Indiana veterans, rejoice: a law went into effect on July 1st that allows some military experience to be turned into college credit. Referred to as the Second Service for Veterans program, there are quite a few regulations and restrictions. Firstly, the program is only designed to help veterans trying to become teachers. These credits will not apply to any other college program.
"Veterans gain invaluable experience in the military that ought to be considered during college applications and when obtaining appropriate licensing through the state of Indiana," said Emily Hildebrand, the director of development and public policy for Hoosiers Veterans Assistance Foundation.
"Often times, military courses and training are far more rigorous than their civilian equivalents and allowing this experience to translate into credits and professional licenses serves both the veteran and our community well," Hildebrand said.
In order for colleges to take advantage of this program to help their veteran students, there are three guidelines they must follow:
- Provide academic and career counseling specifically designed for veterans in the school of education.
- Offer in-state tuition to out-of-state veteran students who apply and are accepted into the program.
- Develop an initiative to attract and recruit veterans to the school of education.
Russ Eaglin, deputy director of the Indiana Department of Veteran's Affairs, said praised the new law’s focus on careers in education. "Veterans have our country's values and an oath to service. This allows them to continue to serve as educators and give what they have learned," Eaglin said.
Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola, is a co-author of the program and a military veteran. Zent believes that veterans are a "great untapped resource," and can help fill the gaps in teaching positions as the older generation of educators begin to retire. "Veterans have a unique experience and can fill those open jobs," he said.
It is estimated that the veterans who participate in the program will receive an average of 25-30 college credits. This is a huge benefit since four year programs are beginning to wane in the face of five and six year plans. Receiving credit for roughly two semester’s worth of work can seriously reduce the time it takes for a veteran to complete a teaching-oriented college program.
Although the program has very tight focus, veterans should consider every advantage available to them. Teachers were recently listed as a job that’s currently hard to fill, so it might be a very strong career option to consider.
For more information, find your local Indiana CVO and ask about the program.