Monday, March 30, 2009

Military Programs Let Students Aim High

Arizona residents who choose a career in the military don’t have to forgo an education thanks to educational programs offered by Rio Salado College.

Rio Salado partners with the Army National Guard Institute, the Coast Guard Institute, eArmyU and GoArmyEd to offer service members a variety of online certificate and degree programs with military emphasis.

“A service member’s mission is to provide protection for the country, while our mission is to provide them with an education,” said Yvonne Lawrence, coordinator of Rio Salado’s Military Education program.

“The populations that we serve are active duty and veteran personnel and their dependents,” said Lawrence.

Currently, more than 2,700 GoArmyEd students and 1,900 students from the other Armed Forces are taking classes through Rio Salado.

“We have a variety of students located overseas, in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Lawrence. “Rio’s online format is conducive for them to continue their education while they are deployed. No matter where they are, if they have access to the Internet, they can go to college.”

According to Lawrence, the most popular courses that service members take online are computer technology, military leadership and medical prerequisites.

The federal government’s Department of Veterans Affairs offers various educational assistance programs for veterans, active duty personnel and reservists, which will include the Post-9/11 GI Bill available in August 2009.

Benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill will include a monthly housing allowance as well as money for tuition, books and other fees associated with attending a university, community colleges or trade school.

Army veteran and Rio Salado student Rajeeyah White already had an associate degree when she completed her military assignment in 2003.

“When I was discharged, I decided to go back to school to become a dietician or nutritionist,” said White. “I decided to take online classes because I have a little one at home. This allowed me to spend time with him and be a good mom and pursue my education at the same time.”

Rio’s Military Education program is managed by an experienced five-person advisement team that assists students with military transcript evaluation, course selection, degree plans, and graduation.

“Rio is dedicated to making sure military service members complete their degrees while they are serving our country,” said Lawrence.

For more information about the Rio’s Military Education program visit www.riosalado.edu/military.

About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado, founded in 1978, is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona. The college serves more than 60,000 students annually, more than half online, making it the “college within everyone’s reach.” Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs. For more information visit www.riosalado.edu.
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