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College of the American Soldier (CAS)

What is it?
A partnership between the Army and participating colleges and universities to expand the educational opportunities for noncommissioned officers (NCOs).

What has the Army done?
Tying the Noncommissioned Officer Corps Education System (NCOES) course accreditation with specific degree requirements allows a Soldier to quickly see what NCOES courses will transfer as equivalent college credit. This streamlines degree completion by listing precisely what the college will grant for each credit source and provides a list of other guaranteed ways to meet degree requirements. The end state of CAS will provide the Soldier with a map towards a degree.

The NCO degree program is available to all NCOs at any point in their career. The maximum credit for Army leadership schools is based on completion of NCOES up to the Sergeants Major Course:

  • Business and management-related credits in Service-Members Opportunity Colleges Army Degrees (SOCAD) in GoArmyEd.
  • Participating colleges certify up-front the amount of credit to be applied to the career NCO degree based on American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations.
  • Credit awards range from 45-67 percent of associate degree credit for Soldiers completing the Sergeants Major Course (resident); 62-89 percent of ACE recommended credits; between 31-38 percent of bachelor’s degree credit for Soldiers completing the Sergeants Major Course (resident), and 82-100 percent of ACE recommended credits.
  • Colleges evaluate a Soldier’s Army American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) transcript for additional credits earned through military occupational specialty (MOS) experience, testing, professional certification, and prior learning.
  • Degree selection by the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Army Continuing Education System (ACES) for inclusion was based on the following factors: degree type, SOCAD membership, maximized credit awards, limited academic residency with home college, and tuition cost.

What continuing 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 not tied to enrollment in a MOS specialty degree and that:

  • Enhance NCOs leadership and war fighting capabilities and grows the multi-functional Soldier characteristics.
  • Is accepted and supported by ACE and ACES.
  • Provides flexibility in degree completion time.
  • Maximizes credit transfer between colleges.
  • Maximizes college credit for military training and education.
  • Minimizes academic residency requirements.
  • Includes distance learning courses.

The Army is also working with ACES and partner colleges and universities to create an advanced degree program for career NCOs.

Why is this important to the Army?
This initiative will redefine learning as a dynamic construct that incorporates both training and education. This initiative will also rebalance training and education to infuse increased adaptive capacity. It will ensure divergent thinking, finding reasoned and viable solutions to difficult and unanticipated situations, or dealing with complex problems in unfamiliar contexts.

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