Colorado to Require All Colleges to Grant Academic Credit for Military Experience

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Colorado recently passed a bill designed to ease the transition from military service to postsecondary education for the state’s service members and veterans. House Bill 1004 requires colleges and universities to grant veterans and active-duty students “academic credit for college-level learning acquired while in the military,” according to the state’s website. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law on June 1 after unanimous approval by the General Assembly.

Prior to the law’s passage, the decision to award college credit for military experience was left to the discretion of individual colleges and universities. Now, every institution of higher education in Colorado will be required to adopt the American Council on Education’s (ACE) guidelines for granting academic credit for military coursework and experience.

ACE, which represents nearly 1,800 higher education institutions and associations, has had these guidelines in place since the end of World War II, but U.S. schools are not required by law to follow them. By making them mandatory for all higher education institutions across Colorado, lawmakers hope the process for accessing and completing a college degree will be easier, faster, and more cost-effective for service members and veterans.

The current ACE Military Guide includes detailed information regarding accepting military classes, trainings, and occupations as transfer credit. A student who previously held the occupation of Navy diver, for example, is eligible for a minimum of three semester hours in gas and electric welding, emergency medical technician training, critical-thinking and decision-making, human resource management, and other areas, according to the ACE website.

The new law also requires that institutions provide guidance to these students in selecting a program of study and optimizing their already acquired credits.

To view ACE’s guidelines, visit acenet.edu.