More Soldiers now eligible for eArmyU
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 12, 2005) -- Changes in re-enlistment criteria effective Oct. 1 broaden eligibility for Soldiers to participate in the eArmU laptop enrollment option, officials said, and extend the program's no-laptop option to all officers.
Under the new requirements, the majority of active-component Soldiers in the rank of private first class and higher may be eligible to sign up for online college courses and receive a laptop computer to use in the program, officials said. Laptop enrollees will be required to successfully complete at least 12 semester hours of coursework in three years.
"Soldiers have greater access and flexibility with the eArmyU program than they do with the traditional programs, where they've got to go and sit in the classroom every Monday and Wednesday evening, or at lunchtime, or over the weekend, at a very structured kind of pace," said Dian Stoskopf, director of the Army Continuing Education System (ACES).
The number of Soldiers approved for the laptop enrollment will be constrained based on program funding, officials said.
The eArmyU "no laptop" enrollment, now called "eCourse enrollment," will also be extended to all officers beginning this month, officials said.
"We realize that officers are very busy with their military careers and often don't have the time to attend traditional classes on a routine basis," said Stoskopf. "eArmyU is portable. Officers can take this program anywhere they have internet access."
With eCourse enrollment, Soldiers use their personal computers to participate in the program on a course-by-course basis and receive all the same benefits as laptop enrollees as part of tuition.
eArmyU tuition includes textbooks, Internet Service Provider, 24/7 technology support, a "boot camp" tutorial, and online academic tutoring and mentoring.
Officers and commissioned warrant officers incur a two-year active-duty service obligation beginning upon the ending date of the last class for which tuition assistance was received.
The Army launched eArmyU in 2001 to offer eligible Soldiers the opportunity to work toward a college degree or certificate online. The program began with selected installations and was expanded Army-wide this year. To date, more than 60,000 Soldiers have taken courses from 29 regionally-accredited colleges and universities.
Stoskopf contends that the program benefits not only individual Soldiers but also the Army as a whole.
"The program assists in building today's and tomorrow's future force by offering unprecedented academic access, choice, and flexibility in an online learning environment," she says. "eArmyU successfully reaches a new generation of Soldier-students and helps them achieve their academic goals.
"eArmyU develops educated technology savvy Soldiers who can succeed in the network-centric missions and battlespaces of the 21st century. It integrates educational opportunity with troop readiness, strengthening the Army's commitment to an agile, versatile, and adaptive force. And it serves as a retention tool by empowering a new population of Soldiers to reach their educational goals."
All active-component Soldiers who want to participate are required to have approval from an Army Continuing Education System counselor as well as their commander. They must follow the documentation and timeline procedures for processing of the eArmyU Participation Agreement which must be returned within 30 days of issuance.
There is no Service Remaining Requirement with the eCourse option. However, Soldiers must have sufficient time in service remaining to complete the eArmyU course in which they are enrolling.
The laptop option is available to Soldiers in the rank of specialist to staff sergeant, with less than 10 years of service and staff sergeants to sergeants major with more than 10 years of active service in an indefinite status, with more than three years to their retention control point, officials said. Active-duty privates first class, with less than 24 months time in service (those Soldiers who entered on a 15-month-plus training enlistment option) may also be eligible.
Soldiers may re-enlist or extend to meet the 3-year service remaining requirement, officials said. They said enlisted careerists not currently in an indefinite status must re-enlist and become indefinite.
More extensive eligibility information is located on the eArmyU Web Page at www.eArmyU.com under "View Eligibility Checklist" and in the Frequently Asked Questions.