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Making room for the military

Some colleges and universities are strengthening programs that extend instruction to active members of the armed forces
University Business, August 2017

Active members of the military represent their own component of the nontraditional population. They may be older and first-generation, but the demands of deployment and service mean they can’t attend full-time or remain at the same institution for all four years of their college education.

A few institutions have been busy over the last several years strengthening programs that extend instruction to active members of the armed forces.

About 40 percent of Hawai‘i Pacific University’s undergraduates are over 25 years old, and many of those students are in the military.


Link to main story: Recruiting an adult and first generation college student


To make its programs more attractive, the university will grant students as many as two years’ worth of college credits for skills learned in the military. Military students who have attended another four-year institution can transfer up to three years’ worth of credits.

The university also holds classes on Hawaii’s handful of military installations and stations with advisors on base, so potential students can get information about their tuition benefits and how many credits they can bring to the school.

Park University, which has a main campus near Kansas City, Missouri, operates 40 satellite campuses—33 of which are on bases manned by all branches of the military. The revenue stream is minimal, because military members pay a discount rate of $250 per credit hour. But the university can use base facilities at no cost.

Park’s arrangement prevents other higher ed institutions from offering classes on the same base, says Shane Smeed, Park’s vice president and COO. “From a business standpoint, we’re also achieving one of our largest surplus years,” says Smeed, referring to his school as a whole. “We’re exceeding our financial budget.”

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