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Wayne Community College called 'military friendly'

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 3, 2011 1:46 PM

G.I. Jobs, a magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has awarded Wayne Community College the designation of "Military Friendly School."

The 2012 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members and veterans as students.

Wayne Community College is one of 52 institutions in North Carolina to earn the designation. The list and information on each of the recognized schools can be found at www.militaryfriendlyschools. com.

Wayne Community College has strived to help service members achieve their educational goals, said Dori Fraser, director of the colleges 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 -- more than a tenth of the student body.

WCC primarily serves airmen in pursuit of either 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, many only months out of high school but also some returning from deployments, Frasier said.

The college also sees many service members who are nearing retirement or transition to second careers. 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, which enables 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 at its Wayne Memorial Drive campus to help veterans access their benefits.

Such factors earned WCC a spot on the list of 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools that made the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans' clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to those who served.

"The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the right overall experience," said Michael Dakduk, executive director of the Student Veterans of America.

Service members and veterans can also meet individual student veterans from the various schools virtually on the site to learn more about personal school decisions and the transition from the military to an academic environment. "Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans," Dakduk said.

The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an academic advisory board consisting of educators from schools across the country.

A full story and detailed list of Military Friendly Schools will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools publication and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in early October. Also, the newly redesigned Web site features interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans with school decisions.

G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business which also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation's military-friendly employers, military spouse-friendly employers and best corporations for veteran-owned businesses.

Wayne Community College is a public, two-year college located in Goldsboro with an open-door admission policy. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, it serves 14,500 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 90 college credit programs.