Military Trends in Online College

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Military Trends in Online College

Military students and veterans are significantly more likely to attend online colleges to accommodate their unique lifestyles, and as a stepping stone to transition back into civilian life. Unfortunately, some for-profits colleges target these specific students for the military benefits they are afforded such as the New GI Bill. The army identifies one trend in the online college space to be the offering of MOOC's and partnerships by leading universities and branches of the military to provide relevant curriculum to service members. Information regarding these trends in the online space as they relate to service members and veterans is provided below.

Higher Attendance

  • Military students are significantly more likely than nonmilitary peers to attend college online, 18% of military students attend school online compared to non-military students. This gap is even more significant between military graduate students and nonmilitary graduate students with rates of online attendance of 41% versus 19%, respectively.
  • Active duty undergraduates (54%) were the most likely group of all military connected peers to take all of their classes online.
  • The trend of higher online attendance by military students is driven by the needs of military personnel to balance their duties, personal life and educational aspirations. Military students are able to attend school regardless of potential deployments and changing military assignments.
  • The skills and traits military students develop while serving also serve to be valuable and necessary traits to be successful in online school. Some of these traits include "discipline, goal-orientation, determination, and the capacity for self-regulation", and these virtues make them more likely than traditional students to demand and thrive in online colleges.
  • Resources such as the GI Bill and other benefits and scholarships for military personnel and veterans also drives more military personnel to pursue higher education, some of these resources such as the GI Bill also apply to spouses and dependents and can allow them to pursue higher education online even when stationed abroad.
  • The GI Bill was recently updated so military service members can receive the standard living stipend for online learning full-time. This has further driven the surge of military members entering the online college market.
  • The growth in online attendance by military personnel is also attributed to the number of soldiers that suffer from PTSD. These students find online colleges to be a "stepping stone back to civilian life" without overwhelming them with the stresses of being on campus.
  • Some colleges such as Syracuse University design and tailor curriculum for military students.

Predatory Colleges

  • Veteran's Education Success, VES, provides several reports of student veteran and service member complaints regarding misconduct and illegal practices conducted by predatory online colleges in the marketplace. Some of these complaints were waged against Kaplan, Ashford University, and Trident International University.
  • Predatory schools, both online and traditional, have been increasingly targeting veteran and military students because of their benefits such as the New GI Bill (Post-9/11 GI Bill). Veterans have been lobbying to change legislation that they describe as incentivizing for-profit colleges to "aggressively market to veterans to stay afloat".
  • Legislation has a 90/10 rule that caps the amount of federal aid a college can receive at 90%, and these predatory colleges target military service members and veterans as their benefits were not considered to be part of the 90%.
  • Defenders of for-profit colleges and universities for veterans state that the programs they offer are often tailored for adult learners like military personnel and have strong online offerings, flexible scheduling, and "provide career-minded programming in areas popular with veterans".
  • Trident International University is stated to not only have targeted veteran and military students but also the survivors of military service members that were killed while on active duty since 9/11 by turning an event for the children into a recruitment opportunity and touting the advantages of a fully online education to them. In 2017, 64% of all enrolled students were either service members or veterans.
  • Ashford University, another fully online university, is stated to have even worse outcomes than Trident.

Military Partnerships and Offerings

  • Leading online colleges and universities are participating in an increasing number of partnerships with branches of the military to provide tailored curriculum and support for online military students. A list of the top rated online universities for active duty members reveals they offer college courses specifically for service members by focusing on relevant curriculum such as homeland security, and they provide military-focused student clubs and groups and other support personnel.
  • Colleges and universities in the online space are increasingly offering online educational and support tools for service members and veterans. The army provides a recent trend in the online college space to be Massive Online College Courses (MOOC's) offered by leading universities and colleges throughout the US and around the world.
  • The University of Southern Mississippi is one of the top universities that provides over 45 online degree and certificate programs for veterans, service members and their dependents. The university's Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families is also available for its online service members and veteran students, and it also has a Military/Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) degree.
  • Webster University works closely with the DoD to provide degree programs for active duty, vets, and their dependents. The university is also partnered with the Community College of the Air Force.
  • David Lawrence, a veterans service specialist at the California Community College System points out that the state's 2017-18 budget included funding for veteran resource centers on college campuses for the first time, and with that the system added a wholly online school to boost support for veterans.
  • In addition, the schools have been making the transfer of military credits and experience easier and participating in military cooperative degree programs.
  • The MOOC Coursera has a new partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs that will provide a certificate to every US veteran to improve employability in high-demand fields and will launch 20 Veteran-facilitated Learning Hubs to increase online accessibility and support.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Top Schools for Military and Veteran Students

Universities in the United States offer different benefits and services to active members, veterans and dependents who wish to start or continue their higher education. Among the top 20 universities that offer online programs to this population, the University of Southern Mississippi and Webster University stand out for the numerous services and scholarships offered to these students.

