More than 500,000 military service members and veterans enroll in college each year, but only about half of them graduate.
When veterans and service members seek higher education, they face unique obstacles on top of those that civilian students deal with. They're more likely to be older than traditional students, work while studying, and have families. They may also have service-related disabilities. Finally, service members and veterans may face interruptions in their enrollment because of military-related obligations.
To better support student veterans, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has made it easier for students to translate their military experience into college credit, with the goal of shortening the time to degree for these students, David McGee reports for the Bristol Herald Courier.
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The issue is particularly acute in Virginia, which is home to roughly 800,000 veterans and the largest population of veterans under the age of 40 in the United States. VCCS served 36,000 military veterans and related students last year, according to according to Van Wilson, VCCS assistant vice chancellor for academic and student services.
Last month, VCCS launched the Credits2Careers (C2C) portal, which helps student veterans connect their military experiences to specific courses they can receive credit for and local jobs they might be interested in.
C2C is already gaining traction among student veterans. The site sees about 800 views daily and has had 20,000 visitors so far, Wilson says.
"I think it might be a game changer for next steps," says Donna Ratliff, coordinator for veterans at Virginia Highlands Community College. She says the portal will make it easier for student veterans to plan ahead and make informed decisions about college (McGee, Bristol Herald Courier, 12/11).
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