Military and Veteran Student Brief: November 2019
UAA is proud of our long-standing support of military personnel and their families throughout the UAA service area. With two locations on Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson (JBER), UAA offers courses for active-duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel, spouses, dependents, and Department of Defense (DOD) civilian personnel. For the eleventh year in a row, UAA is a Military Friendly® School, recognizing UAA as a top tier institution with opportunities for military service members and spouses.
UAA Military and Veteran Student Services
Military and Veteran Student Services (MVSS) is dedicated to providing high quality and comprehensive support to military and veteran students and their families by encouraging, promoting and advising students to be successful. The goal of MVSS is to ease the transition from military into college by providing students with the tools needed to succeed while also fostering a receptive, knowledgeable and understanding community within the university. For more information about MVSS resources and events, see the MVSS homepage or visit the MVSS Resource Center in the Student Union, Room 102.
Seawolf Boot Camp
Seawolf Boot Camp is a faculty and staff training program designed to familiarize the UAA community with the military and veteran student experience so that UAA may better serve those who served. In Seawolf Boot Camp, participants learn information about military and veteran culture, challenges military and veteran students encounter, VA benefits, how to create a military and veteran friendly environment, and available resources.
Participants receive a Seawolf Boot Camp t-shirt, decal, and magnet. The items serve as an incentive to faculty and staff to become better informed on the issues faced by this large student population. The items also signify to students, staff and faculty that the individual displaying them has learned about these student experiences and as a result is better equipped to support and assist military and veteran students.
Veterans Appreciation Week
Veterans Appreciation Week is an annual standing celebration at UAA since its inception in 2011. The week in November includes a variety of events which in past years has included panel discussions on teaching student veterans, panel discussions on student experiences by student veterans, and the National Roll Call event on November 11. The celebration culminates with the Veterans and Military Spouses Job Fair in the University Center, hosted in partnership with the Department of Labor (DOL). Again this year, MVSS partnered with the Office of Admissions to offer free application for admission to veterans, active duty service members, and dependent family members during this week.
Veterans Work HereMVSS provides staff and faculty members who have served with a “Veterans Work Here” sticker to place in their office. This displays what a large portion of the UAA community has worn the uniform and offers student veterans examples of veterans who successfully accomplished their academic goals while transitioning into their civilian careers.
Graduate Honor Cords
UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen is pleased to offer the Military and Veteran Honor Cord to any graduating active duty, guard/reserve or veteran student. These cords signify the appreciation that UAA feels toward our military and veteran community for their service and sacrifice.
UAA works closely with local personnel in Veterans Affairs (VA), the State of Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), the DOL, and education officers from the military. This collaboration allows for UAA to stay on the leading edge of trends that affect military and veteran students.
VetSuccess on Campus
The VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program, sponsored by the VA, was introduced to UAA in 2012. The VSOC program aims to help veterans, service members and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits assistance and counseling, leading to completion of their education and preparing them to enter the labor market in viable careers.
Council of College and Military Educators
The Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) works to provide educational programs and services and to facilitate communication between the membership and the DOD educational support network. UAA representatives annually attend the national CCME conference to exchange ideas and information to better serve the educational pursuits of the UAA military community.
Military and Family Life Consultants
UAA collaborates with and receives services from the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) program. MFLC is a licensed group of professionals who provide situational, problem-solving consultations anonymously and confidentially for students and employees. The group also provides trainings on topics related to the military lifestyle and the stressful situations created by deployments and reintegration.
Student Veterans of UAA
Student Veterans of UAA (SVUAA) is a chartered member of the national organization Student Veterans of America. The SVUAA chapter is highly active and plays an important role in raising awareness about issues facing military and veteran students. SVUAA members have participated in the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ) and Seawolf Boot Camp training sessions to help faculty and staff be better prepared to address the needs of military and veteran students. SVUAA activities this year include participating in the Arc of Anchorage Trunk or Treat event and a Spring BBQ.
Additional Campus Support Programs
New Student Orientation hosts a Veteran Student Orientation session during the summer to facilitate the integration of new students who identify as active duty military, veteran or dependent into the academic, intellectual, and social culture of UAA.
With more than 100 student clubs and Greek organizations, clubs such as Seawolf Cadet Club and SVUAA are excellent opportunities for military and veteran students to actively engage on campus. By participating in student-led organizations, military and veteran students at UAA continue to incorporate the leadership and values of the Armed Forces in their student experience.
Disability Support Services staff are specially trained to support the unique needs of student veterans who experience disabilities including hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder in order to increase opportunities for academic success.
Mental health counselors in the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) are trained to support post-combat veterans in their transition into and through college. The SHCC offers confidential individual counseling appointments as well as physical health appointments and free flu shots for military and veteran students.
The Care Team receives reports about students of concern and develops plans to provide support to students by helping remove barriers to students’ progress and linking them to support services both on and off campus. The Care Team Coordinator and Care Team Case Manager are trained in issues and resources impacting military and veteran students, specifically trauma, traumatic brain injury and suicide/depression—destigmatizing seeking help in these areas.
