Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5207

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING COLLEGE CREDIT FOR MILITARY TRAINING.

Vote Date:

3/13/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/27/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To give college credit for military occupational specialty training.

SUBSITUTE LANGUAGE: The following wording was added: “consider such veteran's existing college-level knowledge acquired through military or life experience in accordance with the prior learning portfolio assessment performed by Charter Oak State College when assigning college credit to a military occupation.”

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Gail Coppage, Director of Innovation and Outreach, Board of Regents

Ms. Coppage submitted written testimony in support of this bill. The Board of Regents has an agreement with the American Council on Education (ACE) that allows them to review existing military expertise and training for appropriate academic credit with all 17 of their institutions.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Dawn McDaniel, Executive Vice President, Connecticut Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Ms. McDaniel submitted written testimony and testified in support of this legislation. She believes that this bill is a good start for supporting the state's veterans but that it does not go far enough and points out that a number of higher education institutions already take action on their own to translate military training and education to college credits. She asks the committee to change the “may” to “shall.”

In follow up testimony dated February 27, 2014 she stressed that the bill should require that military experience and education be counted toward college credits. Citing a September 27, 2013 article posted on USAToday.com she says 26 states have passed laws that support counting military training for college credits. But that it offers only a recommendation and leaves the ultimate decision to award credits to each educational institution. Strong language should require higher education institutions to give veterans credit for their military training. Additionally, she advises that the American Council on Education (ACE) is one standard for evaluating education but that there are others including the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the portfolio method, like those offered by Charter Oak State College

Judith Greiman, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

Ms. Greiman submitted written testimony is support of the intent of the bill. She brought up that the bill states that institutions “may award college credit for military occupational specialty training to a veteran” and that “Any institution of higher education that awards college credit for such training shall use course equivalency recommendations adopted by the American Council on Education” Ms. Greiman these are both limiting to veterans and that when the wording is changed this bill will better serve our veterans.

Margaret Middleton, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center

Ms. Middleton submitted written testimony in favor of this bill and suggested that it would be of greater benefit if it required, rather than permitted state educational institutions to provide military credits where appropriate. She felt that when credits are provided ad hoc across higher education institutions veterans and educators are left uncertain about how military experience counts toward a degree. A veteran might seek an education out of state in places like New York and Maryland who have already acted to provide uniform credit for veterans' in-service education. Her suggestion was to amend the bill to a “shall” rather than a “may”.

Lisa Phillips, United States Army Veteran

Ms. Phillips, who grew up in East Hartford, submitted written testimony in support of the bill. She indicated that had she been awarded college credit for her military training as a veterinary technician, she would not have had to stay in Texas when she was medically discharged to ensure employment in that field. Ms. Phillips asked for the word “may” to be changed to “shall.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted.

Reported by: Richard Ferrari, Assistant Clerk

Date: March 19, 2014