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Military Campus Programs

If you are attending school through the Servicemembers Opportunity Program (SOC), chances are that your school has a form of what will, for the purposes of this article, be called a Military Campus Program (MPC). Classes offered through the MPC are sometimes on the base itself and many times offered in the evening or weekends so as not to conflict with traditional business hours.

Academic programs still need to pay attention to the bottom line; consequently, they want your business and are willing to do what it takes to get it. This includes adapting to the military community and addressing the unique needs and accommodations that come with being a member of the armed services.

Now, in no way do any of these programs make it easier for servicemen and women to pass classes; these programs make it easier to attend classes. You have the same demanding responsibilities of every other student in these institutions and receive the same education. Let’s use Hawaii Pacific University, a private institution located in Honolulu, Hawaii, as a case study.

Honolulu, Hawaii is located on the island of O’ahu, home of the United States Pacific Command; consequently there are a number of military bases. Hawaii Pacific University has a well-developed Military Campus Program that caters to all five branches of the service. Hawaii Pacific has two (civilian) campuses; Downtown (in Honolulu) and Windward (in Kaneohe). The MCP expands these options to eight other campuses located on military bases throughout the island.

And of course, the bottom line: tuition and fees. Through your branch’s tuition assistance program, you can receive up to $250 per credit hour and fees for undergraduate credit. As of 2012 at Hawaii Pacific, lower division courses cost $175 per credit hour and upper division courses cost $220 through the Military Campus Program ($195-$240 for online coursework). Regular undergraduate fees run from $335 to $830 per credit hour, a significant savings for you.

So what happens if you have to leave with little or no notice? Not something most civilian student have to take into consideration when going to school. Instructors understand that it’s in the nature of the program. Full disclosure: I grew up in Hawaii as a “Devil Pup” (daughter of a retired United States Marine) and a graduate of Hawaii Loa College, a college that was subsumed by Hawaii Pacific University in 1992. I was able, as a HLC student, to attend some MCP classes. This was during Operation Desert Shield, with the additional possibility of deployment to Bosnia and Somalia being bandied about. I witnessed firsthand the concerns of military students and the concerted effort the professor made to address and assuage the fears of students. Accommodations offered were unique to each situation, determined and approved on a case-by-case basis. No instructor, and no school, wants to penalize a soldier for doing their duty.

While each schools’ Military Campus Program runs independently, each shares the same dedication to education. All are aware that working with active-duty military students requires more flexibility than working with a traditional student body. And all want to see their students, military or otherwise, succeed in their studies.

Contributed by S.E. Davidson Parker

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