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Military Educations Not Recognized by Many Colleges

For many military service members, earning an education has an entirely different meaning than most college students. That is because service members, although they may not be taking classes directly, earn an education similar to entry-level college courses, through the military. Many universities, however, aren't recognizing that education as fulfilling standard academic requirements.

For many military students, going to college means re-learning the skills and logistics they already possess. Unlike what they were told by recruiting officers, some schools just don't recognize military education and will not accept it as fulfilling college credit. So those students have to begin from the bottom, just like others who are coming straight out of highschool.

Some say the problem lies in that colleges don't understand the kind of work that military service members do. They don't understand the intricacies of each member's job and what they learn throughout their military career, particularly in math and science. Many schools only accept credit from institutions of higher learning.

Kathy Snead is the president of an organization called Servicemembers Opportunities Colleges that is composed of over 1,800 schools, all of which are required to recognize military training and coursework. Snead chose one student's experience as a prime example of the similarities of military and college educations. The student she spoke of worked as a nuclear engineer for the Navy who was refused credit for his training and experience. Once enrolled in school, he ended up helping teach his classes and often was more intelligent in topics than his professors.

Western Carolina University educational outreach dean, Pat Brown, says, “People need to recognize that the quality of education going on in the military is at a very high level.”