Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by Shawn Ambrose, Dec 19, 2011.
New college program targets junior enlisted - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times
I'm not sure how I feel about this; everything listed in the article, I believe, is worthy of *some* college credit, but there are many variables (such as the person's MOS/military job training) that make it impossible to offer an informed opinion as to how much is worth what.
My undergrad college (Curry) granted 4 credits for simply graduating military basic training (I forget the credit breakdown), but nothing for Advanced Individual Training (AIT/MOS Training), unless it was already ACE-evaluated.
I ended up getting quite a few credits for my combat arms enlistment, but they were all electives that did not do me a whole lot of good in the grand scheme of things. For graduating U.S. Army Ranger School I ended up with 15 semester hours in PE, map reading, first aid, and leadership/supervision.
You have to be careful it doesnt fall into the "life experiences" type of schools. I did the CLEP and programs like that when I went for my B.A., and when I became an officer, I received credit for my master's because I graduated from the military's automation school. Soldiers have to be careful not to be scammed.
I'm like you Bruce, I dont know how to take this news...
I'm not really sure what the concern is. If someone is in a combat arms MOS their skills are not going to translate well in a "normal" school. The dead trees version of this article has a list of schools that agree to do this. Schools like Thomas Edison and Excelsior, I believe a total of 31 all together. I originally thought the degrees would be AAS degrees, but they are a mixed bag: some schools are lining them up with AA degrees, others AS, others AAS, some in criminal justice, some in general studies, others in business admin, etc. It runs the gamut.
For comparison, this is functionally similar to combining two programs in the Air Force:
Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)
Air University Associate-to-Baccalaureate Program (AU-ABC)
CCAF has been around since the 1970s and awards an AAS in your specific career field. For instance, I am a computer programmer in the Air Force and I have an AAS in Computer Science from CCAF. You have to complete a handful of gen eds in addition to your technical and leadership training in order to receive the AAS degree. CCAF is fully regionally accredited through SACS.
AU-ABC is an agreement between CCAF (AU put their name on it only, CCAF owns it) and civilian schools to take an Airman's CCAF degree and transfer it in for a minimum of 60 credits towards specific degree plans. For example, my 64-credit CCAF computer science AAS, under the AU-ABC program, will transfer 60 credits into Thomas Edison's BS in Business Admin CIS degree plan. If I transfer it into a different plan at TESC then it is worth fewer transfer credits.
I see the Army's approach as a blend of the above two approaches. The Army (and the Navy as well) have long wanted a CCAF of their own, and there has in fact been legislation proposed to create a "Community College of the Armed Forces" to handle everyone. I think their approach here is brilliant because it gives combat arms soldiers a path forward into specific pre-defined degree plans.
One bit that may be overlooked as well is their intent to expect an associates in your first enlistment, a bachelor's while a junior NCO, and a master's as a senior NCO. I've seen similar briefings in the AF though that hasn't really caught on yet -- but it should. The Army seems to be routing around a problem they've tried to solve for years -- how to build a CCAF of their own -- and done it in a way that gives their soldiers flexibility in choosing their own path. I think this is a win-win for combat arms soldiers and the Army all the way around.
Then again, this is just my unsought $0.02. :drillsergeant:
I work with a guy who was a K-9 handler in the Air Force Security Police, and had many CCAF credits (although not a degree) in criminal justice, but my/our undergrad alma mater (which was very accepting of transfer credits in general) wouldn't accept any of his CCAF credits, so YMMV.
My opinion of course....I have an AAS degree from CCAF from my AF days and I am currently a Warrant Officer in the Army. Also previously a 19D Scout (combat arms) for six years back in the late 80's. There are plenty of programs out there that accept military credit. The problem I had was that I had a large amount of credit in various disciplines and it would not be accepted into a single degree program. There are already programs in place for awarding credit for NCOES course, UMUC is one that comes to mind. However, if you are infantry and want a degree in Chemistry...you are not going to get much credit...except a few hours of electives. I had the opportunity to finish undergraduate work many times, but did not do so. That was my own fault. I spend alot of my time, as an officer, trying to share with my Soldiers the importance of education.
Find your passion and interest...for example, if you want to study Sociology, start out with an AA at a local community college taking general education, utilize CLEP, and ensure the transferability of credits to the university that you wish to transfer.
