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DANTES peaks: College retests to be on student's dime

By Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison | | July 29, 2010

The military will no longer pay for service members who failed a Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education funded test beginning in 2011.

According to Navy Administrative Message 231/10, released July 3, 2010, service members must pay out-of-pocket to retake College Level Examination Program exams, DANTES Subject Standardization Tests, and Excelsior College Examinations as of May 20, 2010.

Retest funding will continue on through for those who tested before May 2010 and retest before December 2010.

DANTES, which falls under the Department of the Navy and provides test funding for service members everywhere, hopes the change will provide an incentive for studying as well as saving money.

Eight thousand service members took funded retests in fiscal year 2009, costing DANTES approximately $1 million, said Ann Hunter, Navy Voluntary Education Service chief.

“We want service members to study,” added Hunter. “You wouldn’t go into a final exam and just gunjack it, would you?”

Service members who do not receive a passing score on a CLEP test, DSST or ECE must wait 180 days between test dates and must personally fund the retest. Costs for the tests, averaging $70 per exam, have not changed, but funding a retest varies depending on the test site.

“What they’re doing is they’re not opening the door for you to take the test over and over again,” said Kimberly Baars, station education services officer. “They’re trying to put the gravity of taking the test on the service member.”

As well, retests are no longer automatically transmitted from the testing contractor to the service member’s registry transcripts. Students must contact the individual testing agencies to order a transcript, or, if testing for a degree, designate an institution code.

Forty-three service members took a DANTES-funded test here in 2009. This year 23 have taken the exam so far.

For more information, see NavAdmin 231/10.

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