Army online education marches forward

The Army released the formal request for proposals Sept. 13 for Army University Access Online, a $550 million initiative to allow service members to earn degrees and technical certification online.

The service also announced the selection of Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Hood, Texas, as the initial sites to implement the online education initiative in 2001.

Army leaders had indicated in July the initial sites would be chosen based on existing information technology infrastructure, such as fiber-optic cable. The program will be expanded to include all soldiers and possibly their family members.

The Army has the online education initiative on the fast track. It was kicked off in July and is slated to begin in January. The service has committed $48 million this year and $550 million during the next five years.

The initiative is designed to offer eligible soldiers the opportunity to obtain higher education degrees, such as associate, bachelor's and master's degrees or technical certification. Participating soldiers will be provided with laptop computers, which will become theirs to keep.

A preproposal conference is scheduled for Sept. 22 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., to provide an overview of the solicitation and to discuss evaluation, negotiation and award procedures.

The Army has also established a Web site providing information about Army University Access Online at www.earmyu.com.

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