By: Dr. Mary B. Hawkins, President of Bellevue University
Take a minute to think of everything you can get on the go these days: your favorite coffee, meals at a drive-through window, and movies on a handheld device. As America becomes more mobile, education is also growing in its mobility and flexibility, allowing people to complete degree programs from anywhere around the world at any time that works for them.
One of the groups that can benefit from this shift toward more flexibility is members of the armed forces and their spouses. No matter where a military family is stationed, some colleges and universities around the country are tailoring degree programs for students who need to be able to learn anytime and from anywhere. The demand for flexibility in degree programs is highlighted by a recent Bellevue University study, “Mobile Learning 2.0: Flexibility and Mobility are the New Normal at the University Level.” According to the study, 47 percent of the nation feels that the ability to complete coursework from any location is important to them. The study also found that mobile degree programs are expected to continue to grow in popularity, as 70 percent of Americans feels that five years from now, online degree programs will be more common than they are now.
So what do potential students need to look for when picking a flexible degree program? Obviously picking a school with the degree program relevant to the career path you want to pursue is incredibly important, but picking a program that gives you flexibility while being affordable is an additional must. Unfortunately, many costs associated with earning a degree, such as tuition and fees as well as books, have risen sharply in recent years, growing as much as 130 percent in the last 20 years, according to the College Board. This has left many students searching for more affordable options.
The good news for potential students is that some colleges and universities are offering flexible and affordable degree programs. And Bellevue University is at the forefront of promoting these types of programs with our new Flexxive learning model. Flexxive benefits students on the move, as it allows them the flexibility to complete programs both on their own time, as well as the ability to continue the program where they left off should a move or re-deployment occur. For military members and their spouses, this is incredibly important, as you may never know when you will be stationed somewhere else. Flexxive also allows students to earn a degree for $250 per credit hour, a significantly lower cost compared with existing traditional and online programs. Finally, Flexxive provides students with additional savings by having all required readings available online, meaning students will not have to purchase books.
As many military members and their spouses prepare for the future and the transition from military life to that of a civilian, enrolling in a degree program is a logical next step for many. Finding a school that offers veteran services-ranging from help with applying for GI Bill benefits to military spouse support groups to military-oriented career fairs-will make this transition as easy as possible. As you consider returning to school to earn a degree, make sure to seek out flexible and affordable programs, as well as institutions that offer specific support and programs for military families, before choosing a degree program.
Dr. Mary B. Hawkins is the President of Bellevue University. One of the nation’s best-known authorities on adult education, Dr. Mary B. Hawkins has observed the American education scene for more than 30 years and is keenly aware that the future of American prosperity relies on a better-educated workforce. She is known for leading the charge to make higher education accessible to everyone. Her expertise has been featured in USA Today, Fox Business, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, onlindegrees.com, national radio shows, pickthebrain.com, KUNS-TV Seattle, and dozens more.