By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampApril 16, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (April 15, 2010) - The Army American Council on Education Registry Transcript System, or AARTS, is moving from Fort Leavenworth, but Soldiers will have access to transcripts throughout the process, said Robert Drake, AARTS program manager.
AARTS is moving to the Human Resource Center of Excellence under the Education Division at Fort Knox, Ky. The move is scheduled to be completed by September 2010, according to a Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission decision.
AARTS is a transcript service that allows colleges to grant credit to Soldiers for training and education they've received while in the Army. Drake said the American Council on Education contracts eight professors who visit military occupational specialty schools to ensure the courses meet college-level requirements. AARTS also uses the Army Training Requirements and Resources System, or ATRRS, which shows actual training completed.
Drake said, for example, if a military police Soldier wanted to earn a criminal justice degree, he or she could get college credit for MP training.
"It saves the Army the cost of tuition support and keeps the Soldier from having to take the same course twice," Drake said.
The move will eliminate six jobs at Fort Leavenworth. Drake said employees are either retiring or getting other jobs. Half of those employees have already left.
"We did have an 800-number, but because of staffing they've had to eliminate it because we simply cannot handle it," Drake said.
The office on post handles about 2,000 requests for transcripts each week. The office has been overwhelmed by phone calls and faxes. Drake said his office typically receive about 300 faxes a day, sometimes including training certificates that are unnecessary because the ATRRS already provides that to AARTS.
He said the best way for Soldiers to obtain their AARTS is to go on the Web site http://aarts.army.mil and enter their first and last name, the last four digits of their Social Security number, date of birth and Basic Active Service Date.
Requests can also be e-mailed to leav-aarts@ conus.army.mil. Drake said e-mail requests are filled the same day they are received.
Transcripts can be either sent electronically, which is instantaneous, or sent through the mail. Mailed transcripts take about three working days to arrive. Drake also said the Army spends about $3,200 a month on mailing these transcripts at no cost to Soldiers. The goal, he said, is to encourage more electronic transcripts.
Once the office is set up fully at Fort Knox, Soldiers will be able to use a call center to receive their AARTS transcripts.
Teresa Riggins, education counselor with the Army Education Center on post, said AARTS can be advantageous for Soldiers when they attend college. Most Soldiers, for example, can get a physical education credit for boot camp.
"It's up to each individual college to what they'll accept," she said.
College credit for courses is also dependent upon the level of education or training a Soldier received and the academic degree a Soldier is seeking, Riggins said.