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Honorable Tim Walz

Representing the 1st District of MINNESOTA

Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation Fights for Data Access to Help Veterans & Service Members Receive Academic Credit for Military Training & Learning

Jun 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) wrote a letter along with all other members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation to Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Students Director Jeffrey Allen requesting assistance in securing the release of data sets to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (Minnesota State) system that will aid it in continuing to award academic credit to veterans and service members for their military training and learning.

Since Minnesota State launched the Veterans Education Transfer System (VETS) in 2010, VETS has awarded over 165,000 credits for military courses and occupations, saving service members over $31.3 million and over 6.7 million hours of redundant course work at Minnesota State’s 37 colleges and universities. In recent years, VETS has been hindered due to a lack of access to critical data, including from the ACE Military Guide FRP stakeholders site.

 “We are appreciative of how the Minnesota State system has made a commitment to our service members and veterans over the years…” the Minnesota lawmakers wrote. “… [W]e appreciate your efforts to look into this issue of data accessibility and we look forward to working with you to enable greater higher education opportunities for our veterans and service members. A remedy to this issue will help ensure that they can be best served by Minnesota State and other like-minded colleges, universities, and systems around the country.”

Representatives Jason Lewis (MN-02), Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Collin Peterson (MN-07) and Rick Nolan (MN-08) also cosigned the letter. The full text is below:

Mr. Jeffrey Allen

Director

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Students

6490 Saufley Field Road

Pensacola, FL 32509-5243

Director Allen,

We are writing to seek your assistance in securing the release important data sets to the Minnesota State system which will enable them to continue their important work of awarding academic credit to veterans and service members for their military training and learning.   Since its launch in 2010 the Minnesota State Veterans Education Transfer System (VETS) has awarded over 165,000 credits for military courses and occupations, saving Members of the military over $31.3 million and over 6.7 million hours of redundant course work at the systems 37 colleges and universities.  However and in recent years, lack of access to important data has hindered this work.  We strongly support the work of Minnesota State to provide this service and appreciate your efforts to look into this important matter.

Of specific note and in recent years, Minnesota State has been unable to access important date from the ACE Military Guide FTP stakeholders site.  Access to the data in a useable form is necessary to enable upgrades to the system and allow a quicker decision making process on the awarding of credits to veterans and service members.  The data received by the system is utilized solely for this purpose and is not transferred to other potential users, altered, sold, modified or used for financial gain. 

We are appreciative of how the Minnesota State system has made a commitment to our service members and Veterans over the years including the following:

  • All 37 colleges and universities have signed the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Veterans centers have been established and maintained by Minnesota State at all colleges and universities
  • The Minnesota State system Board of Trustees has developed policies for veterans and service members regarding tuition, book and fee bill deferral, in-state residency rates for all veterans, spouses and family members, "no adverse effect" policies to assist service members being deployed, and other policies to better serve veterans, service members and their families
  • All 37 colleges and universities have provided training to faculty and staff and the system has provided administrator, faculty and staff training regarding veterans regularly and on numerous occasions
  • The Minnesota State system has formed a partnership with the MN National Guard and some Reserve components and provides information and training (including the information on receiving academic credit for military training and learning) to deploying, deployed and returning service members and their families
  • Over 10,000 current and former service members attend system colleges and universities

Once again, we appreciate your efforts to look into this issue of data accessibility and we look forward to working with you to enable greater higher education opportunities for our veterans and service members. A remedy to this issue will help ensure that they can be best served by Minnesota State and other like-minded colleges, universities, and systems around the country. Thank you again for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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