Louisiana makes it easier for active duty service members to transfer to college
After a patriotic love of country, securing a means to attend college remains one of the top reasons many individuals join the armed forces.
In a sign of support for their service, Louisiana community and technical colleges recently launched an initiative providing greater support for active duty service members who want to transfer their military training and work into college credits, the Daily Comet reported.
The initiative consists of three separate agreements:
- The National Guard Troops to College agreement that streamlines the transfer of credits earned through military training to a community or technical college in the state.
- Offer members of the Army Reserves and their family with priority registration status during admission to state community and technical colleges.
- The Louisiana National Guard's Youth Challenge Program will partner with the state's colleges to offer a 22-week course to help students earn a high-school equivalency diploma while also overcoming discipline or other problem areas. This promotes higher education and helps cadets enter the workforce.
Speaking with the Daily Comet, Nicol Blanchard, interim executive director of institutional advancement at Fletcher Technical Community College in Schriever, lauded the initiative and had high hopes for local Army Reserve and National Guard members taking advantage of the new opportunities.
"They wouldn't have to start at the beginning," Blanchard said. "They've already paid their time and service and expertise. This will allow them to get a little head start on their education."
Strong success rates
Offering smoother access to state community and technical colleges should provide additional incentive for active military members who to earn a better education. So far, the investment and commitment the country has made in assisting veterans' transfer into academia has been a tremendous success.
The completion rate for veterans who sought a higher education between 2002 and 2013 sat at 51.7 percent, according to a USAToday report of a study conducted by the Student Veterans of America, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Student Clearinghouse. While the overall completion rate is slightly below the 59 percent of their civilian peers, veterans also enter college later in life and have other factors to consider, such as children, full-time jobs and other potential distractions.
The hope is that these programs will provide the motivational spark that encourages active duty service members to pursue higher education . According to the report, the most sought-after degrees for veterans include:
- Social sciences
- Homeland security
- Law enforcement
- Computer and information sciences
With programs like the one in Louisiana offering assistance and a more seamless transition from the barracks to the campus, servicemen and women have greater opportunities for life after discharge.