Veterans leave military service with a significant amount of experience, training, and education under their belts. As such, these transitioning service members frequently ask universities about transfer credit options for veterans. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the options one institution – University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) – provides veteran students.
Specifically, we’ll discuss each of the following:
- University of Maryland Global Campus Overview
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 1: Military Experience
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 2: Military Education
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 3: Prior College
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 4: Professional Courses and Certifications
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 5: Vocational and Technical Training
- Veteran Transfer Credit Option 6: Exams
- Final Thoughts
University of Maryland Global Campus Overview
Formerly known as University of Maryland University College, UMGC recently rebranded to better reflect its mission of bringing a high-quality university experience to working adults and servicemembers, regardless of location.
And, the institution has tremendous experience with this mission. Founded over 70 years ago, UMGC has always focused on educating adults, servicemembers, and the veteran community. As such, the university and its faculty and staff intimately understand the educational – and general life – needs of its veteran students. Furthermore, in its pursuit of continuous improvement, UCMG has adapted to today’s technology, and it now exists as a fully online university that provides no-cost digital materials for nearly all of its courses.
For veterans balancing life and school, this online nature provides tremendous flexibility to structure your educational experience around your other scheduling demands. And, college course materials tend to be very expensive, making the no-cost materials another outstanding perk to enrolling with UMGC.
As a further benefit – and the primary focus of this article – UMGC goes to tremendous lengths to provide veterans as much transfer credit as possible, providing six major options we’ll discuss in the following sections.
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 1: Military Experience
As UMGC works closely with veterans, its academic counselors understand military documentation. As such, the university will review veterans’ official military transcripts to identify opportunities for transfer credits based on American Council of Education recommendations.
Additionally, the university offers the following three programs to translate military experience into college credit:
- Prior learning portfolio: You can receive up to 30 credits by documenting college-level learning you gained during your military experience. To do this, veterans enroll in a 3-credit course where they create portfolios outlining their military learning experiences, and UMGC faculty then review these portfolios to confirm where credit should be awarded.
- Course challenge: With this program, you can use what you’ve learned in the military to sit for the final exam of a UMGC course. If you pass, you’ll receive credit for that course.
- Workplace learning: This program acts like a collaborative learning experience between UMCG and the military. If you’re learning a new skill in the military, you can join a learning agreement with a UMGC mentor, submitting regular academic assignments related to your military training and earning up to 15 total credits.
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 2: Military Education
As a veteran, you may also be able to receive transfer credit for formal military education you completed during your service. UMGC partners with several military colleges, and your education at these colleges can translate directly into credits towards your degree.
As military colleges offer an extremely wide variety of courses, not all will qualify for credits. Rather, UMGC makes its credit decisions based upon the recommendations of the American Council on Education’s Guide to the Evaluation of Education Experiences in the Armed Services. If you think there’s even a remote possibility that you could earn credits, make sure to submit your military transcripts to UMGC for review.
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 3: Prior College
Have you taken previous college classes? Maybe during a deployment your unit’s education officer helped you enroll in distance education courses working towards a degree?
Unfortunately, many veterans have taken these courses, but they didn’t do so within a comprehensive degree program. As such, these veterans have a bunch of credits that don’t seem to contribute to any actual degree.
UMGC understands this situation and wants to help. The school allows veterans to transfer up to 70 credits from two-year schools and community colleges, and up to 90 credits from four-year colleges. However, to qualify for these transfer credits, you need to have earned at least a C in the classes, and the coursework must apply directly to your degree plan with UMGC.
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 4: Professional Courses and Certifications
Many job specialties in the military require intensive technical training aligned with civilian standards. As such, you may have completed professional courses and received industry-standard certifications during your time in the service.
If so, UMGC offers paths to translate those professional courses and certifications into college credit. More precisely, UMGC will grant credit if these courses apply to your degree path and have been evaluated by either A) the American Council on Education, or B) the National College Credit Recommendation Service.
For veterans who served in network, information technology, or computer-related military specialties, chances are you’ll qualify for this transfer credit program.
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 5: Vocational and Technical Training
Veterans may also be eligible to receive as many as 21 elective credits for vocational and technical training they completed during the service. To receive these credits, you need the specific training institutions to submit your training record to UMGC for review. Once again, this training will be cross-referenced against American Council on Education standards to determine whether or not UMGC will accept it.
Here are just a few of the types of training that UMGC will consider for degree credits:
- AC/DC circuits
- Aircraft maintenance
- Data entry
- Dental radiography
- Emergency room technician
- Rescue operations
- Vehicle maintenance
Veteran Transfer Credit Option 6: Exams
Exams represent the final transfer credit option available for veterans at UMGC. Whether working towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, veterans can receive degree credits for successfully completing the following types of exams:
- Excelsior College examinations
- Advanced Placement examinations (must be administered by the College Board)
- College-level Examination Program (CLEP)
- Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES) examinations
- American College Testing/Proficiency examinations
For veterans confident in their study skills, these exams represent an outstanding way to A) accelerate your degree path, and B) save GI Bill benefits.
As a final takeaway, we want to emphasize that, while the above information is particular to one school, these options should inform your research into all universities. In other words, UMGC’s tremendous accommodation for veterans should show you what transfer credit options exist for veterans. That way, if a particular university doesn’t advertise one of the above credit options, you can point to UMGC to justify a specific transfer request.
Bottom line, when it comes to transfer credit options for veterans, you don’t lose anything by asking a university for credit! And, every credit you don’t need to take represents another credit you can use with your GI Bill benefits in the pursuit of more educational opportunities.
Maurice “Chipp” Naylon spent nine years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He is currently a licensed CPA specializing in real estate development and accounting.