Department of Defense Education Activity

DOD Updates Enlistment Priority for Certain Education Credentials

Media Advisory: June 28, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense announced today that eligible students with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools, who score 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), will now receive Tier 1 enlistment priority.

 The policy change implements the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act requirement. Previously, many of these graduates received Tier 2 enlistment priority.

The purpose of the DoD education credential policy is to predict adaptation to the military and successful completion of military service. The education credential tiers were initially developed more than 30 years ago, based on first-term attrition rates associated with various education credential types. Because Tier 1 graduates are more likely to complete their first term of enlistment, department benchmarks require that at least 90 percent of recruits enlisting possess a Tier 1 credential.

While numerous studies have shown education credential source or type as a predictor of first-term attrition, aptitude, as measured by the AFQT, also predicts attrition behavior. Those with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools who score above 50 on the AFQT have similar attrition to traditional high school graduates.

 "It's important for everyone interested in joining the military to understand that the current competitive recruiting environment, high retention, and force reductions, have impacted the number of positions available to interested applicants," said Lernes Hebert, acting director of accession policy. "High demand has also affected the waiting time to enter the military. On average, a typical recruit is now entering the military eight or nine months after his or her initial visit with a recruiter."

All applicants for military service, regardless of credential type, must also meet a variety of other enlistment standards - including aptitude, medical, and conduct standards.