Virtual College becomes official part of U.S. Army voluntary education

Today Fort Hays State University officially became part of U.S. Army voluntary education as a "letter of instruction" school, meaning that Army personnel can receive full tuition assistance to enroll in FHSU's degree programs.

To start, the university will offer two fully online degrees through the GoArmyEd portal. With "letter of instruction" (LOI) status, FHSU gains official membership in the eArmyU program.

The first two degrees to be offered are the Bachelor of Science in justice studies and the Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership.

Cindy Elliott, assistant provost for strategic partnerships and dean of distance learning, said she is excited to offer something back to those serving our country. "Fort Hays State has a great offering of quality online programs and the military is perfect for the university," she said. "We are truly excited to begin this partnership. I thank so many within FHSU who have worked to launch these degrees today. The Army must be pleased because they have already contacted us to launch the flexible Bachelor of General Studies degree in January."

Through the GoArmyEd portal, U.S. Army personnel can conduct all the business of registering, enrolling and taking classes.

Dennis King, director of the Virtual College and Learning Technologies at FHSU, said that Army students can enroll in other programs at the university, but those must be approved by a soldier's Army educational services counselor on a case-by-case basis.

"For the past six months, faculty and staff from Fort Hays State University have been 'on-boarding' the GoArmyEd portal," said King. "This has been a long process that has involved a lot of people from across campus."

Dr. Robert Scott, chair of the Department of Justice Studies at FHSU, said that having members of the armed forces in classes is a great experience for everyone involved. "The diversity of views and experiences help build an effective learning community," he said.

"The process has involved connecting our systems to the Army portal, and through a series of tests, degree maps and file versions, we are ready," said King. "In the end, being able to assist soldiers in completing their educational needs is worth it."

More than 130 universities and colleges are LOI schools in eArmyU. FHSU is an approved Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges university for the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. In addition to the new Army partnership, the university currently has active students from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard.

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