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The Advantages Villanova’s Online Programs Provide To Active-Duty Servicemembers and Veterans

The Advantages Villanova’s Online Programs Provide To Active-Duty Servicemembers and Veterans

Last Updated May 24, 2021

For military servicemembers and veterans, online programs offer benefits such as schedule flexibility, 24/7 accessibility, and professional networking opportunities with faculty and classmates, while maintaining the academic rigor of an on-campus program. These advantages can prove to be important considerations for individuals interested in advancing their education during active service or beyond their time in the military.

Active servicemembers may prefer the flexibility offered by a 100% online program, particularly if they are stationed overseas or working unconventional hours. The same holds true for veterans who are considering transitioning to the civilian workforce or who may have a service-related disability that makes attending on-campus classrooms difficult.

The following looks at the advantages of earning an online education and preparing for success in an online classroom.

Tips for Success in Online Education

Online learning is a phrase that encompasses different types of web-based classrooms. For example, some are self-paced and allow students to check in, read the materials, complete assignments and take exams at any time. Others ensure weekly requirements are met before moving forward and provide communication tools that allow instructors to provide immediate help and feedback. The key is finding the program that best fits your learning style. 

Like all online students, active-duty servicemembers and veterans should follow certain guidelines to prepare for success in an online classroom. This includes identifying a quiet space dedicated for classwork, practicing good time management, and using communication tools to keep in touch with faculty and classmates.

Keith Nguyen, a veteran who graduated from Villanova University’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, explained the benefits of the online classroom in this way: “The flexible online format allowed me to successfully complete the program while balancing my other obligations. The connections I’ve made with the professors, staff and my peers were invaluable. Their continued support throughout was greatly appreciated.”

It’s also important to remember that online students must manage their own schedule and workload accordingly and remove distractions while completing class assignments. Compared to a traditional on-campus classroom, online students generally have the flexibility to complete required readings and assignments on their own schedule. However, online classes require the same level of time and energy as on-campus classes. Students should remember to set aside time for weekly studies while balancing career and life commitments.

Expanded Learning Opportunities

The ability to complete coursework anywhere with an internet connection may be advantageous for active-duty personnel who are interested in taking courses online while serving overseas. U.S. Air Force Captain Tom Higginbotham, a Villanova MPA graduate who began courses while stationed overseas, said one unexpected benefit was “the personal connections, mentorship and depth of learning beyond the classroom.”

Online education also is beneficial for veterans who may want to attend school in Pennsylvania but live in Texas or Florida. Online education allows eligible students the opportunity to attend the academic institution they want, even if it’s far away.

Finding the Right Online Program

Villanova University salutes the outstanding individuals who have served and are currently serving in the military while pursuing higher education. Villanova is committed to helping current servicemembers and veterans achieve their educational goals.

You may be eligible to use your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits for many of Villanova’s 100% online non-credit certificate programs, based upon your individual circumstances. Villanova’s programs offer additional advantages to servicemembers and veterans seeking a high-quality online program. They include the following.

Online Convenience and Communication Channels

Discussion boards, group study, chat rooms and virtual classes provide ways for online students to connect with classmates and instructors from the privacy of their own home. This type of interaction allows students to build networking connections and learn from the perspectives of professionals in a variety of fields. Online programs may also allow students to access course materials anywhere from a computer, tablet or mobile device. Courses are divided into academic weeks, with tasks for each week that are clearly delineated.

According to Ret. Col. Andrew Molnar, Villanova’s online classroom helped him build professional relationships with colleagues while gaining knowledge and skills in the Applied Project Management program.

“The online tool was outstanding. It’s the best online classroom environment I’ve ever seen, and I felt like I was sitting in class with the instructor and fellow students. The tool and the instructors combined to create an environment where students could learn together, collaborate and share products and information. I made lifelong professional friends due to the positive interactions at Villanova.”

Live Lectures

Each week, students meet with their professor and fellow students for real-time, discussion-based class. These sessions provide students with real-time feedback and encourage peer-to-peer learning and practical application of the material.

“Having live lectures and class discussions is critical,” said MPA graduate Higginbotham. “It allows you to build relationships that you could not do through emails and it brings issues to life from classmates and professors with real-world examples.”

Clock Hour-Based Certificate Programs

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, clock hours “are the total number of actual hours per week a student spends attending class or other instructional activities that count toward completing a program of study.” A list of VA-approved clock hour programs can be found online at

Military Savings – Villanova also offers a 15% savings per non-credit certificate course and a 10% savings per course on degree programs to active-duty servicemembers, Guardsmen and Reservists, veterans, spouses and dependents (upon verification of military or discharge status).*

Prospective students may also be eligible for the following benefits depending on their unique situation.

Military Tuition Assistance –The U.S. military tuition assistance program pays up to 100% of tuition fees for full-time, active-duty servicemembers up to a maximum of $250 per credit hour and a personal maximum of $2,250 per fiscal year for members of the Coast Guard or $4,500 per fiscal year for members of other branches.

Post-9/11 GI Bill®, Montgomery GI Bill®, and Educational Assistance Programs – Military servicemembers and veterans may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, Montgomery GI Bill®, Reserve Educational Assistance Program, Post-Vietnam-Era Veteran’s Educational Assistance Program or other options. Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information about educational assistance and eligibility.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

*This reduction is valid off the standard tuition fee rate of the listed courses offered by Villanova University with online administration by Bisk. This reduction is not stackable with other reduction, and you may not use this reduction in conjunction with other reductions. Reduction is based on eligibility requirements and proof of service.

Information provided as to the availability and eligibility for military or veteran education assistance programs is for general informational use only. Please check with your Education Services Officer or local Department of Veterans Affairs for eligibility, benefit amount and application processes specific to your situation.

VA Benefit Eligibility: Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) to view which programs of study or courses are currently certified. Benefit certification depends upon your VA determined eligibility, enrollment status and certified program of study.