Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Triwest scholarship benefits military/family

Recent Rio Salado College graduate Dina Styles completed her associate’s degree in computer technology while traveling the world.
An online student, Styles has taken her Rio Salado classes while her husband, an active military member was stationed in various states and countries including Okinawa, Hawaii and Japan. Styles earned her degree taking just one or two classes a semester as she juggled her family responsibilities. She even continued her studies while her husband was deployed for more than 18 months.
“I selected online classes because of their flexibility,” said Styles. I could take care of my family and spend a couple of hours doing my work,” Styles added.
The online format made it possible for Styles to carry on with her college studies no matter where she was and what her husband was doing.
”I think online classes are great, especially for those of us who have busy a lifestyle and those in the military always have something going on,” said Styles.
A new scholarship for the military may make earning a college degree in these tough economic times even easier. TriWest Healthcare Alliance has created a special scholarship program for Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community College District for military service members and their families. A Service Members Opportunity College (SOC), Rio Salado has more than 5,000 service members currently enrolled.
“With our online focus we are really able to cater to the needs of the military,” Rio Salado College Vice-President Chris Bustamante said.
As a SOC member, Rio Salado has been serving the military for nearly three decades starting with educational opportunities at Luke Air Force Base.
While Rio Salado College has been educating military members serving around the world for years, they are also increasing their focus on military spouses.
“We recognize the need for dual incomes and providing military spouses with the opportunity to gain a college education and a career that works well with the military way of life,” Yvonne Lawrence coordinator of Military Programs at Rio Salado College said.
“Rio Salado online course work allows spouses around the globe to earn college credit even though they maintain a very transitory life,” Lawrence said.
Rio Salado has a dedicated military advisement team. These advisors understand the needs and challenges of going to college while serving one’s country, Lawrence said. The college’s schedule is also conducive to the military lifestyle with classes starting more than just once a semester but every Monday.
“TriWest is privileged to partner with the Maricopa Community Colleges to provide this opportunity for U.S. service members and their families,” said David J. McIntyre, president and CEO for TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which sponsors the new scholarship. “It is the least we can do in return for the opportunities that we all have as Americans, thanks to their service to our country.”
TriWest is a Phoenix-based corporation that partners with the Department of Defense to support the health care needs of 2.7 million members of the military, is open to military members and their families.
Scholarship winners will be awarded a maximum of $500 per applicant per term. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books or stipends. Priority will be given to Rio Salado College students but the scholarship is available to all MCCCD students on request who have a financial need. Applicants must enroll in a minimum of three credit hours a term. Scholarship winners must maintain a 2.0 grade point average to receive subsequent scholarship funding.
Applicants for the scholarship must be service members, spouses or dependents of someone who is in the active, reserve, or guard component of any U. S. military service branch
For more information on the TriWest Military Scholarship visit the MCCCD Foundation web site at http://www.maricopa.edu/resdev/scholarships/apply.php
or call at 480-731-8407. Applicants can also go to the Rio Salado web site at http://www.riosalado.edu/triwest/ or call 480- 517-8000 or 1-800-729-1129.