Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

All They Can Be and a College Degree: Army Hopes to Boost Recruitment with Proposal That Would Expand Its Role in the Education of Its Soldiers

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

All They Can Be and a College Degree: Army Hopes to Boost Recruitment with Proposal That Would Expand Its Role in the Education of Its Soldiers

Article excerpt

All They Can Be and a College Degree: Army hopes to boost recruitment with proposal that would expand its role in the education of its soldiers.

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Army has been aware of and used distance learning on the higher education level for some time. But now, the Army has plans of using the technology to help sagging recruitment, giving new inductees a chance to be all they can be with a college degree.

Secretary of the Army Louis Calder last month unveiled a proposal in Miami that will allow buck privates to take college-level courses over the Internet. The soldiers will be able to earn two-year associate's degrees during their initial four-year enlistment stint with the government picking up the tab for tuition, according to a story in The Washington Post.

"The Army has traditionally been a place of opportunity and now it is going to be a place where you learn while you serve in addition to being a place where you earn benefits and save money so you can keep learning when your service is completed," Calder told the newspaper.

Facing competition from the a civilian job market that is booming as the result of a robust economy, the Army fell short of its fiscal 1999 recruiting goal by 8 percent -- the largest shortfall by any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. To stop the decline, the Army proposal would see that its 165,000 first-time soldiers have the free time and the computers to take online courses from accredited colleges and universities wherever the soldier is deployed.

The proposal is based on a partnership that already exists between branches of the Armed Forces and several of the nation's colleges and universities. That partnership already offers college-level instruction at bases around the world and it includes both associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Credits are transferable within the system of affiliated colleges and currently, the Army pays for approximately 75 percent of the tuition. …

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