Georgia Southern partners with U.S. Air Force to provide degree opportunities

Standing in the the main drive at Sweetheart Circle at Georgia Southern University looking towards the Marvin Pittman administration building. Sweetheart Circle was so named because years ago there were dormitories on either side of the central circle, one side being the male dormitories and the other the female dormitories. Students would meet in the circle on the grassy lawn. (Wikipedia Commons)

Georgia Southern is partnering with the U.S. Air Force to help active-duty, National Guard and reserve personnel pursue education through the General Education Mobile (GEM) program.

GEM is a landmark partnership between Air University, the Community College of the Air Force, and civilian academic institutions. Georgia Southern’s participation in the partnership makes the University one of only 96 institutions of higher learning where airmen are approved to take classes remotely.

“Georgia Southern is proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force to offer our men and women in uniform the opportunity to further their education and achieve their academic goals,” said President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D. “This partnership is just another example of the University’s commitment to supporting our military and their futures.”

Georgia Southern offers both online and traditional classes in each of the five required general education areas: mathematics, written communication, oral communication, social sciences and humanities. Airmen are required to complete 15 semester hours of general education to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force.

“GEM provides an outstanding educational opportunity for today’s airmen,” said Phil Gore, director of Military and Veterans Affairs for the University. “The service member earns a degree that will help enhance their career and provides a solid foundation for further studies.

“Members of the Air Force, especially those serving in the Georgia Air National Guard, who want to pursue a civilian education in a traditional setting will be able to attend classes at Georgia Southern’s campuses located in Savannah, Statesboro and Hinesville,” added Gore.

Additionally, members of the Air Force will be able to take advantage of Georgia Southern’s online classes, which provide the flexibility members of the military often need to complete their degrees. The option to take courses online at an award-winning institution known for its strong support of military-affiliated students will appeal to Air Force personnel stationed around the world, Gore added. Georgia Southern’s fully online undergraduate and graduate programs also provide airmen the opportunity to achieve their academic goals, regardless of their location.

For military students like Ciara Barrett, a member of the Georgia Air National Guard studying rehabilitation sciences, these types of programs offer a convenient way to continue her education.

“The military puts a lot of emphasis on higher education, so it’s great to see Georgia Southern partner with the Air Force,” she said. “I’m getting ready to deploy, so being able to take classes during the first mini-mester, then continue my studies online while overseas, means I can accomplish our unit’s mission without getting behind in my degree plan.”

Air University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, master’s and doctor of philosophy degrees. Now a part of Air University’s regional accreditation, both the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) were separately accredited by SACSCOC earlier, CCAF in 1980 and SAASS in 1998.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 142 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Savannah, Statesboro, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities.


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