APSCU CEO Testifies at Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee's Hearing on Voluntary Military Education ProgramsWashington, D.C., June 12, 2013—APSCU President and CEO Steve Gunderson testified today at the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee's hearing on Voluntary Military Education Programs. The full written testimony appears below:
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cochran, and members of the committee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee and for holding this important hearing on Voluntary Military Education Programs.
From 1999 to 2009, degrees awarded by our institutions have soared. Associate's degrees increased by 132 percent (compared with just 43 percent at public and 1 percent at private nonprofit institutions); bachelor's degrees increased by 387 percent (compared with just 29 percent at public and 24 percent at private nonprofit institutions); master's degrees increased by 588 percent (compared with 33 percent at public and 43 percent at private nonprofit institutions); and doctorates increased by more than 300 percent (compared with 30 percent at public and 32 percent at private nonprofit institutions).
Looking at the recession years from 2008 to 2012, our institutions prepared 3.5 million adults with the education and skills essential for real jobs, real incomes, and a real chance at America's middle class. We conferred 1.5 million degrees and 1.85 million certificates.
"In 2007, I earned another associate's degree in electrical engineering; it was at this point in my military career that my civilian education assisted me in being promoted over my peers. In 2010, I worked on a network installation team, and within three months I earned my CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications due largely to my education, experience, and opportunity that ECPI provided me.
"In 2010, my military assignment took me overseas to Afghanistan. While deployed, I earned my bachelor's degree in computer information science with a concentration in network security. Earning my degree led to another promotion, which was due to the tools and benefits ECPI provided in the areas of leadership, professionalism, and core curriculum content. I have been tasked, since my promotion, with training others in my unit both below and above me in rank, to sit for certifications. Thus far, those I have trained have a 100 percent pass record. I would highly recommend this program to fellow service members, I believe ECPI to have the best customer service of any online school, and I have attended several. Further, the curriculum is very precise and concentrated in the areas most needed to perform the job at maximum proficiency."
1. Consumer information, enrollment, and recruitment makes clear that information should be provided in clear and understandable language and that no student should be subjected to aggressive or misleading recruiting practices.
2. Institutional commitment to provide military and veteran students support identifies initiatives related to personnel and faculty designed to help employees understand the special needs of military and veteran students. It also identifies institutional policies aimed at assisting military and veteran students, such as participating in the Yellow Ribbon program, offering a reduced military tuition rate, maximizing the use of military training credit recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE), or exceeding the standards of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Act for deployed employees.
3. Promising practices for ensuring military and veteran student success through student services discusses the need for student centers and partnerships, such as establishing a Student Veterans of America chapter or having a military and veterans lounge where students can meet and find peer-to-peer support.
4. Establish institutional research guidelines for tracking military and veteran student success encourages the collection and use of data to improve programs and evaluate program effectiveness. We are encouraging all our institutions and colleagues at other institutions of higher education to look at these best practices and find opportunities to implement them where appropriate to best serve our military and veteran students.