For Our Military Community, Opportunities Abound Online

Jake Riddell
Senior Manager, Public Relations
WGU Washington

With Veteran’s Day on November 11, this time of year sparks a heightened pride and appreciation for those who serve in the US Armed Forces. Many Americans observe moments of silence, donate to charities, and participate in ceremonies honoring military women and men. We tip our caps and thank them for their brave service.

For the Greater Spokane business community, this is also an opportunity to reinforce the important role our military plays in the prosperity of the region. The active duty, veteran personnel, and military spouses living in the Inland Northwest help drive the economy and keep Spokane competitive in the broader marketplace. To ensure those women and men are supported and well-positioned to contribute to the local workforce, many resources are woven into the fabric of this region, particularly in online, higher education.

Providing a pathway to career-ready skills and knowledge via online learning is vital to the sustained vitality of the military community. Postsecondary institutions recognize the power and effectiveness of that modality and how earning degrees online works well for those in and around the Armed Forces. Here are a few reasons why online learning is a good fit for the military community and their families:

Flexibility

Whether a person is currently serving, is married to a servicemember, or has left the service, traditional, brick-and-mortar education may not be compatible with the demands of a military lifestyle. Active-duty personnel might live on base, work unusual hours, and regularly be asked to relocate across the country or around the world. Driving to campus and getting to class on a set schedule would be nearly impossible. The same can be said for military spouses, who frequently raise kids and run households alone through deployments and transitions. Online education allows students to study and learn when it’s convenient for them – and oftentimes advance through coursework at an individualized pace.

People who’ve left the military are older than conventional college students and, in many cases, have established, hard-earned skills and knowledge. Education delivered online though a competency-based model doesn’t require students to sit through content they already know; they can focus on what they need to learn and graduate sooner.

Mobility

As mentioned above, the possibility of relocation is always looming for servicemembers and their families. Online learners have the peace of mind knowing, if and when they move, they can take their studies with them. There’s no need to drop out or transfer to a different institution; as long as there’s highspeed internet, the learning experience is seamless. Many students study and graduate on bases overseas.

Affordability

Tuition at colleges and universities with online degree programs may be lower than traditional institutions. Some online degree programs, such as WGU Washington, charge a flat-rate tuition, meaning students can take as many courses during a term as they’d like without having to spend more money.

Another benefit is many online degree programs are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs for all education benefits offered under the GI Bill. Also, it is common for colleges and universities to offer exclusive scholarship opportunities to active-duty and retired military personnel, veterans, reservists, and their spouses and children.

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