Arizona VFW Partners with Excelsior College to Provide Pathway to College Degree

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars

Albany, New York – The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Arizona has signed an education agreement with Excelsior College that will allow VFW members and their spouses/domestic partners to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees for reduced tuition and fees.

The new statewide partnership builds toward a national VFW objective aimed at drawing younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan seeking educational opportunity.

“The state of Arizona VFW is very proud to have entered into this partnership with Excelsior College,” said State Commander Michael Ferguson, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Arizona. “This is another example on how the VFW is looking to reach out to all veterans, especially our younger vets just getting out of the military. We’re hoping they will take advantage of this opportunity to earn a degree and advance their skills. We believe our veterans and their spouses have earned it for their sacrifice.”

“Since our founding more than four decades ago, Excelsior has strived to serve the military and veterans communities both at home and abroad,” said Excelsior College President John F. Ebersole. “Arizona is home to more than a half-million veterans, with more coming home soon enough, as drawdowns continue and more of our brave servicemembers return from battle. This partnership will help to provide a pathway for these returning men and women to seek out a higher education.”

Arizona is home to approximately 557,000 veterans with the number expected to grow as servicemembers return to Arizona from overseas missions over the coming years. The Department of Arizona VFW currently counts 25,560 members among its 77 posts.

Excelsior, a regionally accredited nonprofit distance learning college based in Albany, New York, has a long and successful history serving the veteran community that began with its founding in 1971. In addition to broad online programming, Excelsior is also home to Excelsior College® Examinations, an extensive credit-by-examination program that provides an additional pathway to affordable degree completion.

Among the more than 37,000 currently enrolled students, over 14,000 count themselves as active-duty or of veteran status. And of the more than 5,200 Excelsior graduates in the 2011-2012 academic year, 34 percent were members of the U.S. military.

The College offers an extensive range of academic support programs and services tailored to veterans, including career counseling, financial counseling on veteran benefits, and an online veteran center with vet to vet mentorship. Many financial aid and academic advisors are veterans themselves.

In addition, Excelsior accepts prior military training in the form of academic transfer credit based on recommendations from the American Council on Education's Military Evaluations Program. Each year, Excelsior accepts approximately 50,000 military training program credits toward completion of undergraduate degree programs.

Under the agreement, veterans may enroll in degree programs from any of Excelsior’s schools: Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Nursing.

Excelsior College's other education credentials include:

• G.I. Jobs has named Excelsior a top military-friendly school the past four years and Military Advanced Education has recognized Excelsior College the past five years. For the third year in a row Excelsior College has been named a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times Edge magazine.

• Excelsior's course, "Success Strategies for Military and Veterans" earned the 2010-2011 Innovation Award from the Center for Transforming Student Services (CENTSS). The course provides college and career orientation to veterans and military members and teaches transition strategies for those entering the civilian workforce after a military career.

• Excelsior is a recipient of the Council of College and Military Educators' (CCME) Institutional Award.

• Excelsior's military academic advising team includes veterans who are uniquely attuned to the unique needs of military students, veterans and their spouses.

• Center for Military Education (CME) Executive Director Susan Dewan is the recipient of the 2011 William E. Kennedy Award from the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), which recognizes leadership in providing higher education programs to personnel at U.S. military installations.

• Excelsior President Ebersole is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who served in Vietnam and received the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award in 2010 for his leadership in contributing to the Army's educational mission.

For more information on joining the VFW in Arizona, visit the membership information page. For more information about the Arizona VFW educational partnership with Excelsior College visit either the VFW partnership or Excelsior College partnership page, email or call 888-647-2388.