By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald
With a new website developed by Central Texas College, active-duty soldiers and veterans will have an easier time determining how their military service translates to college credit.
"Those colleges that don't have a lot of military students may not have any mechanism in place to assist military members make the transition," said John Hunt, deputy chancellor of Texas campuses and distance learning operations at the community college.
The College Credit for Heroes website, which launched Monday, will help standardize evaluations of military training and experiences for higher education credits. The community college used more than $1 million from the Texas Workforce Commission to develop the online program.
"Our website will serve as a valuable tool for our service members to begin or continue their academic careers and ensure they are meeting the requirements of their degree plans or other educational goals," said Chancellor Tom Klincar in a statement. "We have a long-standing relationship with the military, and we could not be more pleased than to be able to offer this service and be part of this great program."
The web-based application allows users to search databases for recommended credits for military occupations and training. Then users can request an official evaluation of those credits and have transcripts sent to participating Texas colleges.
"Prior to the inception of this site, students would have go to an education center or individual college institution, and not all of them would be able to perform an evaluation," said Hunt.
It is hoped that standardization of military training and experience conversions will cut down on soldiers and veterans with proper training being forced to take repetitive courses in pursuit of college degrees.
At a health symposium last month at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, a local official illustrated the problem for those moving from military service to college.
Jeff Fritz, chairman of Temple College's Emergency Medical Services Department, said many of the school's military service students already have experience dealing with trauma and other complex care matters, making it hard for them to sit through basic lectures, such as inserting an intravenous tube or making patient assessments.
The website will function as part of a $3 million college credit initiative administered through the state employment agency. Besides the Killeen college, the online project included six other community colleges. Each school developed some aspect of the initiative that's designed to expedite veterans' transition into the Texas workforce.
"I think (Central Texas College) was chosen (to develop the website) because we have a long history of evaluating military experience and awarding credit for it," said Hunt.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.
To view the College Credit for Heroes website, go to www.collegecreditforheroes.org.