Yuma, Arizona - If it wasn’t for the educational services that Arizona Western College offers at Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma, Sgt. Alana Karp probably wouldn’t have pursued higher education.
However, after learning about what resources were available on base during the welcome aboard brief for her unit, she’s now only two classes away from receiving her Associate in Arts degree.
“This AWC branch makes it easier for us to do everything from Tuition Assistance to registering for classes. They are so willing to help us reach our goals,” said Karp.
Master Sgt. Peter Hernandez will soon be graduating with his Associate in Arts degree as well. He plans to continue with his education by transferring to Northern Arizona University-Yuma to earn a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
Through the services offered at MCAS-Yuma, he was able to figure out which courses he needed to take to graduate and seamlessly transfer to NAU-Yuma.
“AWC Military Services made this process painless. They walked me through the college registration process and offered to mentor me from day one until graduation. I'm very thankful and appreciative for their services,” he said.
The AWC Military Services Office has operated as a mini campus at MCAS-Yuma for over 13 years to provide services for active duty, guard, reserve service members, spouses, and all DOD members who have base access. They offer students assistance with admission, academic advising, registration, proctored testing for midterms, finals, placement exams, tutoring, and more.
“Students never have to leave base to receive educational services from AWC. Every service a student can receive at the AWC Yuma Campus can be accomplished in our office,” said AWC Military Services Coordinator Effie Rosenblum.
Located in the Education Center at MCAS-Yuma (Building 850), the office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“Service members can easily stop by the office during their lunch hour or whenever their schedule permits to get answers to questions they have about education, register for classes, or take exams,” said Rosenblum. “If we did not have an office on base, military students would have to change out of their uniform into civilian clothes and drive to the AWC Yuma Campus. Driving to the campus would be inconvenient for some and impossible for others who do not have transportation.”
A variety of general education courses required for all AWC degrees are offered after duty hours at the MCAS-Yuma Education Center for summer, fall, and spring semesters. Classes are small with military friendly instructors. Although military students have priority registration for classes at MCAS-Yuma, civilian students are welcome to register for any of the classes offered on base. They just need to clear a background check to obtain base access for the courses.
Military students can also be registered for hybrid, online, and ITN courses as well as classes at other AWC campuses. Additionally, staff works to assist students via email and phone if they are deployed or unable to come to the office.
“We make obtaining an education accessible for everyone,” Rosenblum said. “There are many reasons students feel like completing an education might be out of reach. Our office works hard to remove as many of those barriers as possible.”
One of those deterrents can be cost, but she added that AWC is very affordable at only $84 per credit. Many military students can also attend school for free if they are eligible for Tuition Assistance and FAFSA. Staff can assist students with applying for the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship for military spouses as well. The scholarship will cover up to $4,000 in tuition costs for eligible spouses.
Many of the same services offered at MCAS-Yuma are also available at the Yuma Proving Ground. A representative works face-to-face with students at the YPG Education Center on the third Wednesday of every month from 12 to 4 p.m.
AWC accepts a maximum of 30 credits from the Joint Military Services Transcript (JST) which can be applied towards a degree. Credits earned from military training may be used for degree credit as equivalent courses in the major or as general electives as applicable.