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DoD online voluntary education fair to link troops, schools and counselors

Forty-three colleges and universities will join education counselors from each military services for the Defense Department's first-ever online education fair Department of Defense Voluntary Education Program online virtual education fair slated for on Nov. 19.

The fair is designed to link up troops interested interesting in using voluntary education programs , with schools that cater to them, and education counselors who can help navigate education guidelines set by the military services.

In order to participate in the fair, each school, Quarells said has signed agreements guaranteeing to guarantee members access to courses and also work to give troops maximum credit for their military education and experience, Quarells said. 

Also available will be Counselors from voluntary education offices at the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps voluntary education offices will also be available to who can answer specific service questions, too

"All of the services have unique rules, requirements and policies regarding Tuition Assistance, education plans and credit transfer options," said Dr. Deborah Harris-Sims, manager of special projects for Navy VOLED. "During the online fair, service counselors will be able to explain and clarify any misconceptions that service members may have about education benefits and get answers that are accurate for their particular service branch."

The online fair will be held on Nov. 19 at http://www.dodeducationfair.com from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Registration is required to gain access to the fair and can be done quickly at https://dodeducationfair.com/signup.html.

In addition, Counselors from DANTES will also be available to discuss a variety of education services available to troops from all the services, such as for college level examination programs tests and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests.Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support, known as DANTES, which offers a variety of educational testing and other services to all military members, regardless of their service. 

"DANTES have been around for more than 40-years and programs have changed to meet the needs of the services and their members," Quarelles said.

"Many military members aren’t aware of the programs we offer, and those that do usually just know of our CLEP and DSST exams," Quarells said. "We offer a variety of programs to help prepare for college, and offer admissions exams and counseling on careers and a variety of other programs, all of which are offered at no cost or which can be reimbursed." All the representatives from participating schools and military organizations will be available via live chat from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to accommodate those from different time zones around the world.Registration is required to gain access to the fair and can be done quickly at https://dodeducationfair.com/signup.html.
 
Troops who sign up will only have their username shared with participating schools as a way to prevent troops from getting any unsolicited contact. The program also helps link up an individual's study areas of interest with schools that offer those courses of study.  Unlike any commercially sponsored fairs — it’s anonymous as non of the military members personal information will be shared with the participating schools — unless the member chooses to.

"Members will create unique user name and only that and their email address will be identifiable or provided to the participating schools," Quarrels said. "This way they won't have to worry about getting unsolicited calls as they choose which institutions, if any, they give their contact information to."  Any other registration information will be kept by DoD, Quarells said, so they assess the fair's effectiveness. The  can gauge who coming and what they're interested in which will help DoD evaluate the effectiveness of the fair, as well as help get sailors through the maze of schools participating.

"When they select major or area of interest, during registration, for example, it will match them with schools that offer programs that fit their interests," Quarells said. 

The online fair is meant to augment and not replace local area education fairs that many military installations already hold, she said. 

"This expands on that idea and opens up participation to service members who don't have access to local fairs because they're geographically dispersed, such as many of our [National] Guard and reserve members," she said. "It also expands the numbers of schools they can interact with, as most local fairs only have a handful of schools locally. We're expecting as many as 43 schools to participate."

For additional information about the DoD Voluntary Education Virtual Education Fair, visit: http://www.dodeducationfair.com.

Here’s a list of The participating schools: 

Confirmed:
Armstrong State University
Ashford University
Bellevue University
Campbell University
Chaminade University
Coastal Carolina Community College
Coastline Community College
Central Texas College
Drury University
ECPI University
El Paso Community College
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide
Empire State College, SUNY
Everett Community College
Excelsior College
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Florida Institute of Technology
Fort Hays State University - Virtual College
Grand Canyon University
Hawaii Pacifc University
Hopkinsville Community College
Jefferson Community College
Liberty University - Online
National American University
National University
Old Dominion University
Park University
Pensacola State College
Pikes Peak Community College
Post University - Online
Regis University
Southern New Hampshire University
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Saint Leo University
Sullivan University
Thomas Edison State College
Tidewater Community College
Trident University International
University of the Incarnate Word
Upper Iowa University

The following schools have stated they’ll participate, but haven't signed their participation agreements as of Nov. 4: s yet to turn in their signed participation agreements:

Texas A&M University-Central Texas
University of Alaska- Anchorage
Anne Arundel Community College

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