Military service members can now see how on-the-job experience translates to earned college credit within the University of North Carolina System.

The UNC Military Equivalency System contains thousands of equivalencies between military occupations and training and academic courses at the 16 universities in the UNC System. Before applying for admission, prospective students can use the resource to determine how experience from their Joint Services Transcript (JST) equates to specific courses at the state’s public universities. This is particularly good news in North Carolina, where the UNC System serves a growing number of military-affiliated students – more than 21,000 last fall, or about 9% of the student population.

“Our North Carolina military community is greatly enhanced professionally and personally through higher education. The UNC System breakthrough in providing real-time information on credit for military education, training and experience will benefit service members, family members and veterans,” said retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Rodney Anderson, chairman of the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission.  “This UNC military credit equivalency system not only supports military readiness but advances North Carolina as the most military friendly state in the nation.”

Until now, prospective military students have faced a lengthy decision process, having to contact a university’s registrar, admissions office, or sometimes faculty or academic program directors directly to inquire about what credits they could receive for their military experience. The process has proven confusing and overwhelming for service members and universities alike.

The Military Equivalency System now provides a transparent and streamlined way for students and institutions to review the JST at any time before or during enrollment. The resource also empowers service members to evaluate their best options across the UNC System for pursuing an education and allows for better movement of credit among UNC campuses.

The idea for the system goes back to a state law that mandated the development of a plan to “ensure that college credits are uniformly granted to students with military training.” A 2022 regulation enacted by UNC System President Peter Hans further directed the creation of a “centralized and definitive resource” to be used by public universities for awarding credit for military courses and jobs.

Hans said the new system is key to providing high quality degrees and credentials to more veterans, active duty, Reserve and National Guard students in the state’s universities.

“We want to keep these dedicated and highly skilled men and women in our state, and that starts with offering them an affordable, accessible education right here in North Carolina,” Hans said. “We’re happy this system has finally come to fruition, giving veterans and service members what they deserve – hard-earned credit for their knowledge and experience. We also recognize the tremendous value these folks bring to our state’s critical workforce areas such as the healthcare, IT, engineering, and manufacturing sectors.” 

The UNC Military Equivalency System went live on Feb. 29, 2024. It is expected to expand substantially in the next year as more course credit equivalencies are added.

Universities in the UNC System:

Appalachian State University

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Fayetteville State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina Central University

North Carolina State University

University of North Carolina Asheville

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem State University