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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES HELP VETERANS REACH EDUCATIONAL GOALS

11/8/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

America's veterans and their families know that freedom isn't free. Their sacrifices provide the freedom we all enjoy. Knowing all they have given for our country, Mississippi Public Universities work hard to help veterans reach their educational goals.

The Board of Trustees recently approved a policy to award academic credit for military learning and the first IHL Military Credit review was held recently. Organized at the system level for all eight universities, faculty expert panels review American Council on Education recommendations, speak with military experts, review additional military documentation provided by Army University and identify course equivalencies within their specific degree programs. The panels' recommendations will be subject to an institutional review process.

Once approved at the university level, the course equivalencies will be posted on the IHL Military Credit website to inform prospective service members and veterans prior to admission. An IHL institution may award up to 90 hours of academic credit for military learning at the undergraduate level. Evaluation of military learning for academic credit will occur at the time the student is admitted and enrolls at an IHL institution and will be recorded on the student's transcript at that time to allow for informed advisement.

Jackson State University has established a committee to implement the IHL initiative on the campus and is currently reviewing the Military Police Occupational Specialty. When complete, veterans will be able to articulate 20 or more credit hours towards a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice and/or professional interdisciplinary studies, depending on military training completed.

Jackson State also reviews Joint Services transcripts and awards academic credit for prior learning, based on American Council of Education (ACE) credit recommendations. All fees for review of credit for prior learning are waived for veterans and active duty military personnel.

Delta State University has earned a Military Friendly® School designation for three consecutive years for its efforts to make campus inviting to armed military service members.

Charles A. McAdams, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Delta State, said, "This distinction lets our military students know that we recognize this and we strive to provide the support they need to succeed at DSU and complete their degree."

Sixty students with military backgrounds attended Delta State in fall 2018, as did more than 30 military spouses/dependents who received veterans' benefits.

Also earning the 2019-2020 Military Friendly® Schools Designation, Mississippi University for Women announced The W Free Tuition Program in May, furthering its support of service members. The cooperative agreement between The W and the Mississippi National Guard will ensure free tuition to participants enrolled full time at the university. The opportunity also extends to full-time Army members.

Mississippi State University and the Mississippi National Guard have also announced a program to ensure free tuition for Mississippi National Guard service members enrolled full-time at MSU. The Bulldog Free Tuition Program builds on current National Guard education benefits to create this opportunity for eligible Mississippi Air and Army National Guard service members.

Mississippi State University also provides veterans, service members, dependents, survivors and spouses the opportunity to pay the in-state tuition rate no matter the state of residency. Veterans must have an Honorable Discharge to qualify. This includes MSU Online education and the Graduate School as well.

The University of Southern Mississippi and the Mississippi National Guard have partnered for the Golden Eagle Free Tuition Program, a joint initiative that will provide members of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guards the opportunity to graduate, tuition-free, from Southern Miss.

The USM Foundation recently announced a $2.4 million fundraising initiative to construct a new building to provide the more than 1,700 student veterans, service members and their families with a home of their own on the Hattiesburg campus. The Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor's tentative completion date is Fall of 2021. When completed, it will house the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families allowing Southern Miss to holistically care for and meet the needs and interests of the military student community.

These and other efforts to help veterans and service members have earned The University of Southern Mississippi a No. 9 ranking in Military Times' national rankings for 2020.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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