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Hastings’ law to streamline credit transfers for veterans signed into law today

Sen. Michael E. HastingsTINLEY PARK - One of the biggest challenges returning servicemen and women face is figuring out how military training credits transfer to college credit.  

To tackle this hurdle, State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ measure House Bill 3701, to direct Illinois higher education institutions to establish a policy for awarding academic course credit for military training, was signed into law today.

“Illinois’ veterans have valuable on-site educational experience,” Hastings said. “It’s our duty and honor to ensure returning veterans receive credit for the life and academic skills they learned while serving our nation.”

This imprecise system creates a complicated process as universities and community colleges attempt to translate military experience into college credits. There are a number of reasons for the confusion. The number one reason being the descriptions for military training and college courses do not always match up perfectly.

Also, military acronyms on transcripts may also mean different classes or curriculum based on each branch of service.  

Often it becomes a matter of the higher education institutions willingness to research ways to find equivalent civilian academic courses. A standardized system will end confusion and create an easier transition for our military personnel.V

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, over 773,000 veterans are now using their GI Bill benefits to go to college, spending a collective of $11 billion a year.

“Repeating coursework slows down the graduation process for veterans,” Hastings said. “Here in Illinois we have workforce shortages for registered nurses, EMT’s and other medical specialties. Who is better equipped than our returning servicemen and women to fill these job openings?”

Hastings’ new law will require community colleges and universities to submit their policies for awarding credit to the Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board for review before June 30, 2018 and before June 30 every other year afterwards.  

“This entire process can be complex and discouraging,” Hastings said. “It’s our duty to create an easy transition for Illinois’ veterans into civilian life, not force them through overcomplicated bureaucracy.”  

House Bill 3701 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Financial Institutions; Insurance; Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Committee of the Whole.

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.