Local News

Fayetteville State Extension Classes Serve Fort Bragg Soldiers, Community

Posted February 29, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Its neighbors say one of the best things aboutFayetteville State Universityis its commitment to the surrounding community, including Fort Bragg.

During the day, 1st Sgt. Patrick Brooks leads more than 250 soldiers at Fort Bragg. In his downtime, he studies.

Brooks is one of hundreds of soldiers pursuing his undergraduate degree through a Fayetteville State Extension Program. The troops, and others who live nearby, can take FSU classes at The Fort Bragg-Pope Air Force Base Education Center.

"The teachers work with you. When you go into the field, they give you the literature you need. They're always working with you," Brooks says.

The center has been on post for more than 18 years. It remains strong because it is popular. More than 730 students enrolled this term alone.

"We alter our program to a non-traditional mode to accommodate the lifestyles of the military and their dependents," says center director David Williams.

The accommodations make all the difference. Soldiers say the convenience of night and weekend classes makes getting a degree easier.

Bernie Thomas retired from the military after 21 years of service, and found he needed to develop his skills.

"Even ... with all my military experience, I needed higher education to be competitive with today's market," Thomas says. Where did he turn? The education center.

With demand growing, FSU is thinking about offering graduate courses on post in the future.

FSU thinks even more soldiers will enroll at the university if they are granted in-state tuition. The university hopes to convince the state legislature to allow that change.