Army expands online education effort

Army expands online education effort

Soldiers at two Army bases in Colorado and Washington next month will be able to enroll in online courses at 23 colleges, bringing to five the number of bases using the eArmyU learning portal.

Fort Carson, Colo., and Fort Lewis, Wash., will join Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Hood, Texas, as the bases offering soldiers free online courses.

The Army launched the eArmyU program in January of last year. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. of New York built the portal under a five-year, $453 million contract. Over the next five years, the service plans to offer online courses to 80,000 soldiers.

The portal provides registration, tutoring and technical assistance. Credits are transferable among the participating institutions. Through the program, soldiers can earn certificates and associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at no cost to them.

“An educated soldier clearly gives the Army a tremendous return on investment,” Army Secretary Thomas E. White said. “We are meeting our goals to create technology-savvy soldiers to support Army transformation, succeed on the digitized battlefield, enhance retention and help soldiers achieve academic degrees while they serve.”

Each soldier participating in the program is given a notebook PC, printer, e-mail account, Internet access and books, plus academic and technical support.

So far, 12,000 soldiers have enrolled in the program. That number is expected to grow by several thousand when soldiers sign up from the Colorado and Washington forts, Army officials said.

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