JULY 3, 2019 BY IHL
The United States Military is known for being the best in the world. The training is rigorous. The expectations are high. With life or death consequences, the room for error is zero.
When service men and women decide to use their G.I. benefits to pursue higher education, they sometimes find themselves in a classroom re-learning information already learned through their military training.
“As I toured the state on a Listening Tour last summer and fall, I heard from several veteran students about the need to find a way to grant credit for equivalent military training,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “Last December, I established a task force to develop a policy for accepting military credit.”
The IHL Military Credit Policy Task Force was charged with:
- Evaluating best practices within the state and across the nation;
- Creating a policy and guide to systematize the awarding of academic credit for military learning;
- Placing the guide and articulated credit decisions on a system level website; and
- Working with Mississippi community colleges to establish articulation and transfer agreements for military credit.
The task force included a representative from each of the eight public universities and was comprised of two chief academic officers, two registrars, two admissions officers and two military/veteran specialists.
The task force also invited representation from the Governor’s office, the Adjutant General’s office, the Mississippi National Guard, the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board, and the Mississippi Community College Board to meet with them. A liaison from Army University presented at the meeting to discuss the steps involved in their review process and the benefits of having military experts participate in the review process with faculty experts.
IHL Military Credit reviews will be organized at the system level for all eight universities. Faculty expert panels will review American Council on Education recommendations, speak with military experts, review additional military documentation provided by Army University and identify course equivalencies within their specific degree programs. The panels’ recommendations will be subject to an institutional review process.
Once approved at the university level, the course equivalencies will be posted on the IHL Military Credit website to inform prospective service members and veterans prior to admission. An IHL institution may award up to 90 hours of academic credit for military learning at the undergraduate level. Evaluation of military learning for academic credit will occur at the time the student is admitted and enrolls at an IHL institution and will be recorded on the student’s transcript at that time to allow for informed advisement.
“This policy and the process of awarding academic credit for military learning will benefit veterans and service members greatly,” said Dr. Rankins. “I am pleased that the IHL Military Credit Task Force worked quickly to address this important issue.”
As the task force began its work, Senate Bill 2053 was introduced and passed in the 2019 Legislative Session. This bill requires Mississippi Public Universities and community colleges to award educational credits for courses that are part of a student’s military training or service by the 2020 Academic Year. This policy achieves SB 2053 requirements for the university system.