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Louisiana University Opens an Extension at Barksdale AFB

Louisiana's Northwest State University (NSU) has reached an agreement with Barksdale Air Force Base to open an extension on the base grounds, located eighty miles from the campus. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by both parties that requires the base to provide classroom space and the school to begin its AFB program with on-site instruction for clinical nurse degrees and business administration degrees.

The level of cooperation extends beyond classroom hours, however. Students taking classes at Barksdale can also go through a "Prior Learning Assessment," allowing them an opportunity to earn credit for college-level learning acquired through previous work experience, military training, and volunteering. Options to earn credit will include challenge exams for NSU courses and national exams such as CLEP.

NSU will work with military administrators to develop a class schedule that will allow students to complete their course work in a timely and efficient manner. The school will also provide academic and career counseling on the base. There will also be advisors to assist with tuition support in the form of available education grants and loans from both the military and the federal government. The U.S. military now has an active educational grant program for military spouses as well.

Northwestern State also has an established online education program that offers courses of study for twenty four degrees, all delivered entirely online. Active servicemen and women at Barksdale will have those opportunities as well. NSU's distance learning options in education include early childhood education degrees through adult education degrees. For non-teaching professions there are education administration degrees in both school supervision and curriculum management.

There are also online options in both criminal justice and public safety for active Air Force personnel who are interested in law enforcement careers. Other options include degrees in psychology, in liberal arts and in general studies for those students who want to build a base at the baccalaureate level for later specialization. The NSU Electronic Campus is presented in clear, well organized steps for course selection, degree planning and actual course access. It's a good example of a mainstream public university extending its educational capacity through the use of distance learning.

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