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New Virginia Bills Help Military Students

February 3, 2012

Virginia students may be able to receive college credits easier this year. They will also be able to take advantage of priority registration status for classes due to two bills that are headed to a general assembly vote soon. The two bills known as Virginia House Bills 548 and 195, will require that colleges and universities institute policies that provide more administrative benefits for active-duty military students, such as priority for enrolling in classes. HB 195 will require those schools also create policies that support granting college credits for military service.

The House Education Committee this week unanimously voted in support of two bills to support these new education goals. The end result would benefit thousands of military service members in Virginia who are seeking degrees from local colleges, like Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University and other public schools. The goal for the bills is to “recognize the scheduling difficulties and obligations encountered” by military service members, according to the bill.

Currently, military service can lead to certain college credits but those would be expanded in Virginia. So that a sailor in the Navy may be able to translate his training in naval technology to a class credit towards an IT degree. This would greatly benefit multiple military service members and also help others get a better education without placing unnecessary restraints.

Some do say that the bills give too much leniency towards military students, but there are thousands of military families in Virginia who will benefit from both bills. The early registration is especially important because scheduling is often the most difficult part of getting into the right classes. Priority registration would allow students to get the right times that they need, specifically for an online class as many active duty service members can’t physically go to campus.

Other students suggest that these systems are already in place and that these two bills just make it more of a requirement on the schools to sufficiently provide for military students across the state. Military vets will be able to take their training and transition easily from the service into a job based on the ability to get more college credits. Therefore, most of their education costs will be lower as well. In combination with their G.I. Bill, they can end up paying for an entire education and going to school in a shorter amount of time.

Public colleges and universities have yet to respond to the recent developments, but a statement will probably follow the final voting later on this quarter. Schools recognize the importance of getting military vets into an education program, and they often give priority to military service members who are still on active duty simply because it allows these students to get into the right classes. The credits will also be more readily available to active duty veterans than before with the new bills, which will make it even easier for service members to get a degree.

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