Feb. 2015 SOC updates

DNS and GoArmyEd LOI Institutions

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) has a long history of supporting military students and Veterans and continues this support though a variety of programs and services within the Department of Defense (DoD) contract relationship. Although the SOC Consortium program was dissolved in December, SOC’s work efforts continue with other programs and services for the DoD.

One such program is the Degree Network System (DNS). Planned changes include reshaping and expanding the degree programs and course articulations that can help accelerate degree completion for Service members and their family members. Details about the program changes are still under development and will be communicated broadly when final decisions and directions are approved.

The new contract consolidates the DNS by removing Service distinctions (SOCAD, SOCNAV, SOCMAR, and SOCCOAST). Service members now have full access to all associate and bachelor’s DNS programs irrespective of the member’s branch of Service, based on the institution’s current membership type and degree level participation. DNS-2 and DNS-4, colleges that provide associate and bachelor’s degrees, respectively, will continue to operate independently of each other.

Current DNS Institutions should continue to meet membership obligations until officially notified of changes, and continue to send Student Agreements to SOC. SOC strongly suggests that no changes be made to publications, procedures or technology until further information is available.

As a reminder, SOC automatically receives Student Agreements for fully-developed degree plans from GoArmyEd Letter of Instruction (LOI) Institutions. GoArmyEd LOI Institutions should send Student Agreements for Drop Down and “Other” degree plans directly to SOC. Similarly, all non-LOI Institutions must send Student Agreements for all new Soldiers.

For more information about the Degree Network System, contact SOC personnel at:

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil.

Las Vegas partners fill teacher vacancies

Clark County School District partners with UNLV and TTT to fill teacher vacancies

By Dr. Meghan Stidd, Mountain Pacific Region Associate Region Director

Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nev., has a critical need for teachers to serve students in a variety of subject areas at all grade levels. CCSD anticipates more than 2,000 teacher vacancies in the 2015-16 school year. To help fill these vacancies, CCSD has partnered with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and Troops to Teachers (TTT) to offer TTT participants a unique fast-track teacher certification program.

UNLV is offering a five week institute allowing TTT participants to become licensed K-12 teachers in time for the new school year in August. To qualify for participation in the institute, candidates must meet specific GPA requirements and have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education. If accepted, candidates complete three courses at UNLV and enter a professional development program. Candidates then have three years to complete any remaining coursework and teacher certification exams while working as full time teachers with CCSD. The institute is open to candidates wanting to teach elementary, math, science, English, or special education.

The deadline for entry into the summer program is March 14, 2015. Candidates unable to meet the March 14 deadline can apply for the fall institute with an application deadline of June 1, 2015.

  • Individuals interested in pursuing the UNLV program in elementary, math, science, or English, contact Jovita Bayuga at 702-895-1540 or tlgrad@unlv.nevada.edu.
  • Individuals interested in pursuing the UNLV special education program, contact Joseph Morgan at 709-895-3329 or joseph.morgan@unlv.edu.
  • For additional information regarding the benefits available through the TTT program, contact Sherman Fuller, Lead Recruiter, Mountain Pacific TTT at 800-438-6851 orsfuller@troopstoteachers.net.

CCSD students are in need of qualified teachers who possess the leadership, teamwork skills, technical expertise, and dedication to duty that military veterans have to offer. CCSD and UNLV recognize the unique skillsets of military veterans and are honored to partner with TTT to offer this exciting opportunity to military veterans wanting to transition to a teaching career.

 Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil.

DSST 2015 program enhancements

The nationally recognized DSST® credit-by-exam program is very effective, but Prometric’s goal is to make it even better. That’s why they are investing in greater resources to revitalize existing exam content and develop new exams that will be “courses for success” for military members seeking college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom.

This year, Prometric will be busy creating content for new exams that reflect the latest academic studies and fields of knowledge covering the humanities, science, social sciences, global/world cultures, business, mathematics and technology.

In 2014, Prometric created new course content and added the exam “Fundamentals of Cybersecurity” to the DSST family of exams. This exam has been fully evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and recommended for three upper-division level college credits. The exam covers subject areas including Systems Security, Application Security, Network Security, Governance and much more.

The DSST program allows Test Control Officers (TCOs) to help ensure that deserving Service members have the opportunity to use their knowledge to earn credit towards college degrees.

For more information, click on the Military tab at www.getcollegecredit.com/test_takers.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil.

The SEA’s Desk – February 2015

Recently, many of our Service members have been told that it is time to “go home.” Service draw-downs, Enlisted Review Boards, and Officer Continuation Boards have unfortunately become force shaping tools generating pink slips for thousands of Service members. This, coupled with our nation’s financial difficulties and unemployment, has many Service members rightly concerned about their futures. All of us possibly know someone we have served with who is experiencing this uncomfortable feeling.

