Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera announced today that the Army has awarded a $453 million contract to PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide distance education for an estimated 80,000 soldiers over the next five years.
This program will enable soldiers to obtain college degrees and professional certifications using computers and online courses while they serve in the Army.
"This cutting edge, cyberspace program will provide unprecedented educational opportunities for our soldiers," said Caldera. "It reinforces the Army's long-term commitment to investing in its people. This strategic alliance with PricewaterhouseCoopers and its unique team opens a new doorway to personal growth - allowing America's soldiers to earn post-secondary degrees or technical certifications online anytime, anywhere, anyplace, while they serve."
Soldiers who sign up for the program will receive a laptop computer, a printer, access to the Internet, and access to a technology help service. The computer and printer become the soldier's personal property once 12 credit hours have been completed within two years.
To be eligible for the program, soldiers must have at least three years remaining in their Army assignment, and must return the equipment and course materials to PricewaterhouseCoopers if at least 12 credit hours are not completed within two years.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has arranged to work with 29 accredited higher education institutions including members of the Servicemembers Opportunity College-Army Degrees program, the Historically Black Colleges, and the Tribal Colleges. Several high tech companies have also joined the group, including PeopleSoft, Blackboard, TurboTek Computers, Fiberlink, Precision Response Corporation, and Saba. More schools and companies are expected to join the group as the program expands.