March1 RS

 

SPRINGFIELD— One of the biggest challenges returning servicemen and women face are figuring out how military training credits transfer to college credit.  

To tackle this hurdle, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) passed Senate Bill 736 to direct Illinois higher education institutions to establish a policy for awarding academic course credit for military training.

“Our nation’s heroes have on-the-job training,” Hastings said. “It’s my honor to work with higher education facilities and the state legislature to ensure returning veterans receive credit for the valuable skills they acquire during their time in the military.”

After talking to many returning veterans, Hastings found the current system is imprecise. This creates a complicated and inaccurate process to translate military experience into college credits at Illinois’ universities and community colleges.

There are a number of reasons for the confusion, the main reason being the descriptions for military training and college courses do not always match up perfectly. Also, military acronyms on transcripts may also mean different classes or curriculum based on each branch of service.  

Often it becomes a matter of the higher education institutions willingness to research ways to find equivalent civilian academic courses. A standardized system will end confusion and create an easier transition for our military personnel.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, over 773,000 veterans are now using their GI Bill benefits to go to college, spending a collective of $11 billion a year.

“Repeating coursework promotes a slow and unnecessarily expensive educational process for veterans,” Hastings said. “Here in Illinois, we have workforce shortages for registered nurses, EMTs and other medical specialties. Who is better equipped than our returning servicemen and women to fill these job openings?”

Hastings’ initiative will require community colleges and universities to submit their policies for awarding credit to the Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board for review before June 30, 2019, and before June 30 every other year afterwards.  

“This entire process can be complex and discouraging,” Hastings said. “It’s our duty to create an easy transition for Illinois’ veterans into civilian life, not force them through overcomplicated bureaucracy.”  

Hastings passed Senate Bill 736 with bipartisan support, and it now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
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Matteson, IL 60443

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Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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