The reality is our Armed Services are reducing personnel in response to congressional mandated budget cuts and targeted reduction of military spending. What can you do to help those Service members you lead? What can you do to help yourself? Hopefully, you are investing your off-duty time in education and credentialing. Doing so enables you to speak from experience and helps set you as an example for others to follow. A college education or credential can help your immediate career and promotion opportunities, and place you in a better position for future civilian vocations.

Don’t know where to start? Take these steps to reach your educational goal:

  • Schedule a visit with an Education Services Officer (ESO) either personally or virtually. Also, do someone a favor; take a buddy or the person you’re mentoring with you.
  • If you are unsure what interests you or what you’re best suited for, make an appointment with an ESO to take an assessment/interest inventory test like Kuder® Journey.
  • If your vocation of interest requires a college degree or credential, seek advice to determine which school programs may best suit you.
  • Request a Joint Services Transcript (JST)reflecting American Council on Education (ACE) recommended military college credit for Service schools and training that could save you time and money.
  • Visit DANTES website (www.dantes.doded.mil) to identify exams you can take (DSST/CLEP) to reduce required credits for school. These tests are provided free to Service members the first time they are taken and can significantly reduce the amount of college credit needed to achieve an education goal.
  • For a refresher on your college math and English, check out the Online Academic Skills Course (OASC) and the College Placement Skills Training (CPST). Both are self-paced and customized to you. These courses are at no cost to Service members and their family members 24/7 atwww.nelnetsolutions.com/dantes/.
  •  Register for Tuition Assistance. Keep in mind that you must have an approved college plan and that you should choose a school that maximizes DSST/CLEPs and recommended ACE military credits to achieve your degree.

Remember: it’s never too early to start on the path to education success. Get started now!

In closing, this column affords a unique opportunity to reach out to my fellow Service members concerning Voluntary Education and DANTES programs. If there is an opportunity to visit or speak to NCOs, SNCOs, or at events at your military installation–please let me know, I would appreciate an invite. If you have a success story with military Voluntary Education that you would like to share, send it to me and maybe you’ll see it published in this forum. Until next time, contact me at ea@navy.mil. I would enjoy hearing from you.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Confused about NTCs?

There has been much confusion about base-sponsored and fully-funded National Test Centers (NTCs). DANTES is moving toward fully-funded test sites and will no longer use the term “base-sponsored.” Any NTC that administers CLEP and DSST exams to Service members, whether located on-base or off-base, and agrees to accept the negotiated administrative fee, will be considered a fully-funded test site. To become a fully-funded test site, the institution must agree to accept the negotiated administrative fee and must agree to partner with the testing agencies to provide NTC services.

In addition, all Test Control Officers (TCOs) MUST complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) when an NTC is established on-base. TCOs and Education Service Officers (ESOs) have control over the services delivered at their test center and will continue to ensure that quality exam services are made available to the Service member. The MOU ensures that institutions that administer DANTES-sponsored exams provide the level of service the TCOs and ESOs require to serve their populations. DANTES has a sample MOU available for TCO/ESO use upon request. Once the MOU is completed and signed by the Base Commander and the school representative, it must be forward to DANTES. If a TCO wishes to establish an NTC on-base, they must notify DANTES and DANTES will notify the testing agencies. The testing agencies will then ensure that all applications and agreements are processed with the institution. Although DANTES does not manage the NTCs, DANTES must remain in the loop concerning all DANTES-sponsored testing operations.

With this change, two types of test sites remain:

  1. On-campus (a college/institution that DOES NOT accept the negotiated administrative fee)
  2. Fully-funded (an NTC at a college/institution or on a military base in which DANTES pays the administration fee and exam fee).

The NTC Administrator at an NTC located on a military base cannot administer any of the remaining DANTES-sponsored paper-based exams (ACT, SAT, GRE General). These must be administered by the DANTES Test Administrator or TCO/ATCO.

Testing agencies will update their websites to reflect this change and DANTES will update the DANTES Examinations Program Handbook (DEPH) and the online TCO Training course.

For questions concerning this information, contact the DANTES Exams Program Manager (N32) atexams@navy.mil.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil.

JST enters the “terrific twos”

It’s been two years since the Joint Services Transcript (JST) was introduced and a lot has happened since then. The numbers are proof positive that Service members are taking advantage of the easy, online request process – 710,285 transcripts have been ordered to date since JST began in FY13. That is a 26 percent increase over the previous four FYs combined!


