

Texas State’s partnership with College Credit for Heroes is giving service members the ability to earn college credit for skills learned in the military.

The program, created by the Texas legislature in 2011, accelerates the rate at which military members obtain their college degree, workforce certificate or licensing program. Texas State has offered the program since 2016 at its San Marcos and Round Rock locations.

Through the program, Texas State offers the ability to gain up to 30 credit hours from non-collegiate training and 24 hours of work-life credits toward a bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree. Paths include various disciplines ranging from engineering technology to social services.

Todd Sherron, coordinator for Prior Learning Assessment Program, a competency-based portfolio builder, said the program at Texas State is funded by the Texas Workforce Commission. This allows the school to pay participants for prior learning assessments or internships.

“College-level learning can take place in a lot of different places and it does not have to be in a classroom or even in a university,” Sherron said. “These veterans have thousands of hours of military training as well as years of experience of working and doing their job. It makes no sense to put this type of person through a traditional program.”

The program has space for up to 40 students, but only 19 have participated since 2016. The average student age is 36 years old, according to Sherron.

David Beadle, alumnus of the program, said ensuring service members receive a degree in a timely manner is essential.

“(The program) is a benefit many veterans need in order to help assist them in achieving their goals and finishing school,” Beadle said. “I have already recommended several others to look into the program.”

Brigitte Flynt, program director at College Credit for Heroes, said the program began after the Iraq War. Service members wanted to enter the workforce with new careers but were held back by not having a degree or certification.

“The program is very popular with over 40,500 evaluation requests because military members can get into the civilian workforce faster,” Flynt said. “Their degrees are completed sooner because they get the military credit. It’s a win-win for the students.”

For admittance into the program, students must request an evaluation of military education and workforce experience at collegecreditforheroes.org. Texas State requires an online information session before students can meet with an academic advisor following an acceptance to the university.

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