Needlessly Repeating College Courses Taken Overseas -- A Lose-Lose Situation

students sitting in classroom with computers
(Kentavist P. Brackin/DVIDS)

In some cases, military personnel and their family members needlessly retake college coursework and even degrees they have successfully completed. Why? Because they have taken coursework or earned degrees overseas at foreign colleges and universities.

Once these foreign-educated troops have enlisted and settled into the service, many decide to take advantage of military voluntary education programs to continue working on an undergraduate or graduate degree via U.S. colleges and universities. Likewise, family members with college degrees or credits from their home countries may wish to continue their education or find employment in fields related to their academic preparation.

It is at this juncture that these troops and family members may wind up needlessly retaking courses -- and even entire degrees -- at colleges and universities in the United States.

However, there is a viable alternative to retaking coursework previously completed at foreign institutions - one that will save time and valuable federal tuition assistance dollars, and personal savings. That alternative is a well-recognized, professionally prepared, foreign credential evaluation from World Education Services, Inc. (WES).

There are two types of WES evaluations: The Document-by-Document and the Course-by-Course evaluations. The Document-by-Document evaluation provides validates the equivalency of foreign degrees or credentials earned, according to U.S. academic standards. The Course-by-Course evaluation is a transcript-like document, detailing each course taken at the foreign institution, including U.S. equivalency grades, semester hour values, course level (upper/lower division) and a calculated GPA. In either case, WES verifies all credentials to ensure their authenticity, an important step that is valued by both academic institutions and potential employers.

All military members and their families with college-level work earned in foreign institutions should consider obtaining a credential evaluation from WES prior to investing their time - as well as their tuition assistance or personal funds - enrolling in U.S. institutions. The WES evaluation should be presented to the colleges or universities they wish to attend for admission/transfer credit consideration or to potential employers in order to demonstrate their educational credentials in U.S. terms. Many will find it a win-win situation. More information about WES and an application form can be found at

About the author

Richard J. Tinneny is a former Associate Vice President of the Community College of the Air Force and spent 15 years as Director of Admissions at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, South Carolina. At both institutions, he worked with significant numbers of foreign-educated military members and with their family members as well during his time at Midlands Technical College. Mr. Tinneny is currently the Senior Consultant with World Education Services, Inc. a non-profit firm that has served military members and their families since 1974.

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