Supporting Our Troops: Flexible Deployment Policies for Military Colleges Online

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Introduction: Understanding Flexible Deployment Policies

Flexible deployment policies are military-friendly accommodations offered by military colleges online. These accommodations enable military students to earn their degrees despite their unique challenges. Their academic journeys can undergo disruptions because of unpredictable deployments and frequent relocations. Many military students also deal with extended training programs and combat missions.

Military friendly online colleges offer many flexible deployment policies, too. Extended deadlines, pauses in studies without penalty, and readmissions are common. These flexible deployment policies can increase retention and graduation rates among military students. 

On a personal level, these policies benefit military students in the following ways:

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  • Allow them to continue with their studies despite the unpredictable deployments and missions
  • Promotes a healthy work-life balance through more effective time management
  • Provide them access to student support services and resources that foster their success
  • Boost their morale, thanks to the appreciation and recognition provided by their colleges

If you want to return to college as a military student, find one with flexible deployment policies. You will find that you’re starting your college journey in the right place. 

How Online Colleges Support Military Students

Every online military college has its specific set of flexible deployment policies. You must understand these policies and request for more information. The more you know, the more informed your decision will be. 

Of course, flexible deployment policies aren’t the only criterion. It’s important to choose from online colleges for military students. 

Why? These policies can make or break your academic success. If you have to pause your studies and get penalized for it, you can become demoralized. You may be unable to keep on track without extended deadlines for special circumstances. Indeed, it’s easy to become sidetracked and then, over time, get off the track. 

The best military online colleges have deployment policies that keep students on track. These policies address the unique deployment-related challenges of military students. 

Here are the flexible deployment policies that military-friendly online colleges adopt. Keep in mind that these are generalized. Again, check with your online college for specific terms, conditions, and processes. 

  • Personalized academic plans 

You and your academic advisor will create a personalized academic plan. Your academic plan reflects your unique circumstances, such as service commitments. 

For example, you can only take three courses instead of five every semester. Your intensive workload and extended training sessions are to blame. Your academic plan will reflect these personal considerations. Instead of a four-year time-to-degree, yours will be a five-year plan. 

Along the way, your academic plan will change, too. You should work with your academic advisor to keep your eye on the prize. 

Tip: Look for online programs with a part-time option. Full-time enrollment is ideal, but it isn’t practical for active-duty military personnel. 

  • Academic flexibility

Your military life isn’t like civilian life with its set routines and schedules. Instead, it’s filled with unpredictable deployments and schedules. Despite your effective time management skills, sticking to your study schedule isn’t always possible. 

This is where flexible deployment policies come in. Your professors can allow extended deadlines for your assignments and projects. You may also request for a postponement of proctored exams to a later date. 

  • Flexible enrollment and leave policies

You’re ready to enroll but your deployment orders came in the mail. Don’t worry. You can request deferred enrollment, a military-specific accommodation. 

Deferred enrollment allows admitted students to delay their start date. However, the deferment is for a limited period only, usually one semester or academic year. 

Tip: Be aware of the consequences of financial aid and course availability. Your academic plan will likely change, too. You must work with your academic advisor in this matter. 

Flexible leave policies are also available for military students. You can take a leave of absence without fines and other penalties. Refunds are even possible. 

Military-friendly online colleges provide military students with flexibility options in other ways, too. 

  • 24/7 access to online learning management systems 

You have 24/7 access to your learning materials from your laptop or smartphone. Geographical barriers are no more for as long as you have an Internet connection. Your unpredictable schedule is less of an issue. 

  • Asynchronous learning format 

You don’t have to log in at specific times, meaning you can study around your workload. Recorded lectures and self-paced courses are common aspects of asynchronous learning. Even when there are synchronous courses, these are usually scheduled well in advance. 

  • Virtual student support services

You can’t always make on-campus visits because of geographical distance. But you will want to access student support services at one time or another. 

Flexibility comes in the form of virtual student support services. Many online colleges offer admission-to-graduation support for military students. Admission counseling, academic advising, and financial aid services are popular. Mental health counseling and tutoring services are common. Every service is accessible through your Internet-connected device. 

Indeed, even as your military life is unpredictable, these flexible policies are reliable in their effectiveness. 

Benefits of Flexible Deployment Policies

Every military student experiences flexible deployment policies in different ways. But we must say that most are positive experiences. These policies address the deployment challenges that military students share in common. 

Here, we’ll look at the common benefits that flexible deployment policies bring:

  • Pause studies during deployment and without penalties.

Military students can take a break from their studies for deployment-related reasons. But they aren’t subjected to academic and monetary penalties. 

Academic continuity is a foremost benefit. You can resume your studies – readmission – within a specific period. Where you left off is where you will start. You don’t have to retake courses or lose credit hours. 

Protection from monetary fines is another benefit. You won’t be required to pay readmission fees and other penalties. Again, refunds are even possible; terms and conditions apply. You won’t even lose your financial aid eligibility. 

With one less thing to worry about, you can focus on your service obligations. You also have the assurance that earning your degree is still possible in the near future. 

  • Earn your degree remotely. 

There’s little to no need to set foot on campus with fully online programs. Of course, you may want to visit your college campus for your own pleasure. But the no-residency requirement means you can earn your degree from anywhere in the world. 

Your learning materials, assignments, and projects are available online 24/7. You and your fellow students can take proctored exams online. Your professors and peers can interact, communicate, and collaborate with you online, too. 

The widespread use of learning management systems or technologies makes these possible. Even libraries and databases are available online. 

  • Maximize personal and professional development opportunities. 

Flexible deployment policies allow military students to maximize their growth opportunities, too. You will gain new knowledge and skills regardless of your deployment status. Since you enjoy academic continuity, you have better knowledge and skills acquisition. 

Your ability to stay on track despite deployment-related challenges means faster time-to-degree, too. The sooner you earn a degree, the faster you can take advantage of job opportunities. 

  • Experience strong support.

Military students report mental and social issues related to their college studies. You may feel isolated from or misunderstood by your civilian peers. Military life, after all, isn’t like civilian life, and it’s challenging to explain why. 

Flexible deployment policies address these issues, too. When you can rely on effective student support services, you’re more at ease. You can enjoy a better sense of belonging, normalcy, and well-being. 

Tip: Look for student support services besides flexible deployment policies. Academic advising, financial aid advising, and career development services are a must. 

On another note, these are military friendly online schools with flexible deployment policies. 

University of Maryland Global Campus 

UMGC has a dedicated military advising team that provides relevant information for military students. The admission-to-graduation services include credit transfers, financial aid guidance, and deployment policies. It’s among the best online schools for military students for this reason. 

Penn State World Campus 

Military students have access to military-exclusive services starting from their admission. Academic advisors guide military students in academic planning, including managing deployment-related issues. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide

Military students can request benefits under the drop refund policy. The college also follows the provisions under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (i.e., readmission). 

American Military University

AMU is a well-known online college for military students due to its generous deployment policies. Military students can request course extensions, course withdrawals, and program holds. 

Colorado State University Global

Military students can request a tuition appeal and refund in case of course withdrawal. There’s also a special Military Leave of Absence. 

Conclusion: The Importance of Military-Friendly Policies in Online Education

Military students can achieve academic success by maximizing the flexible deployment policies in their online colleges. These policies address unique deployment-related challenges, such as a pause in studies and geographical barriers. But when you use flexible deployment policies to your advantage, your academic goals are within reach.