Active duty military members are spending more than twice the amount of forecasted time to complete two and four-year college degrees. A Department of Defense report shows the average period it takes a service member to complete an associate degree is seven years and a bachelor’s degree is eight years. A number of factors contribute to the elongated path to graduation with deployments and transfer orders being among the reasons cited. To assist this demographic of working adult students, Purdue Global continues to innovate and offer programs based on “extreme personalization” for current serving military, veterans and their families.
Virtual curriculum for mobile students
Online education is often a popular option for student veterans looking to pursue a degree while managing a career and family responsibilities. For a community constantly on-the-go, the convenience of logging in from any geographic location makes it more likely that the student can achieve their desired outcome of graduating. Purdue Global, a nonprofit accredited institution, has adapted its offerings to the needs of military-connected students—including awarding credit for military experience and offering assistance with VA education benefits.
The university also worked with external organizations to offer accelerated programs hyper-tailored to personnel from the Air Force and Coast Guard. Meg O’Grady, Vice President of Military and Public Sector Solutions at Purdue Global, says the university has already translated experience gained in the military to its core courses.
“One of the things that we have done at Purdue Global that puts us an industry leader is that we have customized our degree programs to incorporate military occupational specialty (MOS) training across the services,” she said. “So, when we get a transcript from a service member, it doesn’t just go into a group of electives. It goes straight into that degree program.”
Optimization of already completed military training
O’Grady explains that advisors look at each individual student’s background, which includes military training along with any additional credits earned from prior coursework. Through the PME2Degree program, the average military graduate is awarded 55 percent of credit needed for an associate degree and approximately 35 percent for a bachelor’s degree, according to the university website. The goal, she says, is to optimize what they have already learned to get them closer to that degree.
“For example, if we have a military medic student who has gone through Fort Sam Houston—at the military education and training center—they can take our associate of health science and just with the training they’ve had through Fort Sam Houston … and within seven to 10 courses they can complete their associates, and not only complete that associates, but step into a bachelor of health science in four different disciplines, then receive that degree in 13 to 17 courses,” O’Grady described.
Overall, the intent is to ensure student veterans are not wasting their time by duplicating efforts and instead are getting maximum results for anything completed when they start at the university.
Added value for future career plans
To date, O’Grady says Purdue Global has mapped out 40 percent of MOS training, which aids veterans regardless of what they plan to do next. This is especially beneficial to those students who may want to pursue a job completely different from what they did in uniform.
“For instance, if we have a military policeman come into one of our programs we’re not just going to say, ‘hey, you’re a military policeman, let’s put you in our criminal justice program’. Even though we have a wonderful program for them … but if a MP says they want to go into business instead, we’ve actually taken that military occupational specialty training and translated it into our business program. We’ve translated into our IT program. So, we don’t look at that training as just something specific to their career in the military, we want to take that training to show how valuable it is across the board,” she said.
Purdue Global offers all levels of degrees through doctoral programs. O’Grady says the institution’s main objective is to help students land a successful career.
“Our eventual goal for that student is not just a degree. We want them to earn that credential, but what we want for them is a great career path, whether that’s staying in the military and using that credential to move up through the ranks and add value to their career that way, or when they transition out,” O’Grady added.
Learn more about Purdue University Global’s Military-Friendly Online College Programs.Read comments