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eArmyU Expands Free Laptop Eligibility

Eligibility for the Army Continuing Education System’s eArmyU program’s laptop option has expanded to include most active-duty specialists through staff sergeants who re-enlist.

The Army launched eArmyU in 2001 to offer eligible active-duty enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to work toward a college degree or certificate online. The program began with selected installations and so far more than 54,000 Soldiers have taken courses from 29 institutions.

With the program’s expansion to the entire Army in October 2004, the eArmyU “Technology Pack” or “laptop” option was offered solely as a retention and readiness tool in support of Army Transformation.

Effective Feb. 1, eligible E4, E5 and E6 Soldiers who re-enlist may participate in the laptop option if they meet eligibility requirements, officials said. They said it is no longer limited to Soldiers who re-enlist for combat forces/operational units.

Laptop program enrollees will receive a state-of-the-art laptop to use in their eArmyU participation, and will be required to successfully complete 12 semester hours of coursework in three years.

Soldiers must commit to a three-year Service Remaining Requirement at the time of program enrollment, officials said, and must have concurrent enrollment approval from their commander and an ACES counselor. Additional changes may be made in eligibility criteria based on program take-rates, officials said.

The eArmyU "no laptop" enrollment, now called "eCourse enrollment," will continue to be offered to the majority of other active-duty Soldiers, officials said.

With eCourse enrollment, Soldiers use their personal computers to participate in the program on a course-by-course basis and receive all the benefits as laptop enrollees as part of tuition. These benefits include textbooks, Internet Service Provider, e-mail account, digital library services, 24/7 technology support, a “boot camp” tutorial, and online academic tutoring and mentoring.

There is no service remaining requirement with the eCourse option, officials said. However, they said Soldiers must have sufficient remaining time in service to complete the eArmyU course in which they are enrolling.

eArmyU.com, the program’s distance-learning portal, currently allows enrolled Soldiers access to post-secondary certificates as well as associate, bachelor’s and master's degrees from 147 degree programs across 29 regionally-accredited college and university partners.

Soldiers are ensured that they can transfer education credits across institutions because only Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Army Degree, or SOCAD member schools, may offer undergraduate programs as part of eArmyU. Institutions offering only graduate and/or certificate programs must agree in writing to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges institutional principles and criteria.

All eligible Soldiers receive $250 per semester hour or up to 100 percent tuition, whichever is less, up to an annual ceiling of $4,500. Tuition assistance covers tuition, fees, textbooks, academic advisement, library resources, and administrative and technical support, officials said.

To find out more about the expansion of eArmyU’s laptop option, visit any installation’s Education Center.

Eligibility requirements for Technology Package
  • o Be a regular active-duty enlisted Soldier in ranks E4 through E6 and re-enlist for duty as defined by senior Army leadership

    o Be eligible for favorable personnel action

    o Have a high school diploma or GED certificate

    o Meet a home institution’s admission criteria

    o Have concurrent enrollment approval from commander and an ACES counselor

    o Have a minimum three years Service Remaining Requirement

Eligibility Requirements for eCourse
  • o Be a regular active-duty enlisted Soldier or Active-Guard-Reserve enlisted soldier

    o Be eligible for favorable personnel action

    o Have a high school diploma or GED certificate

    o Meet a home institution’s admission criteria

    o Have concurrent enrollment approval from commander and an ACES counselor

General requests for information about the program should be directed to the local Army Education Center, www.earmyu.com, or to the eArmyU Help Desk at 1-800-817-9990.

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