Monday, March 10, 2014

Senate Bill allows for community college credits to be awarded for military training and education

In 2011, the Oregon Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 275, which requires local community college boards, in consultation with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA), to develop standards for community colleges to award credits for education and training obtained by individuals who served in the Armed Forces.

The bill was sent to then Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, who signed it into law on June 14, 2011.

The legislation also requires learning institutions to inform interested persons the opportunity to receive this credit for their military training and professional military education.

Senate Bill 275 does not guarantee that colleges will award college credit based on military training, but it simply requires community colleges to develop a standard by which they will award credit.

Local Oregon community colleges are familiar with the deployments Oregon has experienced, and are committed to helping the large number of Oregon military members who pursue post-secondary education during their deployments and after their return home, said Krissa Caldwell, Deputy Commissioner for Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development.

“This bill is about helping Oregon’s veterans transfer their military acquired knowledge and skills to civilian life and careers,” she said.

Coupled with the complications of multiple deployments, the way students pursue their education has prompted colleges to adjust their practices of recognizing and awarding credits, she added.

The Joint Services Transcript (JST) is the military transcript that lists the recommended college credits based on military training.  The JST replaced the Coast Guard Institute Transcript, the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and the Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART).

JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) to validate a Service Member's military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations.  The official military transcript can be requested through the JST website at

Due to concerns with college accreditation, colleges want to ensure that students receive the entire course of training within their degree program and that credits are not awarded for training that does not fulfill the all course objectives.  Many colleges will award one to three physical education (PE) credits, but any other courses often require additional documentation to substantiate equivalency between college and military course objectives.

“There is a shared concern to work with veterans to help them jump-start civilian education and training,” Caldwell said. “Oregon’s community colleges stand ready to continue to help veterans pursue post-secondary education as they return from active duty around the world.”

For more information on this bill, or to read the various committee meeting minutes, visit

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