How University of Phoenix helps military students
Whether in wartime or peacetime, the heavy demands and regimented structure of serving in the U.S. Armed Forces mean military students have different needs than traditional students, according to Mike Bibbee, vice president of internal operations for the University of Phoenix Military Division.
“They sacrifice a great deal to serve our country, and for that alone, we owe them more than we can ever repay,” he says. With that in mind, here’s how the University goes the extra mile to support military students:
The Military Division has more than 900 staffers, many of whom are veterans, says Bibbee, a former U.S. Air Force noncommissioned officer. “We have a Ground Centralization Team in Phoenix that manages [military] students throughout the [University] system,” he says, noting that the team provides academic support and financial aid guidance to military students worldwide.
“When a military student calls us, they’re talking to someone who speaks the language and has lived that life,” he says. “It’s almost like a ‘welcome home.’”
Many places to learn
Regardless of your military service demands or location, the University can accommodate your educational needs.
“Having been a military student myself, I know it can get very frustrating to try to schedule around rigid semesters when you’re out on missions or in the midst of a Permanent Change of Station move,” Bibbee says. But with new classes of cohorts starting every week, military students can select a convenient time to start.
Online courses are ideal for active-duty servicemembers, he notes, adding that the University also has Military Approved Provider campuses near several bases stateside, and teaches on many bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Special tuition rates
Military tuition rates of $250 a credit hour are available to active-duty personnel — including Reserves and National Guard servicemembers — as well as their spouses, Bibbee points out. “This rate matches current [U.S. Department of Defense] tuition assistance benefits,” he says.
Help navigating GI benefits
Qualified veterans can get tuition money through the GI Bill® program.
“Our enrollment [representatives] are trained on the GI Bill,” Bibbee says. “The GI Bill gets thrown out as a single term, but there are a lot of different parts,” he explains, adding that tuition benefit amounts can vary, depending on the individual. “Even I had trouble understanding my [GI Bill] benefits,” he notes.
Credit for military experience
Training and experience gained in the military can be credited toward your University degree program.
“We follow guidance from the American Council on Education to evaluate military training and determine its value in terms of college credit,” Bibbee explains, emphasizing that within 24 hours of military students seeking information, enrollment representatives can usually assess how their military experience will fit into various degree programs.
Career planning tools
Phoenix Career Services™ offers a military hub with specific content for military students. It provides articles on common career challenges faced by veterans and active-duty servicemembers planning civilian careers, such as how to write your first civilian resumé, how to promote yourself in the business world without using military jargon and how to navigate the civilian job market.
“We wanted to offer our military students the best one-stop shop for career planning anywhere,” says Igor Khayet, director of strategy for the Education to Careers team.
He notes that the hub’s key feature is the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Skills Translator, which suggests civilian occupations based on active-duty MOS codes. Military students also can use the hub for two hours of complimentary, one-on-one career coaching.
In addition, the Phoenix Career Guidance System™ and Job Market Research Tool help military students “gain an understanding of where they’ve been … and where they want to go in the future,” Bibbee says. “Our goal is to help students make an informed decision — the right student, the right degree, at the right time.”
GI Bill is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at benefits.va.gov/gibill.