From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2001
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Fraser Bill Aiding On-Line Military Education Approved by Senate Committee

AUSTIN -- Legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, exempting active duty military personnel from the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) was unanimously approved today by a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations.

The legislation, if it becomes law, would remove a major obstacle for enlisted personnel at Fort Hood seeking to enroll in the Army University Access Online education program, known as eArmyU, offered at Central Texas College in Killeen.

The legislation, Senate Bill 179, now goes to the full Senate for its consideration.

"Texas is currently at a competitive disadvantage with colleges in other states because we require anyone seeking a degree to first take the TASP test," Fraser said. "This bill removes that requirement for active duty military personnel, and clears the way for enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood to enroll in the on-line program offered at Central Texas College instead of a college or university located in another state."

The new eArmyU program was announced last month, and is aimed enhancing education and college degree opportunities for soldiers. Under the program, the Army pays all of the soldiers' tuition fees, and provides them with a laptop computer, printer and Internet connection.

The Army has begun its online program at three major military installations: Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Campbell, Ky. At the end of the first year, the program is expected to be expanded worldwide.

"Fort Hood is home to the most highly trained and technologically advanced military force in the world," Fraser said. "It makes perfect sense for the State of Texas to do everything in its power to enhance the educational opportunities for our soldiers there."

Central Texas College Chancellor Jim Anderson, testifying in support of the bill, said "quality of life issues," such as providing education opportunities, is a factor that likely would be considered by a future Base Realignment Commission examining possible military installation closings.

Fraser also noted that Central Texas College has a 25-year history of providing courses, certificates and associate degrees from its main campus in Killeen and at sites around the world, and a major segment of its enrollment consists of active duty military.

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