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February 15, 2019

Grant boosts SVSU efforts to turn military education into college credits for vets

Military StudentSaginaw Valley State University was one of seven institutions state-wide to receive Military Credit Equivalency grants that will bolster credit transfer programs that empower veterans to complete their education.

During their military service, service members receive extensive education and training that can translate directly into academic and professional skills, but these skills have not always transferred easily into college credits. SVSU hopes to support its veteran students and make sure they receive credit for previous education through this grant program, organizers say.

SVSU’s award, granted by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, totals $12,897.

“The funds will primarily be used to bring American Council of Education representatives and two faculty reviewers from other institutions to discuss credit recommendation processes with our faculty and staff,” said Bethany Alford, director of SVSU’s Military Student Affairs office.

SVSU is dedicated to serving its veteran students, and its staff will use the remaining funds to travel to other Michigan colleges and universities to review their processes and best practices, Alford said.

The one-time funding boost was received through a competitive grant process open to Michigan higher education institutions. Grant proposals from six other institutions in Michigan were also accepted, with the funded programs ranging from similar equivalency programs to bridge programs aimed at applying military training to academic degree programs.

According to Alford, military transcripts appear distinctly different from those in higher education and require more training to properly analyze and apply to a student’s academic degree program.

“Providing direct equivalencies for military students shows them that SVSU has taken the time to understand and value the training and education they have received in the military,” Alford said. “The team and I are looking forward to working with faculty in creating equivalencies from military education so SVSU can continue to be a top choice for veterans in Michigan.”

SVSU has been repeatedly recognized for its support of military-affiliated students and their concerns, recently earning a place in the Best for Vets: Colleges 2019 rankings by Military Times as well as a designation as a Military Friendly university by VIQTORY.