Online degrees are becoming more and more popular with military veterans who do not have the time and/or resources to attend college in a traditional environment. By attending school online, these soldiers can spend more time at home with their loved ones or working to provide for their families.
Active duty soldiers are also taking advantage of online education, often choosing to continue working toward their online bachelor’s degree from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. The online environment allows these soldiers to keep up with their classes while fulfilling their deployment. In 2007, over 710,000 online courses were taken by military personnel from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
There are also many financial aid resources available for active duty and retired military personnel. The Department of Defense, as well as the federal government, offers tuition reimbursement to members of the armed forces, which is a huge incentive for military members to pursue an education. Private scholarship foundations, such as the Sentinels of Freedom, Operation Helping Heal, and others, offer aid to soldiers pursuing an education. Many colleges also waive or reduce the tuition costs for veterans and active duty soldiers.
Many soldiers choose online degree programs because they have been wounded in combat and cannot attend regular classroom sessions. The flexibility of an online education allows them to recover from their wounds in the comfort of their own homes without worrying about how they are going to get to and from class.
The Army has a program in place to help soldiers get an education. Launched in 2001, eArmyU provides tuition assistance for soldiers. They also provide laptop computers for soldiers who enlist in a combat or operational unit. The only eligibility requirements are a high school diploma or GED, 3 years of service remaining and approval from their commander. All tuition, books, course fees, and internet services are paid for, and soldiers must complete 12 credit hours in a three year period. In the seven years the program has been available, over 50,000 army personnel have taken college courses.
With so many colleges providing online degrees and numerous scholarships and tuition assistance available, the number of military personnel taking online courses is sure to increase every year, proving that deployment doesn’t have to be the end of pursuing an education.