The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of South Carolina has signed an education agreement with Excelsior College that will allow VFW members and their spouses/domestic partners to pursue undergraduate degree with special pricing.
The new statewide partnership builds toward a national VFW objective aimed at drawing younger veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan seeking educational opportunity. Under the agreement, VFW members receive reduced tuition and fees at the undergraduate-level and a 15 percent discount on graduate tuition.
“The state of South Carolina VFW is proud to partner with Excelsior College on this important initiative,” said State Commander Rodney “Rod” Burne, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of South Carolina. “Our veterans have made sacrifices above and beyond what should be expected of any citizen. Through this partnership, we hope to give back and provide each of them and their spouses with an opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and that begins with a college education.”
South Carolina is home to approximately 421,000 veterans according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs with the number expected to grow in the coming years as servicemembers return to South Carolina from serving overseas. The Department of South Carolina VFW currently counts 15,800 members among its 81posts.
Excelsior, a regionally accredited nonprofit distance learning college based in Albany, New York, has a long and successful history serving the veteran community that began with its founding in 1971. In addition to extensive online programming, Excelsior is also home to Excelsior College® Examinations, an extensive credit-by-examination program that provides an additional pathway to affordable degree completion.
“Since it was founded in 1971, Excelsior has focused on expanding opportunities for veterans of all conflicts to achieve their educational goals,” said Excelsior College President John F. Ebersole. “We are proud to welcome the South Carolina VFW into our Excelsior family and commend this fine organization for its continuing efforts to encourage and support the educational achievement of its members.”
Among the more than 37,000 currently enrolled students, more than15,000 count themselves as active duty or of veteran-status. And of the more than 4,643 Excelsior graduates in the 2012-2013 academic year, 34 percent were members of the U.S. military.
The College offers an extensive range of academic support programs and services tailored to veterans, including career counseling and financial counseling on veteran benefits. Many financial aid and academic advisors are veterans themselves.
In August 2013, Excelsior launched the Lt. Col. Bryant A. Murray Veterans Center, with a robust array of support services including a mentorship program open to anyone in the military community including active duty and veterans, their family members, and Department of Defense Civilians.
In addition, Excelsior accepts prior military training in the form of academic transfer credit based on recommendations from the American Council on Education’s Military Evaluations Program. Each year, Excelsior accepts approximately 65,000 military training program credits per year toward completion of undergraduate degree programs.
Under the agreement, veterans may enroll in degree programs from any of Excelsior’s schools: Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Nursing.
Excelsior College’s other education credentials include:
• G.I. Jobs has named Excelsior a top military-friendly school the past four years; Military Advanced Education has recognized Excelsior College the past seven years. 2013 also marked the fourth consecutive year Excelsior was named a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times Edge magazine as well as a “Best for Vets” business school.
• Excelsior’s course, “Success Strategies for Military and Veterans” earned the 2010-2011 Innovation Award from the Center for Transforming Student Services (CENTSS). The course provides college and career orientation to veterans and military members and teaches transition strategies for those entering the civilian workforce after a military career.
• Excelsior is a recipient of the Council of College and Military Educators’ (CCME) Institutional Award.
• Excelsior’s military academic advising team includes veterans who are uniquely attuned to the unique needs of military students, veterans and their spouses.
• CME Executive Director Susan Dewan is the recipient of the 2011 William E. Kennedy Award from the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), which recognizes leadership in providing higher education programs to personnel at U.S. military installations.
• Excelsior President Ebersole is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who served in Vietnam and received the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award in 2010 for his leadership in contributing to the Army’s educational mission.