Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges

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If you're an active duty military member or veteran, you must complete the same online application forms as new students. 

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Sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Association of Community College

A Unique Civilian-Military Partnership

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), a consortium of national higher education associations and participating member institutions, functions in cooperation with the Department of Defense (DoD), and the military Services, including the National Guard and the Coast Guard, to help meet the voluntary higher education needs of servicemembers.

The SOC Principles and Criteria

To achieve its goals, SOC is founded on principles agreed to collectively by the higher education community through the SOC Advisory Board, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and the Military Services including the National Guard and the Coast Guard.

The SOC Principles are predicated upon such principles as those set forth in the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). They are drawn principally from the cumulative experience of educational institutions and agencies judged successful in their work with servicemembers.

The SOC Criteria create a framework for institutions to translate SOC Principles into performance and action. The SOC Criteria stipulate that institutional policies and practices be fair, equitable, and effective in recognizing the special and often limiting conditions faced by military students.

SOC Operating Programs

SOC operates a variety of programs that give servicemembers opportunities to:

  • Earn associate or bachelor's degrees through the SOC Degree Network System while in the Army (SOCAD), Navy (SOCNAV), Marine Corps (SOCMAR), or Coast Guard (SOC-COAST).
  • Select a college concurrently with enlistment in the Army or Army Reserve (ConAP).
  • Earn college credits and degrees while in the Army National Guard (SOCGuard)

For more detailed information, see:

SOC Degree Network System

SOC coordinates a far-reaching program of associate and bachelor's degree networks for Army (SOC-AD), Navy (SOCNAV), Marine Corps (SOCMAR), and Coast Guard (SOCCOAST) personnel, provided by civilian colleges and universities serving military installations worldwide. Servicemembers may take courses in their off-duty hours in classrooms on or near military installations in the United States, overseas, or on Navy and Coast Guard ships. They may enroll in "distance learning" courses offered online, through CD-ROM, PDA, videocassette, television, radio, correspondence, etc. The programs are also available to family members of active-duty servicemembers.

For more detailed information, see:

Services for Veterans

For veterans returning to civilian life to begin or continue study, civilian SOC Consortium institutions provide appropriate evaluation of their training, experience, and prior study as well as other services similar to those afforded servicemembers. Some SOC Criteria apply equally to veterans – admissions practices, transfer of credit, and recognition of other forms of learning, including military experience.

Northampton Community College limits academic residency to no more than 25% of the degree requirements for all undergraduate degrees for active-duty servicemembers. Academic residency can be completed at any time while active-duty service members are enrolled. Reservists and National Guardsmen on active-duty are covered in the same manner.