Call to Action for Student Veterans
by Samuel Innocent
Good day student veterans,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to inform you of a proposed bill that may affect you and most certainly will affect many student veterans in the future: S.752, which would amend New York education law to mandate that the SUNY and CUNY Board of Trustees make a policy for the schools to award academic credits for military training. But for the New York Legislature to pass it, we all need to speak up.
For those of you who know me, you know how passionate I am about this topic; for those of you who don’t, I’ll provide a brief history.
I separated from the United States Army after 7 years of honorable service as an Army medic and started my undergraduate degree just five days later. I received no credits for my Army training as a medic, even though with that same training I was able to obtain my EMT license in New York State with no additional fees or classes. I was able to address some of this disparity as a student veteran leader at my particular institution, but no student veteran should have to fight for this.
Granting credit for military education is not only about honoring our veterans by recognizing the sacrifices that veterans have made in the name of their country, but also the years of their lives spent learning, practicing and executing particular skill sets. It also simply recognizes the education veterans received in the military—the government already paid for this education, and the G.I. Bill or veterans themselves should never have to pay for the same credit a second time.
How can you help?
Step 1) Familiarize yourself with the proposal and the testimony that took place. I would never ask anyone to sign off on something they were not familiar with. Both the testimony and the legislation can be found here: Testimony and Legislation
Step 2) Call or email your state senator and ask them to co-sponsor the bill, while letting them know why it is important to you. Information on your state senator can be found by entering your address here: http://www.nysenate.gov/