What is the Servicemembers Opportunity College Consortium?

Service Members Opportunity College ConsortiumThe Servicemembers Opportunity College Consortium is a group of colleges and universities that provides educational opportunities for men and women in the U.S. military service and their family members who may otherwise have trouble completing a degree, because they move around frequently as a condition of their work. This program currently serves hundreds of thousands of active duty service people, veterans, and their families. Read on to learn more about this unique program, which was founded in 1972 and is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) through a contract with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Components of the Program

The Consortium includes 1,700 member universities across all 50 states that agree on certain flexible benefits for members of the service and their family members who are working to complete a degree. Under the program, servicemembers are able to transfer credits across any institutions in the consortium without needing to complete coursework. They can also receive course credit for military service completed, and benefit from a reduced residency requirement, meaning that they only need to live in-state for 25 percent of their degree to qualify for in-state tuition. Finally, they can receive credit for nationally recognized testing programs, including College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST Examinations, Excelsior College Examinations (ECE).

How the Consortium Works

Servicemembers and family members select a home college from the more than 1,900 educational institutions that participate in the Consortium. Then, once the student enrolls, they only need to complete 25 percent of their credits at this home college to qualify for a degree. The home college certifies that courses and credits from other institutions within the consortium will be able to be transferred toward the degree without prior approval.

Member Colleges

A list of the colleges who participate in the Consortium, as well as what degrees are offered, is regularly updated on line. You can search the list by state or school name at the Servicemembers College Consortium website.

Getting Started

If you are interested in taking advantage of this program, you can contact the designated SOC Institutional Representative, SOC Counselor, and Veterans Affairs Certifying Official for the school you’re interested in attending. To download the list of contact information for the individuals in these roles, visit the Servicemembers College Consortium website where you can download a consortium guide by state.

Degree Network System

Different degree network systems exist to help those in active duty in various branches of the military earn associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. These include SOCAD for the Army, SONAV for the Navy, SOMAR for the Marine Corps, and SOCOAST for the Coast Guard.

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While earning a degree while in the military can be challenging for servicemembers and their families, the Service Members Opportunity College Consortium strives to make this dream a reality.