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Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium

Aug 4, 2014 | General Info, News

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MACU joins group that eases military access to higher ed

Mid-Atlantic Christian University has joined the ranks of 1,700 colleges and universities, including Elizabeth City State University and College of The Albemarle, that make it easier for military personnel to seek higher education.

Mid-Atlantic announced last week that it has been approved for membership in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium.

Created in 1972, the consortium is designed to further educational opportunities for military personnel who often face difficulty completing college degrees because they move so frequently. According to its website, the consortium is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through a contract with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

To become a consortium member, colleges and universities agree to allow service personnel reasonable transfer credits and reduced requirements for academic residency. Members also award academic credit for military training and experience and for completion of nationally recognized testing programs.

MACU has been designated as a Military Friendly University since 2011, meaning it’s among the top 20 percent of colleges and universities nationally in delivering the best experience for students who either are in the military or retired from the military. But the university had never before sought membership in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium.

“It was our first time to apply for the SOC agreements,” said John Maurice, MACU vice president for advancement, adding it was “exciting to get the news” its application had been approved.

Maurice, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy, said both he and one of MACU’s trustees — a retired Air Force general — know there’s a large contingent of active duty personnel and veterans who live in the region. Being a member of the consortium is another way of convincing them to attend MACU, he said.

MACU Registrar Yolanda Teske believes the new designation will give the university an edge recruiting military personnel and their families as students.

“I am excited to know this (consortium membership) will give us even more exposure for military members and families, and I’m excited to help them in their educational goals,” she said.

MACU has previously enrolled somewhere between four and six students who either were veterans, military spouses or dependents of military personnel, Teske said.

Enrollment for the fall semester is still ongoing, but a total of 10 military personnel — four veterans and six military dependents or spouses — are already enrolled, Teske said. She expects that number to grow by two or three military personnel, their dependents or spouses before the semester begins.

MACU had a total spring enrollment of 158, Teske said.

Sixty-six colleges and universities in North Carolina, including ECSU and COA, belong to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium. COA has been a member since March 1994, according to spokeswoman Lisa Johnson. ECSU officials did not respond to a request last week about its