Today the Senate Committee on Higher Education approved Senate Bill 5969 which moves veterans and military members closer to receiving college credit for the training they receive while in the service. The bill’s sponsor, west Pierce County Sen. Steve O’Ban, says he’s pleased the measure is moving so swiftly through the legislative process.
“The quick action on this bill demonstrates how much we value the great sacrifice made by our brave men and women who serve us in our armed forces,” O’Ban said. “There are few causes greater than giving thanks to those who offer their lives to defend our freedom. My bill will help put our state’s soldiers on a better path once they leave the service by granting them academic credit for their military experiences.”
SB 5969 would require Washington’s colleges and universities to have policies in place by 2016 on awarding academic credit to individuals for certain military training. Among other requirements, the individual must be enrolled in college and must have successfully completed any military training course or program as part of the individual’s military service that:
- Is recommended for credit by a national higher education association that provides credit recommendations for military training courses and programs;
- Is included in the individual’s military transcript issued by any branch of the armed services; or
- Is documented military training or experience that is substantially equivalent to any course or program offered by the institution of higher education.
In addition, each institution of higher education must provide a copy of its newly-created policy to any enrolled students who listed prior or present military service in their admission applications. O’Ban, whose 28th District contains Joint Base Lewis-McChord where his two sons are stationed, says he’s looking forward to a resounding and unanimous approval of his bill by the full Senate soon.
“Our gratitude, not only to active, guard and reservist military, but to all our state’s brave veterans can best be expressed by the way we treat them after completion of their duties,” O’Ban continued. “When their terms of service are up and the time comes to transition back into civilian life, they may want to seek a degree from one of our great institutions of higher education. It’s our responsibility, then, to make that transition as easy as possible and my bill to grant college credit for military training is an absolute step in the right direction.”