Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Recognized for Innovative System that Improves the Academic Success of Veterans

Posted: July 28, 2014

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., July 28, 2014 - Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will receive a State Government Innovation Award in recognition of its pioneering web-based search tool for veterans. The award, a partnership between the Bush Foundation and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, recognizes state projects that improve government services to Minnesotans. MnSCU’s Veterans Education Transfer System (VETS) helps current and former service members find programs that award academic credit for their military experience.

“Veterans often come to our colleges and universities with years of experience,” said Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU chancellor. “Awarding academic credit for that experience significantly reduces the cost of their education and the time it takes to graduate – both of which dramatically improve their success. VETS is a powerful example of how innovation can make a huge difference in student success.”

The number of MnSCU students who are current or former service members increased by 66.4 percent between 2008 and 2013 from 6,900 to 11,483. During that time, MnSCU awarded 68,977 credits for military experience and training.

“These awards recognize those projects that are doing things significantly better,” says Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Minnesotans should realize that it’s not business as usual in state government. These award winners have done an exemplary job integrating innovative ideas and problem-solving techniques into their operations and we want to spread the word about their good work.”

VETS is a pioneering, nationally-recognized, web-based search tool for current and former service members that significantly simplifies the process of assessing student competencies and providing students with accurate, easily accessible and personalized information prior to application or admission. The system uses American Council on Education recommendations to help campuses align military training with academic program courses. No other state offers a similar service although higher education systems and institutions in over 20 other states have expressed interest.

MnSCU will receive the award at a ceremony on Thursday, August 7.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 24 two-year community, technical, and comprehensive colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.