University of Southern Mississippi

  • This institution offers a curriculum that was created with veterans and active service members in mind as well as their dependents. Similarly, there are programs for those who have served in the Air Force as well as a Leadership Scholar Program, which has the goal of expediting admissions for Marines who wish to attend a non-profit college for 4-year studies.
  • Jobs are made available for veteran students, which are compatible with their study schedules. There are also opportunities for scholarships, and the university has a Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families.

Webster University

  • https://www.webster.edu/
  • This university has numerous partnerships with the Department of Defense as well as military schools to provide access to active-duty, veterans, and their dependents to higher education. While some of these programs are taught at physical installations, they also offer a strong online curriculum adaptable to different schedules.
  • Tuition assistance at Webster University can cover up to 100% of the fees. This will depend on eligibility and different criteria used to determine the percentage covered. These criteria are determined by each of the services of the armed forces.

Saint Leo University

  • https://www.saintleo.edu/
  • Saint Leo provides assistance to active-service and veteran members as well as to their dependents. They offer online classes, which are specially designed for adult learners. Furthermore, they have education centers throughout the country, located in seven different states. Additionally, there is a Veterans Student Service to attend to the needs of the military student population.
  • Saint Leo is a school eligible for Military Tuition Assistance and Veterans Administration Funding. Funds can come from the department of Defense or from each military branch, and tuition assistance will depend on eligibility.

University of Idaho

  • https://www.uidaho.edu/
  • There are benefits offered to active members of the military, veterans, and their dependents. Furthermore, this institution has partnerships that offer special internships for veterans as well as aid in finding employment after graduation. Similarly, there is a specialized adviser to provide assistance from the enrollment process until graduation.
  • This university is eligible for government programs dedicated to funding military education. There are different scholarship programs offered especially directed toward veterans. These include Operation Education, which is a nationwide program, and the Military Appreciation Scholarship, which is directed to online students who are in active duty.

Murray State University

  • https://www.murraystate.edu/
  • Active military members, veterans and dependents are all eligible for benefits at this institution. Among the benefits offered, military training is considered for college credits and veteran students have their own lounge. In addition, there are counseling services with professionals trained in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as family therapy.
  • The university offers numerous financial benefits, including a waiver of the admission fee to active-member undergraduates, as well as a waiver for online fees. Similarly, graduation cords are free for veteran members as well as a specially-designed payment plan.

Iowa State University

  • https://www.admissions.iastate.edu/
  • This university offers Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, which are available to all branches of the military. There are online programs as well as combined programs in which online and on campus studies are offered. Military service is accepted as college credit in certain cases. There is a Veterans Center, which provides assistance to veterans, active members, and their dependents.
  • Veterans and active members are eligible for in-state tuition fees. The university is also eligible for government-funded programs. There is a wide number of scholarships available to veterans, active members and their dependents.

East Carolina University

  • https://info.ecu.edu/
  • Active members, veterans, and dependents are all included in the special programs the university offers to this population. There is an office of Student Veterans Services, which offers special aid to provide orientation to veterans and active members. There is also the Registrar Office, which offers assistance on issues that include financial aid as well as credit transfer.
  • This university is eligible for government-funded programs such as Yellow Ribbon and the application of the GI Bill. There is also access to the North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs Scholarship among other available scholarships specifically destined to veterans or active members.

Dallas Baptist University

  • https://whydbu.dbu.edu/
  • This Christian university offers acceptance of military training as college credits. They have designated specific workers in offices of the university to assist on issues pertaining to active military members or veteran students. Students can design their study schedule, including completely online programs.
  • This institution is eligible for programs such as the GI Bill, which can cover up to 100% of the fees. Also, the DBU Patriot Veterans Opportunity Scholarship is offered as a form of financial aid.

Viterbo University

  • https://www.viterbo.edu/
  • This university has designated workers specialized on veteran affairs to help this population, their relatives as well as active military members with their enrollment, financial concerns as well as to offer counseling.
  • The institution is eligible for government-funded programs, which include veterans, active members, and their dependents. The Wisconsin National Guard Tuition Grant is also available for students who are part of the National Guard.

