What is the DANTES program?

If you are an active servicemember, or a veteran, and you want to earn a college degree, the DANTES program is a great resource. The acronym stands for Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support. This service, initiated by the Department of Defense, acts in several ways to help people who either are currently serving in the military, or who are veterans pursuing their education. Here are just a few:

As an Educational Advisor

One division, TA Decide, acts as a college information clearinghouse. TA stands for tuition assistance. Because veterans and active-duty service people have educational benefits, it is important for them to use the aid well. This site lists and compares schools according to many criteria such as tuition and transfer of credit for military students. Another service provides career guidance and offers guides and access to many kinds of testing, like ACT, SAT, GED, GMAT, GRE and others. Many of these examinations are funded for military personnel. After the testing, the service will also assist you in requesting your transcripts. 

As a Service to Educational Counselors

The goal of this component is to educate counselors about the services available to veterans or to students currently serving in the military. Education events will help counselors keep abreast of new regulations and programs. This service contains the Education Counselor’s Toolbox, with information pertaining to their support of military students, including information on: academic accreditation; financial aid like scholarships and grants; how to select the right college and data on specific colleges. It also helps counselors access online libraries and free books and educational organizations so that they will be prepared to deal with the unique issues of students in the military. The “toolbox” contains a listing of SOC, or Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, which partner with the Department of Defense in providing benefits and accommodations.

As an Admissions Assistant

This is one of the programs accessed directly by servicemembers, that helps get students earn credit for courses they took in the military, through credit equivalency scales. It also advocates for school acceptance of skills, mastered through active duty, for credit. Non-traditional students can find colleges that have degree paths with low campus residency requisites. This is vital for active-duty personnel because of their high mobility. According to Military.com, The program works with the SOC institutions to offer courses taught through correspondence, email, online, over mobile devices, or by podcasts and satellite transmission. Students can take advantage of the Credit-by-Examination component that allows them to earn high school credentials, meet college admission requisites, get professional certifications and even earn college credits by testing. Most of these segments are free to veterans and active duty students can use their military education benefits. Colleges and universities participate in this service to military personnel voluntarily. They “contract” with the Department of Defense through an agreement known as the Voluntary Educational Partnership Memorandum of Understanding. Institutions that have signed the agreement are placed on the list of SOC facilities and only those on the list are eligible to receive money from the service person’s tuition assistance package. 

Resource: Top 15 Best Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

The Department of Defense is vitally interested in procuring the best education possible for servicemembers. If you need assistance is meeting your educational goals, you can find assistance through the DANTES program with their website portals.