University of Phoenix named Military-Friendly School for fourth consecutive year
University of Phoenix continues to be a top education destination for military students. As such, the University was named to G.I. Jobs’ list of Military-Friendly Schools for the fourth consecutive year.
“I believe we’ve been so successful in winning this accolade year after year because we really hold our military students in high regard,” says Garland Williams, PhD, associate regional vice president of the University of Phoenix Military Division. “Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population volunteers for military service, and in recognition of that, we want to be an institution that helps pay our servicemembers back for their sacrifice.”
A retired U.S. Army colonel himself, Williams believes that the combination of the University’s flexible degree programs and an integrated team of military advisors who understand this particular student population is the key to being a Military-Friendly School. And the proof is in the numbers. “We currently have more than 60,000 military graduates,” Williams says.
What attracts military students to University of Phoenix in such high numbers? “I think it’s because we really strive to develop educational programs that integrate seamlessly with military life,” Williams says. “The American Council on Education (ACE) has studied existing military training programs extensively, and as such we attempt to give our military students full ACE credit for the work and training they’ve already done. Very few of our military students come in with zero credits.”
Beginning in 2011, the University also streamlined graduate tuition and fees for all active-duty military students and spouses to make its programs more accessible. “We have something called the Ground Centralization Team, which assesses our Military Division students and their families the same tuition and fee rates, regardless of location,” Williams explains. “This standardization is helpful for military students who may have to switch between campuses due to military moves, some of which would ordinarily be more expensive than others.”
The push for higher education among our nation’s military reflects a national trend, according to Williams. “Our military is more educated than it has ever been in history,” he says. “I think that reflects what is happening in the civilian world. These days, you can no longer aspire to a middle-class life without a college degree, and our enlisted men and women are really taking that to heart.”
Enlisted servicemembers become particularly interested in pursuing college degrees as they consider transitioning back to civilian life, according to Williams. “Unemployment among veterans remains high, and we want to be part of the solution to this problem,” he says. “We recommend active-duty military embark on a two-year civilian transition plan before leaving the service, and that includes higher education. We want our veterans to be competitive and employable from day one of civilian life.”
To help facilitate this, University of Phoenix Military Division advisors are well versed in the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill and military tuition assistance reimbursement programs, as well as helping students get all available credit for existing military training. “Dealing with military students is our full-time job,” Williams says. “You don’t see that at most other institutions.”