How Does Your College Become a SOC Consortium Member?
Applicants for SOC Consortium Institutional Membership must meet six Initial Conditions contained in the SOC Principles and Criteria:
- be listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s (CHEA) Database of Programs Accredited by Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations;
- be a degree-granting institution that is duly accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA);
- meet appropriate provisions of DoD Directive 1322.8, Voluntary Educational Programs for Military Personnel, DoD Instruction 1322.25, Voluntary Education Programs, and appropriate Service regulations when providing educational services on military installations;
- be approved for educational benefits by the appropriate State Approving Agency for veterans’ benefits;
- agree to submit data for the SOC Consortium Guide; and
- not be listed by the U.S. Department of Education as having an excessive student loan default rate.
Applicants for SOC Consortium Institutional Membership must meet four SOC Criteria contained in the SOC Principles and Criteria:
- Reasonable Transfer of Credit: avoid excessive loss of previously earned credit and avoid course work duplication;
- Reduced Academic Residency: limited to no more than 25% of degree requirements with no final year or semester in residence (may require 30% for undergraduate degrees offered 100% online), specifically avoiding any “final year” or “final semester” residency requirement;
- Credit for Military Training and Experience: recognize and use the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services in evaluating and awarding academic credit for military training and experience; and
- Credit for Nationally-Recognized Testing Programs: award credit for at least one nationally-recognized testing program such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) General and Subject Examinations, DSST Examinations, Excelsior College Examinations (ECE).
These take into account the difficulties faced by military students due to their geographical mobility, and provide flexible policies and procedures that assist them in gaining the same educational opportunities enjoyed by their civilian counterparts. Entire colleges and universities or appropriate subdivisions (colleges, schools, major subdivisions) may become members of the SOC Consortium.
If prospective SOC Consortium institutions meet the six initial conditions, and are willing to agree to abide by the SOC Principles and Criteria, they then may request from SOC or download from the SOC Web site a SOC Consortium Application for Institutional Membership which is completed, signed by a designated institutional administrator, and returned to SOC for approval.
SOC Consortium institutional membership is for a two-year period, and each member has an Institutional Information page in the bi-annually published SOC Consortium Guide. The institution's location, degrees conferred, credit system, accreditation, designated SOC Institutional Representative, SOC Counselor, SOC Consortium Veterans Point-of-Contact, credit-granting policies on testing programs and non-traditional learning, and military installations served are included in its Guide listing.