Career Exploration and Services (CES) supports military and veteran students and alumni through student-centered appointments for resume/curriculum vitae and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, career guidance, and job searching. CES staff recognize the valuable skills that military experience provides and assists with translating those skills for civilian positions. CES offers military and veteran students the opportunity to explore 700+ job openings and 1000+ companies through Seawolves@Work (powered by Handshake) and network with employers through events like career fairs, lunches, and networking nights.
Evaluation of Military Credit
UAA follows the guidelines in the American Council on Education (ACE) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services. This guide identifies military training/courses that are comparable to college training/courses. ACE military training and courses are categorized into four levels: vocational, lower division, upper division and graduate.
UAA accepts 100% of the training/courses within the lower division and upper division levels. In order to ensure that students are not disadvantaged with excessive elective credit, students work with their advisors to request the transfer of specific training/courses. Graduate level training/courses are accepted if listed on a student’s approved graduate studies plan or successfully petitioned to fulfill specific degree requirements. Professional level training/courses are not accepted. Less than one percent of military transcript training/courses that UAA evaluates for transfer are at the vocational level, which UAA does not accept.
Elective credits may be awarded to students who have completed military training/courses in accordance with the ACE Guide. Additionally, credits may be granted for formal service schools and the most recent primary MOS/Rating as recommended in the ACE Guide. For more information, see the UAA Catalog, "Nontraditional Credit Policies: Military Credit."
UAA accepts DSST (formerly DANTES), UExel, and CLEP exams as outlined in the university catalog and evaluates military training for admitted degree-seeking students.
Transfer of Military Credit
UAA follows the policies articulated in the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit, developed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
UAA has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense whereby UAA agrees to recognize, accept and award credit where appropriate from the Joint Services Transcript (JST), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and the Coast Guard Institute. When processing an individual’s documented educational plan, transcripts from these institutes are considered the official sources of military training and experience documentation that correspond with college credit recommendations.
UAA accepts transfer credit from regionally accredited military institutions, including: U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy-West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy. UAA maintains a military credit website to better inform students of opportunities for transferring military credits.
What Does Not Transfer
Many courses that transfer in as elective credit may not apply to specific degree programs. For example, how would the military college course “Missile Loading” fulfill the requirements for a UAA history degree? Each degree represents a specific body of knowledge and/or skill particular to the discipline, and program requirements are developed to maximize a student’s mastery of the required body of knowledge. If a transfer course does not contribute to the body of knowledge needed to complete a specific degree—even if accepted as elective credit by the university—it is not used to meet that degree’s major requirements. These credits are often interpreted as being “not transferred” or “not accepted” or “lost” when they are actually accepted as transfer credit but not applied to a particular major requirement because they are not applicable to the degree. Students have the option to petition these credits if they think they can demonstrate that the credits do, in fact, apply to the body of knowledge of the degree.
The following policies are taken from the UAA Catalog, “Academic Standards and Regulations: Course Performance.”
Class Attendance and Absences
Students who receive short-term military orders or obligations are responsible for making advance arrangements with faculty members to enable them to meet course requirements. Students participating in official intercollegiate activities on behalf of UAA, including, but not limited to, athletic competitions, debate and performing arts, are responsible for making advance arrangements with faculty members to enable them to meet course requirements. Faculty are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for such students. In some cases accommodation may not be possible.
Military Students Called to Active Duty or Deployment
Students who are called to active duty or are involuntarily activated, deployed or relocated during an academic term may be able to make arrangements with their faculty members to complete their courses via e-learning. In those cases where this is not possible or desirable, these students are eligible for the 100 percent refund of tuition and fees and a prorated adjustment on housing and meal plans. Returning military students are not required to reapply for admission and are welcomed back as in-state residents for tuition purposes. Military students who return after their admitted catalog expires should meet with an academic advisor for assistance.
The Office of Financial Aid has several informational videos focused on veterans education benefits through the FATV partnership.
To increase UAA’s ability to more fully benefit aid recipients, including veterans and service members, “Academic Tuition Award/Waiver” funds are no longer restricted to pay only Anchorage campus tuition. The funds have been renamed as “Administration Scholarships” and are now fully payable to student accounts to assist with tuition, course and other student fees, as well as additional expenses related to a student’s Federal Cost of Attendance such as books and supplies, room and board, etc. This allows students receiving tuition benefits from the VA or DOD to receive Administration Scholarships from UAA for either merit or financial need purposes without negatively impacting their service-related tuition benefits.
UAA signed the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which provides overall guidance and policy for provision of education to active duty, guard and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as well as their dependents and allows UAA to participate in the Tuition Assistance (TA) program. Since October 2011, UAA has signed two Voluntary Education Partnership MOUs issued by the DOD.