There are plenty of opportunities at local CC's around the bases as well as on installations. Not to mention online programs. It is up to the servicemembers to take advantages of the opportunities presented. Deployments and time are no longer an excuse.
I just hope that schools do not try and award an Associate's degree based on life experiences (combat) and then the Soldier ends up transferring into a 4 yr program with little credits accepted. To me, I believe my advice to my guys to research a 4 year university to their liking, then complete an AA with transferable general education credits is the best approach.
The military isn't in business to provide servicemembers a degree. Soldiers have to take responsibility for their own education first. There are already bounds of programs in place for them to be successful. Just my two cents.
Right, that's why I had the next paragraph in my post. AU-ABC is an articulation agreement between CCAF and partner colleges who agree to transfer in the CCAF AAS degree for a minimum of 60 credits. It is fairly new (about 3 years old at most) and the agreement is to transfer in your completed CCAF degree. If the school has not signed up, or has not created a defined degree path for the CCAF-to-baccalaureate transition, then it won't transfer for very much. Like I said, mine transfers in full into exactly one TESC undergrad degree, but I get far fewer transfer credits for any other degree at the same school.
So yes, YMMV because each combination of [student + school + degree program] is potentially very different and transfers can be different between two seemingly similar students, schools, and degrees.
I too got some credits for my military training. From the Marines I recall getting some PE credits (didn't need) land navigation/orienteering credits, and then there were some MCI (Marine Correspondence Program) courses that I did. I specifically did all the MCI's that had ACE credit recommendations. So I got 3 credits in criminal justice, some credits in digital electronics, and some credits for terrorism awareness courses on SE asia but I cannot remember how those came out.
From Washington State University they accepted maybe 9 credits from my military training, which I thought was very generous. I had 32 ACE credits on my transcripts but of course they don't take them all.
I also have a CCAF degree which has to be the greatest thing going. I went to a 5 month long tech school and earned 31 semester hour credits for that school alone. That along with completing a couple of correspondence courses and my credits from SCC got me a second AAS. Very underrated program that the AF has. Most of the kids in my tech school didn't realize how good they had it until I explained it to them. After attending basic training and their Tech School they had more credits than their friends who were traditional students at CC/college and instead of paying tuition these guys were paid!
Nice that the Army is trying something like this.
DegreeInfo link regarding college credits granted for military training /schools (including graduate credit):
Webster University: Command & General Staff College
I have to disagree that CCAF is underrated in the AF. It is required in order to be competitive for promotion to E-8, and it is beaten into everyone's skull early on in their first term, at least in my experience. CCAF just graduated over 18,000 students this year alone.
However, I will also agree that AF is ridiculously spoiled when it comes to this, and most folks don't even bother with even a CCAF degree let alone continuing on to a bachelor's degree. I am one of them, waited until very late in my career and now wishing I had done it all along. And now I'm kicking everyone around me to get going as well.
For this reason I think the Army is actually ahead of the game here, because they are laying out an expectation that you complete the AA/AS/AAS degree in your first term, and prevent you from getting full promotion points without it. I think if the AF was serious they would do the same, but with our promotion system it would be better to add an education dimension to promotions and give something like 2 points towards promotion for completing a CCAF, 4 points for a bachelor's, and 6 points for a master's, cumulative. Hell, AF has a "recruiting ribbon" for recruiters that is worth 2 points, so getting your education has to be at least as good as that.
I also think requiring a CCAF for promotion to E-8 is a joke, that should be required for maybe E-6 at the latest. As an E-7, in my job at least I feel handicapped by not functioning at the graduate level and being able to capably communicate and work with chiefs and the commander as well as I think I should.
I have only been in the AF for 4 years, and that is as a Guardsmen. So, my "experience" in the AF if admittedly minute. I understand they have other things to cover in boot camp besides CCAF, but I was amazed that not one of the basic trainee people in my tech school knew about the CCAF. When I talked to my supervisor and other airmen about it back at my unit, they hardly payed any attention to it either. I was surprised by that.
They military should just make the CCAF a DoD service college and allow all the other services to use it. Instead of reinventing the wheel everytime the Army copies the other branches-which seems to happen quite a bit it could save some money.
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