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Deployed Officer Navigates Career College Education

By Linda Fausel

 

From an undisclosed location, on a nuclear-powered super carrier on active duty for the United States Navy, Mandy Bradshaw is serving her country. She’s also earning a college degree.  The 34-year-old administrative officer for the Commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven, will earn a bachelor of science in homeland security and public safety in December through Herzing University.  Despite her obvious distractions, Bradshaw maintains a 3.3 grade point average.

“Online courses give you the freedom from having to be in a classroom environment and allow you to work at your own pace,” Bradshaw said.

Distance learning has advanced nationally and globally to a much higher degree than many of us realize. For the 2006-2007 academic year the U.S. Department of Education reported:

  • An estimated 12.2 million learners registered in college-level credit-granting distance education courses
  • Approximately 11,200 college-level programs were designed to be completed totally through distance education
  • 66% of the 4,160 two-year and four-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the nation offered college-level distance education courses

The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that enrollment rose by almost one million students since 2009. In that survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide, approximately 5.6 million students, were enrolled in at least one online course in the fall of 2009.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Herzing University encompasses 12 physical campuses in eight states, three continuing education divisions in three states, plus Herzing University Online. Students can earn masters, bachelor’s, and associate degrees and diplomas in the fields of technology, business, healthcare, design, and public safety.

Herzing’s online division, recently named to the 2011 list of Top Military Schools by G.I. Jobs magazine, currently enrolls 2,550 active students.

“Our statistics show that females represent 83.5 percent of our online students,” said Henry Herzing, Chancellor of Herzing University. “And our number of deployed students keeps growing.”

Kelli Bradshaw, Mandy’s younger sister is a former active member of the Navy and now a Navy Reservist. Kelli graduated from Herzing last May, definitely paving the way, but as Mandy’s graduation looms, the older sister points out additional key players in her voyage toward academic success.

“I had a wonderful advisor,” Bradshaw said.

“It was easy. She was with me, step-by-step, through the whole process.  Anytime I have a question or need help getting ahold of an instructor because of a lost internet connection, she is there. Everyone at Herzing is amazing. They help you with anything you need.”

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