Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) was created in 1972 to provide educational opportunities to service members who often experienced trouble completing their college degrees because they frequently moved from place to place.
Lone Star College System is a member of SOC, which coordinates associate degrees in a variety of curricular areas for the Army (SOCAD), Navy, (SOCNAV), and Marine Corps (SOCMAR). Regionally accredited colleges and universities accessible to Army, Navy, and Marine Corps installations worldwide offer these degree programs. Within each curriculum area or degree network, member colleges agree to accept each other’s credits in transfer. In addition, in order to establish residency, students need only take 25% of the degree requirements at any single college.
Today SOC is a consortium of more than 1200 colleges and universities that provide educational opportunities for service members and their families. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) co-sponsor Service members Opportunity Colleges, in cooperation with 13 other educational associations, the Military Services, the National Guard, and the Coast Guard. Service members desiring to participate in SOC should begin at their Military Education Center (Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, as appropriate). A counselor will help the service member select an appropriate course of study and refer him or her to the designated college office. The service member enrolls at a college near the military assignment. This college becomes their “home college.”
Before the service member (student) earns six semester credit hours from the home college, he/she should request an official evaluation of prior learning experiences, including all possible credit sources. The college evaluates the prior learning and issues a Student Agreement degree plan. The student is advised to complete an academic residency of 25% of the degree at the home college. If the service member is reassigned to another installation, he or she may continue to take SOC courses that match the home college requirements as shown on the Student Agreement degree plan.
The student only has to meet the home college graduation requirements, and all courses taken at any SOC are guaranteed to transfer back to the home college. The student does not have to start over with a different college or set of degree requirements every time he or she relocates. After successful completion of all coursework, the home college awards the degree based on the completion of the original SOC Student Agreement degree plan. Call 1-800-368-5622 for more information or visit the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Website.
In cooperation with the United States Army Recruiting Command, (USAREC), SOC operates the Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP) to increase college enrollment of new Army recruits and reservists. Upon enlistment, eligible recruits can be admitted to college on full or provisional basis and take courses in their off-duty hours at or near military installations in the US, overseas and on Navy ships. Individuals interested in an application to the ConAP program should see their Army recruiter for an application and more information.