Also, the JST Operations staff continues to make improvements, some of which include:

  • validate course completions on American Council on Education (ACE) exhibit start date versus the end date, when provided by the Services
  • include CLEP re-takes for the same exam for all dates taken
  • update the transcript history tab in the JST portal to show Service members if academic institutions have viewed electronically delivered transcripts
  • move the Certifications/Licensing/Apprenticeship data from the academic institution page to a separate page and standardize the certification listings

Future improvements include:

  • establish report framework for Services to receive online information concerning JST usage
  • add ability for colleges to manage their own users
  • sort transcript request history from newest to oldest
  • add ACE version number to ACE exhibits on JST
  • add Coast Guard locations (OPFACS) to course completions

If you aren’t familiar with the JST, it is an academically accepted document approved by ACE to validate a Service member’s military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations. It includes personal student data, courses, and occupations evaluated by ACE, with descriptions, learning outcomes and equivalent college credit recommendations, and national college-level exam results. Previously, the Services had independent systems that were not standardized in a way that made it easy for colleges and higher learning institutions to award the maximum ACE recommended credits. Maximizing this credit source can provide Service members with advanced standing in their degree programs at participating colleges. Additional information can be found in ACE’s JST Brochure (www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Joint-Services-Transcript-Brochure.aspx).

NOTE: The Air Force continues to make its records available through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and the Air Force Virtual Education Center.

The JST is available at https://jst.doded.mil for personal use, or individuals may request, at no charge, that an official copy be sent to accredited colleges and universities.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Brian Riordan: Model Marine becomes model teacher with TTT’s help

Autobiography from former South Carolina Troops to Teachers representative counselor

TTT_webBrian Riordan is a current Marine Corps Reservist as well as fourth grade teacher at Wellford Academy of Science and Technology, located in Wellford, S.C., Spartanburg District 5.

“I had always wanted to be a teacher, but my road to the classroom was long and winding. Despite completing a teacher preparation program and earning a Master’s of Science in Education at St. Bonaventure University, I joined the USMC and became an infantry officer in 1997. During almost ten years of active duty service, complete with several overseas deployments, I learned valuable lessons in leadership that would eventually transfer into my classroom. When I left active duty in 2006, and entered the business world, I quickly realized that I missed the sense of purpose that accompanied my military service.”

“It was then that I was drawn back to the military through the USMC Reserves, and returned to teaching through the Troops to Teachers program. With the support of the Troops to Teachers staff, I was able to update my teaching credentials and obtain a South Carolina state certification. I have been teaching for six years and truly enjoy every day. Teaching, like serving in the military, is all about people. My job is to make education fun and worthwhile for nine- and ten-year-olds. It is my mission to help my students understand that they can make choices in their lives, and the better their education, the better the choices they get to make. For me, serving America’s youth is more than a job, it’s a passion.”

Brian Riordan joined the Southeast Region Troops to Teachers staff while simultaneously teaching and working in the Reserves. He served as a local contact for Troops interested in Troops to Teachers in South Carolina, where he provided a valuable outreach to currently serving military, separated, or retired military service members.

Riordan has recently been deployed and everyone at Troops to Teachers wishes him a safe and speedy return. Thank you for your Service in and out of the classroom.

TTT logo_webFor general information on the TTT program:


Happy Father’s Day!

A wise man at DANTES pointed out to me that this Sunday is Father's Day and, to be fair and unbiased, I'd better get busy on a blog about it! I'm abashed to admit that I hadn't really looked at the calendar, and was caught by surprise. Doubly so, as my Dad's birthday is the 12th.. **sigh** I've already fallen back into my “so sorry but your card will be late” modus operandi.

Fathers are often the unsung heroes of family life. If you were to judge American life by the sitcoms on TV, Dads go off to work to support their families, get verbally abused by their spouses and children, are clueless about modern life, and otherwise are never expected to take part in the day-to-day functions of home life. That is as far from the truth as you can get.

As I mentioned in my blog on Mother's Day, my Dad retired from a career in the Air Force. We moved often, and there were times he was absent from our lives, due to isolated tours and business trips. I was at a young age, and I must admit the best part of his traveling was finding out what he brought back for me and my brother. But, I also have memories of the family sitting down at the dinner table, sharing the day's events and dramas. No matter what happened, I knew he always had my back.

I never knew how much that was the case until much later. Skip forward a few years (we'll bypass the tempestuous “teen” years, thank you very much) and I've graduated from high school and am attending University. My life is unfocused and I'm getting tired of working full time and going to school full time, with no time for me. My Dad had always suggested going into the military, but up until now, that was not what I wanted to do. Suddenly, it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Maybe because he didn't push the issue, until it was my own idea. Maybe he's a wise man, after all.

