Editor’s note: The following commentary was contributed by Daniel Elkins, legislative director of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. The content may be edited for clarity, style and length.
The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) has been advocating for the enlisted men and women of the National Guard since 1972. EANGUS is dedicated to promoting the status, welfare, and professionalism of the troops of the Army and Air National Guard by supporting policies and initiatives that provide adequate staffing, pay, benefits, entitlements, equipment, and installations for the National Guard. It is from this deeply felt dedication to the National Guard that EANGUS has created a new initiative called the Veterans Education Project (VEP).
The Veterans Education Project is the arm of EANGUS that is solely focused on issues that impact student veterans and their families in higher education. As veterans serving veterans, we amplify the voices of all servicemembers. We are committed to nonpartisan research, engagement, and policy implementation in our efforts to support all institutions that meet the needs of student veterans. Our mission is to highlight innovation across the entire spectrum of higher education.
Navigating higher education has become increasingly difficult for student veterans. Veterans have to face an environment within higher education that is full of criticism and negativity, which may help steer students away from certain schools, but they lack trustworthy information that highlights good institutions. The Veterans Education Project helps student veterans navigate the ever-changing landscape of higher education from a balanced, fair, and nonpartisan perspective.
The Veterans Education Project wants to share the stories of our fellow veterans so that their voices can be heard on a national level and at the highest levels of government. We believe that no one is more qualified to speak on what veterans need than veterans, and we are passionate about giving veterans the platform share their stories.
It is from this type of listening that we have come to identify one of student veterans’ most common frustrations: how few college credits schools award based upon military service. We know firsthand how hard servicemembers have worked and believe that it is time for all schools to recognize that work. Often, however, institutions lack the necessary clarity to successfully innovate holistic prior learning assessments and competency based evaluations for student veterans. That is why VEP has partnered with colleges and universities around the country to begin innovating the way student veterans are assessed for program-specific credits. We also know that working one-on-one with schools is not enough, which is why VEP is working with regional accreditors to encourage innovation for student veterans.
The Veterans Education Project’s motto is “breaching possibilities.” We believe that when a Student Veteran has the right support, anything is possible. Join us as we ensure access to benefits for veterans, and as we advocate for the proper awarding of college credits for the training servicemembers have completed.
See everything we are engaging in at veteranseducationproject.org.