By Kellie EtheridgeAugust 20, 2010
Soldiers wishing to pursue a college degree can now receive help a little closer to home.
The Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System, which was originally located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., has moved to Fort Knox.
The program, designed to help Soldiers receive transcripts of their military education, began in 1990.
"The Army wanted to find a way for Soldiers to be able to get college credit for their basic training, their Army courses, and (Military Occupational Specialty)," said AARTS Program Manager Dr. Robert Drake. "In order to do that (the Army) had to have some kind of accreditation, but the Army didn't want to get into the business of being an accredited college...like the Air Force. So the American Council on Education was contracted to provide the accreditation and evaluation of Army courses and MOSs."
Dr. Drake explained that ACE sent out professors to research and evaluate the various Army courses and occupational specialties to compare them to college level equivalents. Then a Soldier's data, whether Army active duty, National Guard, or reserve, is mixed with the course information supplied by ACE, as are any college-level examinations. This information is compiled and results in a transcript a Soldier can send to the college of their choice.
The program manager did warn that not all colleges and universities accept the ACE credit recommendation.
"(AARTS) is a transcription system. The only one that does the evaluation and credit recommendation is ACE, and ACE does not award college credit either-they only recommend it," said Dr. Drake. "It's always up to the college. Some schools give maximum credit and some schools don't give any."
AARTS was originally developed to assist junior-enlisted Soldiers with their undergraduate degrees, which means that the current program can only evaluate two-digit alphanumeric MOSs. A new program is in development to assist commissioned officers and warrant officers who have not completed their undergraduate degrees. The current system can only evaluate their courses not their MOSs, explained Dr. Drake.
However, unlike most Soldier-service offices, AARTS is not a walk-in or by-appointment office. Requests for transcripts are done online. And at last count, there were 4.1 million records in the AARTS system, said Dr. Drake.
The website, http://aarts.army.mil, has all necessary information about the AARTS program and requesting transcripts. Dr. Drake implores that Soldiers do not e-mail, mail, or fax requests to the previous Leavenworth addresses. A transcript request form can be accessed online, printed, signed, and sent in via mail to:
Department of the Army
U.S. Army Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Ave.
Fort Knox, KY 401021
Dr. Drake still has a few bugs to work out with the new system and is heading a new team at Fort Knox, but he feels confident about the move.
"I've got a brand new team here," he said. "They're (still) learning. Fortunately they're extremely good, hard workers."