Duquesne University

University of Mississippi

  • https://olemiss.edu/
  • This university has an office for Veteran & Military Services, which helps veterans, active members, and dependents in the process of enrolling and getting their education. Additionally, they offer early access to classes to veterans and active members. College credits may be accepted after evaluation of military training certifications.
  • The University of Mississippi offers a Military Non-Resident Tuition Scholarship to active members and veterans as well as eligible dependents. There are seven more scholarships available to the military population, and the university is eligible for GI Bill benefits.

Northern Arizona University

  • https://in.nau.edu/
  • This institution has a Veteran Success Service, which focuses on providing orientation and assistance to active members of the military, veterans, and their dependents both in person and online. Furthermore, the College of Business has its own Veterans Center where students can find support for every step of their academic career.
  • This institution is eligible for tuition assistance offered by the Department of Defense, which can cover up to 100% of tuition fees. In addition, there are four more scholarships available to military students.

Oklahoma State University

  • The Veteran Benefits Services section of the Office of the Registrar offers comprehensive information and assistance to veterans, active members, and their dependents. Military training can be considered for college credits after careful evaluation of the certifications provided.
  • This university is eligible for government-funded benefits for military members, veterans, and their dependents. These include GI Bills and the Yellow Ribbon Programs. Tuition assistance can be obtained through the respective military branch the student is connected to.

University of The Incarnate Word

  • https://www.uiw.edu/
  • Flexible schedules are offered, with programs that are 100% online. In addition, there are specialized programs for the Air Forces, including the UW General Education Mobility Program (GEM) and the Air University Associate to Bachelor co-operative program (AU-ABC). Programs are offered with 8-week accelerated courses.
  • There are numerous financial benefits offered to active military members and veterans, which include free textbooks, waivers on academic fees, as well as adjusted tuition. Tuition assistance is available, as well as a special program focused on spouses of military members.

Regis University

  • https://www.regis.edu/
  • This university offers online courses with flexible schedules, as well as credit transfers, and preferential tuition rates to military members and veterans. There is also a Veteran's Resource Center, where they offer assistance as well as Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • Military members, veterans, and their eligible dependents receive a $50 waiver for their application. Moreover, there are preferred tuition adjustments, which vary depending on the program. These can be 10% discounts per each credit hour in graduate programs, or a rate of $275 per credit hour in undergraduate programs. Finally, the Yellow Ribbon Program and GI bills are eligible at this institution.

Troy University

  • This institution has been offering special services to members of the military, veterans, and their dependents for almost 70 years. They offer online programs, as well as courses accessible to 30 military institutions around the world. Furthermore, there are specialized programs in partnership with most branches of the military. These include the ConCurrent Admissions Program for the Army, the GEM program for the Air Forces, the Navy College Distance Learning Partnership, and the Leadership Scholar Program for the Marines.
  • Troy University is eligible for the Yellow Ribbon and GI Bills programs. In addition, they offer the TROY Military and Family Scholarship. The amount of the scholarship will depend on the number of credits taken, which is awarded to both active members of the military and their dependents.

Ball State University

  • https://www.bsu.edu/
  • There is a Student Veteran Organization, which has the goal of providing assistance to veterans, active members, and their dependents as well as promoting social activities. There are also counseling and disability services available, to help veterans transition into student life.
  • Students at Ball State University who have been in the military, are an active member of it, or are dependents are eligible for different government-funded programs to cover their tuition costs. Children of disabled Indiana-veterans might be eligible for waivers of both their tuition and other corresponding fees.

Niagara University

  • https://www.niagara.edu/
  • This university has been offering benefits to veterans and active members since the end of World War II. This institution recognizes military training as college credit after examining the corresponding certifications. Also, they offer military online courses, with accelerated 4-week courses for certain programs. There is also a veteran private lounge as well as a student organization for veterans.
  • There are over 13 different scholarships available to veterans, active members or their dependents at Niagara University. The GI Bills are also recognized at this institution.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • https://reg.uncg.edu/
  • This university has a team dedicated to the needs of veterans, active members, and their dependents. This team offers assistance both on and off campus, and they work as liaisons between the university and the Veteran's Administration office.
  • This university is eligible for GI Bills benefits. Also, there are different scholarships offered, including the North Carolina Scholarship for Children of War-Time Veterans and the Fry Scholarship. Active members of the military can also choose to use their tuition assistance funded by the government.

Hampton University

  • http://www.hamptonu.edu/
  • Military training can be considered for college credit at Hampton University. The university offers assistance in every step of the enrollment process, as well as fully online programs and a counseling services.
  • One of the scholarships available at this university is the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship, which is offered to children of military members who died on duty. The university also works closely with the Department of Veteran Affairs to offer benefits contemplated in the GI Bills as well as the Yellow Ribbon Program.



Sources
Sources

From Part 02