Senate bill allows service members to use experience as college - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Senate bill allows service members to use experience as college credit

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Military members in Georgia are one step closer to advancing their college education at any technical college.

'I think Georgia overall does a lot for veterans too, so I'm pretty excited about that," said Michael Kassa.

Senate Bill 18, backed by Ed Harbison, will allow service members to receive college credit for prior military experience while attending Georgia's technical colleges.

"We want to see veterans successful and be able to enter the workforce with their military experience and their college credits," said Lorette Hoover, President of Columbus Technical College. 

Columbus Tech already accepts military experience as college credit.

"It reflects what Columbus Technical College has been doing some time. The way you earn military friendly college status is that you acknowledge the veterans that we serve in this community and you accept military credit for college credit. We've been doing that quite some time. What Ed's bill does is assure that all technical colleges do the same," said Hoover.

Several military students are taking advantage of this opportunity.

"We wake up in the morning and run three miles and that kind of covered an elective for P.E.  Just those basic things and that helped to get my degree at a faster pace than a regular person," said Kassa. 

"Columbus Tech has took some of my education credits for physical education, also for computer classes," said Tiffany Williams, military veteran. 

This semester, there are 520 veterans enrolled at the Columbus Technical and if this bill passes, it can add to those numbers. 

"We have the highest percentage of veterans at Columbus Technical College and I think Ed's bill will help us to increase enrollment as the vets learn," said Hoover. 

Columbus Tech also is a 2015 military friendly college in Georgia. In 2014, more than 1,600 students received VA educational benefits from  Columbus Tech.

School officials say they are confident Governor Deal will sign SB-18 into law. The bill is now in the Georgia House for a vote. 

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