Veterans in Colorado will be able get college credit for military training and experience thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper this week.
The new law requires the state's colleges and universities to figure out a policy to translate military service into college credits using the American Council on Education's recommendations and other sources.
The legislation was sponsored by Reps. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, with Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs.
"We have an obligation to our veterans to honor the American dream they fought for," Danielson said in a statement. "And part of that is taking concrete steps to give veterans access to good paying jobs. One significant obstacle that veterans face when transitioning to civilian life is not being able to convert their service into college credit. This new law will remove that barrier so that their service is honored and they save time and money when seeking a college degree."
Colorado is home to nearly 400,000 men and women who have served in the military. Both Persian Gulf wars represent about 12 percent each and Vietnam veterans account about 33 percent, according the 2015 U.S. Census estimate.
About one-third of Colorado's veterans have at least a bachelor's degree, compared to a 26 percent national average. About 6 percent of veterans in Colorado are currently enrolled in higher education programs, compared to about 5 percent average for other state's nationwide.