UNC-Chapel Hill has announced a new push to help veterans and active-duty military pursue higher education.
At an event attended by students in uniform Wednesday, Chancellor Carol Folt announced an online education program available to active-duty military, so they can take introductory, general courses that could lead to an undergraduate degree. The program, dubbed UNC Core, will allow soldiers, sailors, Marines and Air Force members to take UNC courses at a distance – from their bases across North Carolina or at military installations around the world.
The university also created a student veteran assistance program, including a new full-time coordinator to help veteran students navigate the campus.
Folt said the university had experienced a 95 percent increase in the number of students using GI Bill benefits since 2009-10. Between fall of 2014 and 2015, she said, the university doubled the number of incoming transfer students identified as veterans and active-duty service members.
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“We’re really proud of that, and we want to make sure we’re ready and able to give the proper services,” she said.
The program was created in conjunction with the UNC Board of Governors and the UNC system staff.
Online courses make it easier for on-the-move service members, reservists and National Guard members to begin pursuing degrees wherever they are, while they’re serving the country, Folt said.
“We don’t want them to have to wait,” she said. “We want to make it possible to have a jump start, as part of that military service, into the next phases of their lives.”
The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at UNC already has 250 online courses that serve adult and nontraditional students. The center will offer these flexible courses, along with customized plans and academic advising, to military service members, who can complete general education classes and later apply to UNC system campuses.
“It doesn’t matter where you are,” said Rob Bruce, director of the center. “You can be at Fort Bragg, or Camp Lejeune, or Seymour Air Force Base, or you can be in East Asia, or North Africa or Europe.”
The program’s website is unccore.org.