Syracuse, N.Y. – The $85 billion in forced federal spending cuts that took effect at the beginning of this month left many military families bracing for unwelcome reductions in the benefits they’ve come to count on.
Recently, planned furloughs were announced for the Child, Youth and School Services employees who run day care for Fort Drum. If the measure takes effect, it will result in the loss of Friday day care services for nearly 900 soldier and civilian families beginning April 26.
The Army has also announced the suspension of its tuition assistance program, causing some soldiers and their families to postpone or reconsider plans to further their education.
Amidst concern and uncertainty over the sequestration cuts, some colleges are providing innovative education programs to help soldiers and their families prepare for second careers. One such school is Utica College, which offers an accelerated nursing program in New York that allows students with an existing bachelor’s degree in any field to become a nurse in just 16 months. The program relies on a combination of convenient online courses and hands-on clinical experience with patients.
“The fact that our accelerated nursing degree program can be completed in 16 months, with the non-clinical courses offered online, helps offset concerns like child care or being able to repay student loans quickly,” said Nicole Cook, RN, MSN and director of nursing education for the Utica College accelerated program.
“A bachelor’s degree in nursing is a smart investment right now, not just for members of the military but for anyone considering a career in health care,” added Donna Gregory, DNP, who serves as the college’s interim director of the ASDN program. “The demand for bachelor’s-educated nurses is only going to increase, so this is a degree with excellent job security.”
Said Cook, “Our accelerated program appeals to members of the military who already hold one degree but want to earn a second in one of the nation’s fastest-growing professions. Many are drawn to nursing because of their innate desire to help and protect others.”
Faye Murphy, who was recently accepted into Utica’s accelerated nursing program and whose husband is stationed at Ft. Drum, is one such student. “I’m excited about starting to work with patients, and being able to make them feel reassured and confident that I am on their side and will do my very best to help them get better,” said Murphy. “I like the accelerated program because it’s both flexible and fast-paced. In the past, I’ve had trouble finding a program I could complete in the time we were in one spot.”
Utica College has a strong tradition of catering to military personnel. The college was founded in 1946 to offer educational services to returning WWII veterans, and it continues the tradition today with a strong, student-veteran focused approach to service and opportunity. It offers a 10% tuition discount for online students and spouses of active duty, reserve and guard members and maintains a full-time veterans support staff on campus. The college also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and honors benefits from Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills. Utica College has been designated a military-friendly school by GI Jobs Magazine for four straight years.
For more information about Utica College’s 16-month nursing degree program in Syracuse, contact 866.892.6747.