How Lumina Wants to Translate Military Service Into College Credit

Military personnel undergo extensive training, leading to mastery of a range of skills. Translating that training into credit that institutions of higher education will accept when these men and women transition into civilian life, however, is often a challenge. 

Service members and war veterans who wish to pursue a college education after leaving the armed services may receive assistance, such as the GI Bill benefits, but they also face a range of challenges. These can include war-related injuries, understanding academic expectations at many colleges, and relating to peers who are unfamiliar with the military.

As readers of this site will know, Lumina Foundation is all about finding ways to increase the proportion of Americans with postsecondary academic credentials. the Indianapolis-based funder now wants to see how the skills and competencies acquired in the military can translate into college credit that will speed former service members toward college degrees and successful civilian careers.

To that end, Lumina recently awarded $900,000 to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) for the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit (MCMC). MCMC is a 13-state initiative aimed at identifying policies and practices that will best help military members and their families overcome barriers to enrolling in and completing college.

What began as a grassroots effort to recognize the competencies gained through military service has now become an effort involving MHEC's 12 states plus Kentucky, thanks to the Lumina Foundation. MHEC's work to recognize the skills acquired through serving one's country provides another example of how Lumina will leave no stone unturned in its quest to increase the percentage of Americans with college credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.