Soldiers take e-university by storm
- By George I. Seffers
- Jan 25, 2001
More than 600 soldiers enrolled in the Army's multimillion-dollar Army University
Access Online program during the first weeksome even camped out overnight
to be first in line to get equipment.
The program is designed to enable soldiers to continue their education
online no matter where they deploy. The program eventually will be available
to all Army installations and deployment locations and to officers, reserve
forces and family members.
The Army kicked off the effort Jan. 15 at three locations: Fort Benning,
Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Hood, Texas. These three posts were chosen
in part because much of the needed infrastructure is in place and the bases
have large numbers of "permanent station" soldiers, as opposed to trainees
or others on temporary duty.
The effort was announced in July. PricewaterhouseCoopers won the five-year,
$453-million contract in December.
"I think it is truly remarkable that six months after the initiative
was first announced and just over a month after the contractor was selected,
Army University Access Online is up and running," said Susie Johnson, online
program adviser with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for
manpower and reserve affairs.
"The soldiers who camped outside the Fort Benning Army Education Center
demonstrated first hand how much they want to be a part of the program.
The staff at Fort Benning that came in at 4 a.m. were amazed literally to
see hundreds of soldiers waiting in line to enroll," Johnson said.
Participants will be able to work on academic certificates or degrees
free of charge. All costsincluding tuition, books, lab fees, Internet
access, technical assistance, tutoring and mentoring programsare covered.
To sign up, soldiers must meet with AUAO staff members at participating
installations and fill out paperwork, set education goals and determine
program eligibility requirements.
Accepted soldiers are issued a laptop computer, a printer, an Internet
service provider account and an e-mail account. Then, AUAO staff helps them
register for classes via the eArmyU.com portal.
Soldiers are required to complete 12 semester hours during their first
two years of enrollment.