Online schools introducing scholarships and programs to veteransMany online schools are beginning to offer scholarships to service members and their families as they return from overseas. These funds can help military personnel earn a degree and continue on to the next phase of their careers. Meanwhile, spouses of these individuals are also being afforded the opportunity to go back to school.

Grantham University, an online school, has teamed up with the Kansas City Chapter of the Association of the United States Army to award a scholarship to one deserving spouse of a non-commissioned officer in the area.

The school recently named Wendy Clark the recipient of a full tuition scholarship, which will cover all of the costs that are associated with her undergraduate degree. The funds will also help Clark purchase the required textbooks, software and other course materials. College officials said the scholarship is valued at nearly $36,000.

"It is an honor to award this scholarship to Wendy," said Cynthia Hoss, provost of the online school. "In the true spirit of a military spouse, she has dedicated her life to raising her family and supporting her husband while he serves in the U.S. Army, so she has never had the opportunity to reach her goal of earning a college degree."

Clark said that she plans to pursue an online bachelors degree in health systems management, which is a high-demand field. Recent legislation requires all medical records be transferred from paper to computer by 2015 – a move that is expected to create jobs for individuals who have been trained to participate in this transition.

According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, the number of web-based enrollments has increased by nearly 1 million students since 2009. Furthermore, approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course during the fall semester of last year.

Brandman University debuts new program aimed at helping veterans earn college degrees

Similarly, officials from Brandman University, an online school, recently introduced the Veterans2College (V2C) program. Administrators said this initiative is designed to offer service members who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan the opportunity to earn a degree at the institution.

The program was made possible by a $2.1 million gift from the Brandman Foundation. Officials said the funds will focus on increasing access to quality education by offering specially designed courses, student support and networking facilities. Furthermore, they added that these monies will help veterans develop academic, social and career skills that could help them complete their degrees and secure job placements.

"Education for military personnel is a key focus for the Brandman Foundation because of [the school founder's] background in the [service] and his understanding of the importance of a college education to build successful careers after serving in the military," said Joyce Brandman, president of the Board of Directors of the Brandman Foundation.

The school has also teamed up with the University of Arizona to develop a program that can help veterans who need assistance. Officials said that many active-duty members who are returning from overseas need help in handling psychological barriers that can hinder successful re-entry into civilian life. Furthermore, they have designed courses that address post-traumatic stress disorder, which is common among service members, and problems that can lead these individuals to drop out.

Organizations help fund scholarships for children and spouses of veterans

ThanksUSA recently partnered with Folds of Honor Foundation to provide 65 scholarships worth $3,000 each to children and spouses of wounded or killed in action veterans. Both organizations contributed $100,000 toward the cause.

"It is important that we continue to do everything possible to remind ourselves and others about the sacrifice that American citizens make every day for our freedom," said Major Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation. "Scholarships help continue the legacy of our American heroes by ensuring that their families have an opportunity for the best life possible."

ThanksUSA has awarded more than $6 million in need-based, post-secondary scholarships to nearly 2,300 spouses and children of active-duty military members.

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