Manager of the Veteran Center
The Utah State Legislature worked closely with representatives from many Utah state schools and the Utah State Board of Regents as it discussed HB 254. HB 254 requires credit for military service to be evaluated for college credit, and it also requires colleges to accept military credit granted by one institution to be accepted by other Utah state schools. Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) has no concern with this law and is already compliant with it.
During the discussion and review process before HB 254 was signed into law, SLCC and other Utah colleges were actively involved in reading and making suggestions for the bill. Utah legislators listened to the concerns and suggestions and made changes to the law before it was passed. This was not the first time the Utah State Legislature has taken the time to ask for and listen to feedback on legislation relating to veterans and education.
As the manager of Veterans Services at SLCC, I have had the opportunity on many occasions to review multiple pieces of legislation relating to veterans educational issues, including HB 254, before the legislation was passed. I applaud our Utah legislators for listening to concerns and suggestions made by many from our state before passing laws that impact all. My counterparts from other states wish they had the same opportunity with their legislators. I am proud to be from Utah where we do have a voice.
Having military records evaluated is not a new requirement. All military members are required by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit all transcripts and training records including military records to each school they attend and request them to be evaluated by their second semester or VA educational funding is suspended until the process is complete. Each school has determined the credits it chooses to accept for military experience. Some schools only transfer credits for physical education. HB 254 mandates that the schools not only review the records for additional credit upon request by the military member but also mandates that schools accept credits granted by another Utah institution once it has been accepted.
The SLCC Incoming Transcript Office has been evaluating credits for all military transcripts as the credits relate to a student’s program of study according to the American Council on Education (ACE) standards for many years. Thousands of transcripts are evaluated for our military members each year transferring in thousands of hours of credits towards graduation for our military members. If there is ever a question about credits transferred, students can check with the Incoming Transcript Office for review.
As part of the evaluation process, it is important for transcripts to be evaluated only for the degree the student is seeking. If everything is evaluated and brought in, the veteran could have too many credit hours to be eligible for financial aid. This is why it is important for all to understand the impact of transferring credits in. The Legislature addressed that in the law.
It is expected that the Utah State Board of Regents will formally designate ACE as the formal standard for all schools to follow. We are confident in the principles and philosophy put forth in HB 254 and look forward to working with other Utah schools to assist our military members and veterans as they return to our schools.