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K-State Today

August 21, 2012

New agreement creates opportunity for soldiers to earn bachelor's degree in food science and industry

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Soldiers seeking a bachelor's degree in food science and industry now have an educational road map to direct their way because of a new agreement between Kansas State University and the U.S. Army's Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges program.

Under the agreement, called a Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army Degree or SOCAD, soldiers who are veterinary food inspection specialists can earn and accumulate transferable credit through a network of educational providers. That means as soldiers are deployed or change duty stations, they can connect with local community colleges and universities to earn credit that can eventually be used toward a bachelor's degree in food science at Kansas State University. Soldiers finish their degree requirements by completing their remaining credit hours through the university's online course offerings.

"Active duty military are constantly moving, making it hard to complete a degree with one school," said Deanna Retzlaff, assistant professor at the university's Food Science Institute.

Through these types of programs, soldiers can apply credits from multiple schools to a degree from one, making it easier for them to advance their career, Retzlaff said. Many Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army Degree programs are also available to spouses of soldiers and their adult children worldwide. Currently 12 service members are working toward a food science bachelor's degree through this program at K-State.

The Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army Degree program provides information to soldiers that helps them find degrees that will advance their military careers. It matches their military experience with educational opportunities so they can maximize their education benefits.

"Formalizing a SOCAD agreement was a multiyear project that required input from food science faculty members, veterans' affairs specialists, the Division of Continuing Education and Kansas State University administration, as well as the input and approval from the Service Members Opportunity College Consortium," Retzlaff said. "The agreement is one way the university shows its commitment to helping our military forces and their families achieve their educational goals."

Additional information about Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army Degrees can be found at http://www.soc.aascu.org. Learn more about the online food science programs offered by Kansas State University at http://www.foodsci.k-state.edu.