09/26/10 — WCC among most military-friendly schools

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WCC among most military-friendly schools

By Staff Reports
Published in News on September 26, 2010 1:50 AM

Wayne Community College has been recognized for its commitment to responding to the educational needs of active duty military and veterans.

G.I. Jobs, a publication and website serving people in transition from the military to civilian life, included WCC on its 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools, released in late August.

More than 7,000 schools nationwide were polled on www.gijobs.com to create the list. Criteria included efforts made to recruit and retain military and veteran students and academic accreditations.

Only about 15 percent of the nation's private and public colleges, universities and trade schools qualified for the list. They had to meet benchmarks for the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

Wayne Community College has worked to help those in the military achieve their educational goals, said Dori Frasier, director of the college's programs at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"I tell them that education gives you choices," she said. "Whether they plan to stay in the military or start something new, education opens the door."

Nearly 400 active duty military or veterans are enrolled full-time at WCC. That figure represents about one-tenth of its student body.

The college primarily serves airmen in pursuit of two goals -- their Community College of the Air Force degrees in areas relative to their assignments or associate degrees for college transfer.

Many of those students are new airmen, only months out of high school, but also some returning from deployments, Frasier said.

WCC also sees many service members nearing retirement or preparing for a second career, she said. They may be polishing their skills or pursuing new interests.

"They may be a little more focused on their educational goals than traditional students," she said. "That's the reason many of them joined the military, for the educational benefits."

Typically, the Air Force pays 100 percent of the students' tuition and fees, while students are responsible for books and other supplies.

The college has expanded its online course catalog, enabling students to attend classes while deployed. It also offers eight-week terms for other courses, which helps airmen schedule their class load around military assignments.

In addition to the program on base, the college also has a veterans affairs representative who helps veterans access their benefits.