Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Education Programs Available to Enlisted Personnel and Veterans

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Education Programs Available to Enlisted Personnel and Veterans

Article excerpt

Department of Defense Continuing Education Program

Each year, approximately 500,000 men and women enlisted in the armed forces enroll in postsecondary courses leading to associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as a part of the largest continuing education program in the world.

Although the Department of Defense's (DOD) Continuing Education Program provides an extensive network through which colleges and universities deliver classroom instruction to hundreds of military installations around the world, it also affords servicemembers the opportunity to earn college credits for learning that has taken place outside the traditional classroom. This is achieved through programs that include college-level equivalency testing, assessment of prior learning, assessment of military training, independent study, and distance learning.

Many of these postsecondary educational opportunities are provided at costs significantly reduced by tuition assistance allowances.

Participation in these programs begin with a visit to an installation education center, where education officers and counselors present an extensive array of options, provide details about specific programs, help design courses of study, and accomplish administrative tasks to ensure that servicemembers receive maximum exposure to and benefit from available programs.

Postsecondary Degree Programs

Programs that allow members of the armed forces to earn a college degree are the primary focus of DOD-sponsored continuing education programs. Congress has held that men and women serving in the military should have the same opportunity for academic advancement as civilians. The department provides for that opportunity in DOD Directive 1322.8, Subject: Voluntary Education Programs for Military Personnel.

As a result, servicemembers can enroll in college, receive tuition assistance and earn degrees. In many cases, they can join college classes being conducted right on the military base - or aboard the ship or submarine, at sea - to which they are assigned. In some cases, servicemembers can even continue their studies while deployed.

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) Thousands of service members further their education through nontraditional education programs sponsored by the DANTES. These programs are available to all members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their Reserve components.

Service Members Opportunity Colleges

DANTES manages the Servicemasters Opportunity Colleges (SOC) program for the Department of Defense. SOC is a network of approximately 1,200 colleges and universities that has adopted policies and programs designed to help service members meet their educational goals. SOC coordinates programs for associate degrees, certificates, diplomas and bachelor degrees that allow Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel to earn college credentials in military career specialties.

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers is a DANTES program designed to assist separated military service members, Coast Guard personnel and civilian employees of the DOD in identifying alternative certification to become teachers or teachers' aides. The program provides referral assistance through a network of state offices.


Army Health Professions Scholarship Program

Financial assistance is also available to students in certain medical programs in return for specific periods of service in the Army. All programs involve service as a commissioned officer with pay and allowances commensurate with education and professional standing in the specialized field.

The Army Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers a unique opportunity for civilian, Reserve, and active duty personnel who are planning to attend an accredited medical. …

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