A Military Credit Equivalency (MCE) grant of $12,897 was recently awarded to SVSU by the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA).
The grant will be used by SVSU’s Office of Military Student Affairs to bring in representatives of the American Council for Education (ACE) to educate SVSU staff members in properly reviewing and transferring credits from combat transcripts of students who are veterans of the U.S. military.
Bethany Alford, the director of Military Student Affairs, secured the funding from this grant, as she herself served as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy.
She and her team in Military Affairs are always looking for ways to ensure that the transition from the military to the classroom is as smooth as possible for SVSU students, she said.
“This grant is another way that SVSU can demonstrate how much we value the training and education that student veterans bring to our campus,” Alford said.
Alford wrote the initial grant proposal and had it reviewed by her fellow members of the Military Credit Committee in the Registrar’s Office before taking it to the provost for approval.
The proposal was then approved by the MVAA, and SVSU became one of seven institutions in the state to be awarded an MCE grant.
“Some military members receive extensive classroom training and education as part of their job while serving,” Alford said. “Their education is documented on a military transcript, known as a Joint Service Transcript (JST), and looks very different from a traditional transcript.”
Because of the differences between JSTs and traditional institutional transcripts, a great deal of training is required to accurately determine credit equivalencies between the two.
For that reason, the MCE grant will be used to fund a credit mapping workshop on April 5 during which ACE representatives will educate SVSU staff and faculty on how ACE military credit recommendations are made.
The day-long workshop will welcome faculty, department chairs and academic deans from around the university to learn about military education and training.
According to Courtney Fylling, the assistant registrar and a member of the Military Credit Committee, the goal is to eventually establish a JST transfer database to streamline the process of determining which JST credits can be substituted for SVSU credits.
“We still have a long way to go in establishing a solid JST Transfer Equivalency Database,” Fylling said. “But I am hopeful that SVSU can get there, and with this MCE grant, I believe we will.”
Historically, only 16 credits from JSTs were able to be transferred to SVSU. But once the database has been established, veteran students will be able to transfer up to 62 credits from military education and training, aligning with traditional transfer policies.
SVSU has received recognition at the local, state and national levels for exemplary work with student veterans, and the benefits of the grant will allow the university to make obtaining a degree even easier and faster for veterans.
Alford noted that the progress being made would not have been possible without the efforts of many people working to benefit students.
“Without the support, understanding and innovation of our staff and faculty, this initiative would be at a standstill,” Alford said. “So I am very grateful to be working with a progressive group of people who are looking for solutions and not barriers.”
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