On Saturday, May 16, Boise State will recognize those currently serving in the U.S. military by celebrating Armed Forces Day. The university is honoring servicemembers by waiving application and enrollment fees for current military members and their spouses during the month of May.
May also marks the one year anniversary of the team announcing their mission to modernize the university’s relationship with the military community in Idaho and worldwide. Boise State Military Programs, a part of the Division of Extended Studies, directly supports Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve students.
Over the past year, Military Programs has embraced the dual mandate to expand access and reduce barriers for servicemembers at Boise State with exceptional results. The efforts increased military Tuition Assistance usage by 140 percent over the past three years. In addition, the university experienced a healthy rise in military student enrollment in online programs.
“Our goal is to make Boise State and Idaho the best possible choice in our military students’ world. We are building an innovative higher education model for other universities to follow so that we can improve military education not only here but everywhere,” said Sean Hunter, director of Community-Based Educational Outreach at Boise State and a member of the Idaho Army National Guard.
Access to higher education for the modern military student has different requirements and challenges than traditional students. Military students’ preferred mode of delivery is online, so Boise State has fully embraced online courses, programs and services to meet this need. Military Programs also opened a new advising office on Mountain Home Air Force Base, increased operations at their award-winning military testing center, partnered with the Idaho Army National Guard to offer educational benefit seminars, and conducted outreach activities as part of a grant partnership with Idaho’s Workforce Development Council.
The second focus of the modernization mission is reduction of barriers. The two primary barriers which deterred servicemembers from attending Boise State were a disjointed process for using military Tuition Assistance benefits and the cost of attendance. To address these issues, Military Programs simplified the Tuition Assistance process for students. Strengthening partnerships with academic departments, online enrollment services, Student Financials, the Registrar’s Office, Admissions, Veteran services, Mountain Home Air Force Base, and the Idaho National Guard created a uniform, scalable and streamlined process for military students from beginning to end.
“The growth of Boise State’s military population is exponential as word spreads about our programs, and we’ve gotten excellent feedback from current students regarding our support,” said Laura Porter, Military Programs coordinator for Extended Studies. “The changes in Military Programs and the creation of the TA Promise has had such a positive impact on students individually and has been beneficial for Boise State as well.”
The Tuition Assistance (TA) Promise program, launched in fall 2019, allows eligible students using military Tuition Assistance to attend Boise State with no additional tuition costs. Through Tuition Assistance and the TA Promise program, $350,000 in Boise State education was delivered to military students over the past two semesters. Servicemembers can contact the Military Programs team to take advantage of fee waivers.