GRAND RAPIDS – Davenport University, with the help of a Military Credit Equivalency Grant, has created new pathways for veterans to fast-track their second career and earn a degree. These new pathways enable veterans to leverage military experience for academic credit and earn a four-year degree in as little as 3 years.
According to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than half a million U.S. military veterans reside in Michigan. Less than 25 percent of these individuals have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. More shocking yet, the VA reported earlier this year that less than 13 percent of post-9/11 veterans were using their educational benefits.
“At Davenport, our mission is to offer a path of minimal resistance for service members, veterans and their dependents to reach their education and career goals,” said Dr. Richard Pappas, Davenport University president. “Through a Military Credit Equivalency Grant by the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency, we’re able to transfer a service member’s military experience and training toward their degree in business, technology or health professions – highly sought-after skills in our state.”
Davenport University is one of only seven universities in Michigan to earn the Military Credit Equivalency Grant, providing funds to propel Davenport’s already-established and valued program forward.
Davenport University first launched its Military Credit Equivalency program nearly 5 years ago through its Veterans to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) academic pathway. Through this work, the team has achieved significant results, including:
· Increased retention of military medical nursing students from 75% to 90%
· Increased graduation rates to 60%, exceeding the national rate of 53% (NVEST)
· Enabled a 100% pass rate of the nursing board exams (NCLEX)
“Davenport has taken a unique approach to recognize all of the experience, training and responsibilities an individual had or has in the military,” said Christopher Marx, Davenport University Registrar. “As a result, we are able to create more than 600 course equivalency credits for military personnel and veterans – making it that much easier for them to earn a degree toward their next career.”
Marx has been asked to speak nationally on Davenport’s program. He’ll speak of the university’s learnings and unique credit matrix at the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in Seattle in February and at the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) in Philadelphia in March.
To serve its students holistically, Davenport University also developed a Military Simulation Program that educates administrators, faculty, staff and students about military student experiences and how to support them in an educational setting. This program has been in place for multiple years and strengthens the relationship of all students and employees throughout the university.
Pappas said, “It’s incumbent upon us leaders in higher education to recruit and retain veterans – our nation’s heroes – addressing the barriers they face to ultimately combat income inequality and increase economic growth and global competitiveness in our state.”
To learn more visit www.davenport.edu.