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More military-affiliated members, their families turn to ASU for online degrees

ASU military veterans
March 19, 2020

Arizona State University has a long-standing commitment to the military community and its veterans, long after they have finished active duty, and once they are ready to pursue a degree and a new career path in civilian life.

Over the past decade, more military-affiliated families have taken advantage of ASU’s growing, reputable online courses, fulfilling degrees in engineering, criminology, criminal justice studies or social work — to name a few. According to the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, about 9,700 military-affiliated students are currently enrolled at ASU. And of the university’s military-affiliated population, 73% of students attend online, according to Mario Matus, assistant director of Online Student Services at EdPlus.

Matus believes the university has experienced successful recruitment efforts because of its partnership with the Tillman Center, which helps military members transition into student life by assisting with essentials like benefits/funding processing and counseling. In addition, EdPlus has a team of specialized enrollment advisers and coaches who are trained to answer military-related questions, streamlining support and services for the military/veteran population.

“This includes increasing their knowledge on the availability and process of setting up military/VA benefits, sharing ASU resource information for military and better understanding the unique circumstances our military active duty students face when looking at starting school,” Matus said.

There’s also the appeal of accessibility for military members, especially active duty members, who can pursue an ASU degree online — while on deployment — without having to be on campus. Matus explains the university is always looking for different ways to assist the military community and better prepare them for success.

“In the past this has included creating an internal funded scholarship to help reduce costs for our undergrad active duty students using military tuition assistance,” Matus said. “We also developed a free ASU Online orientation course for newly admitted military and veteran students to take prior to their first full class to better prepare them for the online format and military-specific resources available to them.”

ASU is notably invested in research and is deeply committed to building a bridge between students and top leading defense or security-related companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to create job opportunities for ASU alums and veterans. In fiscal year 2019, ASU researchers submitted $186 million in proposals to the Department of Defense, received more than $50 million in award obligations and reached more than $36 million in DOD-funded research expenditures.

The mission to provide higher education resources to military members and their families doesn’t end there.

“We are increasing our connection with military bases around the country so we can inform students not only about ASU but education opportunities overall with on base seminars and sharing information with leadership,” Matus said. “We will continue with efforts like these to support students and prepare them for success.”

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now