College of the American Soldier
What is it?
An enduring training and education partnership between the Army and participating colleges and universities focuses on expanding existing Civilian education support for our Soldiers and leaders. This partnership will provide an optimum balance of training and education that accelerates Soldier and leader development and motivates Soldiers to stay in the service while preparing for the future.
What has the Army done?
On Nov. 14, 2007, the Commanding General of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) hosted a kick-off meeting with representatives from ten universities/colleges and representatives from the Service members Opportunity Colleges. This meeting established the foundations for the continuing growth of the training and education partnership.
Effective Nov. 1, 2007, the Army implemented a degree program for career non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Available to all NCOs at any point in their career, it awards maximum credit for Army leadership schools based on completion of the Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) up to the Sergeant Major Course (SMC). This program provides:
- Business- and management-related Service members Opportunity Colleges Army Degrees (SOCAD) through GoArmyEd
Participating colleges and upfront certification for credit to be applied to the career NCO degree based on American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations
- Credit awards ranging from 45 to 67 percent of associate’s degree for Soldiers completing the SMC Resident (62 to 89 percent of ACE- recommended credits) and from 31 to 38 percent of bachelor’s degree for Soldiers completing SMC Resident (82 to 100 percent of ACE- recommended credits)
- Process for colleges to evaluate an individual Soldier’s Army American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) transcript for additional credits that may apply to the degree from military occupational specialty (MOS) experience, testing, professional certification, and prior learning
- Degree selection by TRADOC and Army Continuing Education System (ACES) for inclusion based on degree type, SOCAD membership, maximized credit awards, limited academic residency with home college, and tuition cost
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will continue to expand existing Civilian higher education degree choices to provide career NCOs with broad degree options that are not tied to enrollment in an MOS degree and that:
- Enhance an NCO’s leadership and war-fighting capabilities, thus increasing the multifunctional Soldier characteristics
- Are accepted and supported by the ACE and the ACES
- Provide flexibility in degree completion time
- Maximize credit transfer between colleges
- Maximize college credit for military training and education
- Minimize academic residency requirements
- Include distance learning courses
Why is this important to the Army?
This program facilitates the ease with which Soldiers can complete college degrees, which, in turn, has multiple benefits for the Army. Encouraging the pursuit of higher education not only contributes to the development of adaptive and innovative Soldiers and leaders, but also provides a recruitment and retention incentive. Tying military training and education with specific degree requirements allows a Soldier to quickly see what military development courses will transfer as equivalent college credit at any point in his or her career from basic training through the SMC. This streamlines degree completion by listing precisely what the college will grant for each credit source and clarifies the other guaranteed ways to meet degree requirements. The end state of the College of the American Soldier will clearly show the Soldier a specific roadmap to a college degree.