Transferring Schools

woman looking over a book

Frequent moves and the subsequent loss of credits are often the biggest challenges military spouses face when working to complete their education. Aside from the time investment spouses lose when their college credits don’t transfer, they can lose thousands of dollars as well. Losing credits greatly increases the time and money spent on completing an education. In some cases, your credits will transfer to equivalent courses, but some might transfer only as electives. Learn about programs and tips that will increase the likelihood of your credits transferring to equivalent courses.

Tips for Transferring

Understanding the process of transferring college credits is important to creating a smooth transition to a new college or university. 

Each institution’s unique policies for transferring credits pose a challenge for any student. Credit acceptance can depend on the level of the course, your academic standing, how many credits you want to transfer, and many other variables.

The following tips are provided to help spouses navigate the process of transferring credits:

  1. Contact your previous schools to send an official transcript to your gaining school.
  2. Keep a copy of your official transcript for your own files.
  3. Create a file that includes each course syllabus and a copy of the school catalog.

You are your own best advocate, especially if you know the system. Shopping around can also help you find a program and a school that are most compatible with your needs. Some institutions may have a strong transfer relationship with the college or university you attend now. Several states also have articulation agreements for associate degrees; meaning if you earn an AA degree, a four-year college or university will automatically grant you junior standing.

If you plan properly, keep accurate records, and ask the right questions, the transfer process will be smoother and you’ll be one step closer to your ultimate goal—graduation.

What is SOC?

A visit with your Education Office counselor is a good time to talk about Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. Military spouse education is more accessible than ever thanks to the SOC Consortium of more than 1,900 educational institutions that meet the unique needs of military families by agreeing to support military students and their family members at the postsecondary level.

SOC Consortium member institutions agree to:

  • Reasonable transfer policies for accepting credit from other institutions
  • Academic residency requirements (limited to no more than 25% of degree requirements with no fi nal year or semester in residence; may require 30% for undergraduate degrees offered 100% online)
  • Recognize and use ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services in evaluating and awarding academic credit for military training and experience
  • Award credit for at least one nationally-recognized testing program such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST Examinations, Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)

SOC Degree Network System Participants
About 10 percent of SOC Consortium member institutions are also SOC Degree Network System participants. These institutions take SOC one step further by issuing SOC student agreements and guaranteeing credit transfers with other SOC Degree Network System members. Active duty service members and their adult family members are eligible to participate in the SOC Degree Network System.

SOC Degree Network System Programs
There are four different SOC Degree Network System operating programs.

  • U.S. Army - SOCAD
  • U.S. Navy - SOCNAV
  • U.S. Marine Corps - SOCMAR
  • U.S. Coast Guard - SOCCOAST

Although the Air Force does not officially participate in the SOC Degree Network System, active duty Air Force service members and their adult family members are eligible to participate in the SOC Degree Network System programs of the other services.

SOC Guard provides educational support to members of the Army National Guard by providing information about their educational options and benefits. SOCGuard is not part of the SOC Degree Network System. Guard soldiers and their military spouses generally pursue degrees through SOCAD, the Army’s component of the SOC Degree Network System.

For more information, visit or call 800-368-5622 or email

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