After talking with several recruiters, I decided to join the Navy. People asked my Dad if that bothered him, being career Air Force and all. He would just reply, “No. I'm just glad she's signing up with ANY Service. She's going to get an education and a job, and that's fine with me.” Go, Dad! I chose the Communication field, and went into the Delayed Entry Program, as there wasn't an available school seat for almost a year. So, jump ahead a year: I've quit my job, had my farewell “Anchor's Aweigh” party, and I'm all set to fly off the next day to boot camp in sunny Florida. I go downtown to the Navy recruiter office for final processing and get a load of bricks dumped on me: They very calmly tell me that my medical screening is over a year old and I don't have time to get a new one. I was less than calm - I was devastated! I lost my school seat, my rating, everything. No way was I going to go undesignated to a ship and chip paint. So I told them to stuff it, or words to that effect. This is where my Dad took control, Bless him. He got on the phone to our local Congressman, explained the situation, and asked him what he was going to do about it. Wish I could have heard that conversation! Next thing I know, I get a phone call from the Navy recruiter telling me to come in to pick my rating and they will make it happen. Awesome, Dad! My “knight-in-shining-armour.”

So, why am I sharing another of my family memories? To get you to think of what your Dad (or Dad-like figure) has done for you in getting you where you are today. Without my Dad's intervention, I wouldn't have a wonderful husband and two great sons, had a Naval career that brought me great satisfaction, traveled the world, and, not least, finally gotten that degree I started way back in the beginning of all this. Fathers can be a positive influence in their kid's lives every day by providing instruction, guidance, support, and advice (not always asked for or heeded!). Or, by making that all-important life-changing phone call, if need be. So, to all the Dads out there that may not get the recognition, respect or honor that they deserve: “I salute you!” Now, get out there and fire up the grill. I feel a BBQ coming on.

And to my Daddy: thanks and I love you! You may not remember everything you did for me, but I do. And that's what really matters. Virtual hug!

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

June DIB now online!

Check out the latest news at http://www.dantes.doded.mil/_content/dib/2014/DIB_Jun_2014.pdf

Some articles :

- Enhanced MOU partnership with educational institutions
- Michelle Alexander: New DANTES team member
- Exams News: SAT Form 69 cutoff date; SAT to be updated; Praxis paper-based tests to end
- DANTES European Advisor: Celebrating success - Old World style!
- Partnerships News: 2014 ACE Guide CD now available
- TTT News: North Carolina honors fallen hero with "Corporal Pruitt Rainey Brass to Class Act"

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whatever you call her – Mother (my personal favorite), Mom, Ma, Mater, Mamma, or Mommy – don't forget that this Sunday is her big day!

I am fortunate in that my Mother is still with me, and this week I broke a lifetime habit of tardiness and actually got my Mother's Day card mailed on time! Hope she doesn't faint. Ha! She got the requisite 'cat' card (I always give cards with cats on them!), but also a sappy one that shows just how much she means to me. Not that I could ever express that in words.

My Mother isn't famous, she didn't cure the common cold, she didn't climb Mt. Everest, she didn't even go to college. But, she did a great job raising my brother and me, made sure we had a happy childhood, and gave us the tools we would need to survive and maybe even succeed in our adult lives.

She and my Dad met in the Air Force (he was her supervisor!). He eventually wore her down and they got married. When she was pregnant with my brother, she had to leave the Air Force. Seems, at the time, women were incapable of being both a Mother and a Service member. Oh, how things have changed! My Dad's job meant he transferred every 18 months or so – yes, that often! Plus, he had a couple of isolated tours, and traveled often. That meant it was up to Mother to keep the family running smoothly, for the most part anyway. When he retired and they had to decide where to settle, they chose a place that had a university nearby, so that my brother and I could live at home while getting a degree. See, even though nether of them had gone to college, it was important to them to give us the opportunity. My brother knew what he wanted and got his degree, then a job, then a wonderful family life. Showoff! Me, I took another path – a few years of college fun and games, then I joined the Navy. Not a bad choice – I eventually got my own wonderful family life and my degree. Just took me a little longer.

So, why am I sharing all of this? Hopefully, to get you to take a moment to think about how you got where you are today – and who helped you along the way. I hope your Mother was by your side, helping you and supporting you, like mine was. Or, maybe you had someone else in that role. Whoever it may have been, they probably made difficult choices and sacrifices for you, all in order to give you a good life and those life tools I mentioned earlier. And maybe even the desire to pursue higher education (I hope so!).  If they are still with you, be sure to give them a big THANK YOU and hug on Sunday. Mine gets a virtual hug this year – Love you mucho, Mother!

Oh – and if my sons are reading – be sure to make it MILK chocolate, not that dark stuff. ; )

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor