Soldiers are getting help going from the battlefield to college campuses.
"The new bill is amazing." Says, Marine Corp Veteran Ryan Taylor.
The Florida Board of Education approved a rule that will help active duty military personnel and veterans earn college credit for training received while in the military.
It's a result of House Bill 347 that allows colleges to count military training toward the student's program of study.
Taylor, who went to FSU after serving four years in the Marine Corp, says, "This bill is going to go a long way because when you come to an institution like Florida State, you go to the admissions office and you're just getting started, kind of seeing that big goose egg zero in your credit hours can be a real turnoff. You're sitting there thinking to yourself, I've got to get 120 credits. Just kind of that first little bit of having a number there, whether it's seven or 12. It really gives you kind of, okay, I'm not starting at zero."
Veterans say before the bill, a U.S. service member or veteran could go to FSU, FAMU, or the University of South Florida with the same military background, but, get different credit at each school.
FSU Grad Harley Rockhill also served four years in the Marine Corp. He says, "It gives standardization. Here it was a little bit more difficult to get credit. It was just because there was no policy for any of the colleges that denoted how much credit you were going to get for military service. You get the credit for things you already know and everyone likes doing that."
Veterans say it also gives them a sense of respect.
Tallahassee, Fla., December 12, 2012 – The Florida State Board of Education today approved a rule that will help active duty military personnel and veterans earn college credit for training received while in the military. The rule is a result of House Bill 347 passed during the 2012 legislative session that allows colleges to count military training toward the student’s program of study.
“Awarding college credit to our military personnel and veterans for knowledge they gained while serving our country will put them one step closer to achieving their employment goals,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “It is a simple way of showing our gratitude for the sacrifices they made for our country and we owe it to them to help get them back into the workforce.”
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Gayle Harrell, spoke at Indian River State College last month about the legislation. "Unemployment among veterans is over 30 percent, so this will give them the opportunity to come back, use the skills they have in the military and get credit, get their certificates, and move on with their lives to become employees."
“The Florida College System is proud to provide education, job-training, and re-training to active duty military and veterans, and we recognize their contributions to our country and college campuses.” said Randy Hanna, chancellor of the Florida College System. “Our colleges are already familiar with reviewing military training programs and awarding college credit, so this rule is reinforcing and enhancing current practices.”
"I fully support the State Board of Education's decision to approve the rule allowing colleges to award credit for military training,” said Ailbe Astor, a military veteran and now Coordinator of Veteran Student Affairs for Hillsborough Community College. “Having experienced this process as a student veteran and through my involvement with the student veteran population, I understand what it is like to transition from servicemember to student. Awarding college credit for military service validates the training we receive while in uniform and also helps us work toward the goal of furthering our education once we are out of uniform."
About the Florida Department of Education: The department’s mission is to increase the proficiency of all students within one seamless, efficient education system by providing them the chance to expand their knowledge and skills through world-class learning opportunities. Serving more than 3.5 million students, 4,200 public schools, 28 colleges, 188,000 teachers, 47,000 college professors and administrators, and 318,000 full-time staff throughout the state, the department enhances the economic self-sufficiency of Floridians through programs and services geared toward college, workforce education, job-specific skills, and career development. Florida ranks first in the nation for teacher quality, first in the nation in advanced placement participation, and first in the southern region for graduation rate and degrees awarded by the Florida College System. For more information, visit www.fldoe.org.
About The Florida College System: Florida’s colleges remain the primary point of access to higher education in Florida, with 66 percent of the state’s high school graduates pursuing postsecondary education beginning at a Florida college, and 82 percent of freshman and sophomore minority students in public higher education attending one of Florida’s 28 colleges. To learn more about The Florida College System, visit http://www.fldoe.org/cc/.