Sailors embrace distance degree programs while at sea

Just because naval personnel are at sea doesn't mean they can't pursue their college studies.

Sailors are taking advantage of distance learning opportunities in great numbers, according to the Navy. 61,700 Navy personnel enrolled in more than 168,000 undergraduate college courses and just over 13,000 graduate courses last year, through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) and the Navy College Program (NCP),

“What we’re witnessing is that sailors are getting serious about seconday education,” said William McKeithen, voluntary education program director for the Naval Educational and Training Command (NETC). "They see this opportunity as personal and career-enhancing, and they’re meeting the Navy’s professional military education task of earning a rating- relevant degree to increase their chances for promotion and job placement. A college education at the expense of the Navy is not only possible, but plausible, and it’s happening every day.”

The Distance Learning Partnership program together with colleges and universities throughout the United States, and pays 100 percent of tuition and fees charged by educational institutions for course enrollments.

“I’m just amazed at the level of participation we have from our Sailors in NCPACE (the Navy College Program Afloat College Education)," says Lt. Bill Kuzma, educational services officer. “We’ve had 2,804 Sailors sign up for NCPACE instructor- led courses or distance education courses since the beginning of our deployment, and credit-by-examination has been very popular. We expect to conduct about 400 College Level Examination Program and DANTES Subject Standardized Test exams before the cruise is over and about 75 ACT exams. We’re going to continue testing every Sunday so that everyone who requests to take exams has an opportunity to do so.”

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