MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Major Gen. Carl Jensen, commanding general for Marine Corps Installations East, and Dr. Jane Upshaw, chancellor for the University of South Carolina Beaufort, signed the Elite-to-Elite program into effect for the campus, Sept. 28.
The Elite-to-Elite program is designed to simplify and hasten the admissions process for eligible Marines who want to attend certain college campuses.
After the signing, all qualified Marines will be able to attend college at the USCB without enduring a lengthy admissions process.
“We want Marines to continue their education, and return to the community as an educated and skilled workforce,” said Jensen. The USCB is the first school to approve the program in South Carolina, and is very familiar with the value its military students can bring.
“The military student brings life experience,” Upshaw said. “They have traveled the world and faced many challenges that shaped them and they can share those lessons with other students.”
Both USCB and the Marine Corps agree on the requirements held for Marines to qualify for this expedited path to higher learning.
Applicants are required to have a score of 70 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualifications Test as well as a score of at least 115 on the General Classification Test. A score of 800 or better on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or a 17 on the American College Test is also recommended.
“Marines are prepared and ready to learn and those skills provide leadership to other students as they become role models in the classroom,” Upshaw said. “The synergy that this creates is rich and important to the learning experience.”
The Marines who do not meet these requirements may still be admitted on a probationary basis, this means they will be required to complete 12 credit hours and pass with at least a 2.0 grade point average to continue at USCB.
University of South Carolina Beaufort, which boasts a large population of active-duty and veteran students, will be added to a list of other schools in North Carolina that decided to be partners in the program.
“I was a student at USCB, and half of my classmates were military, they and their culture added to our overall learning experience,” said Billy Keyserling, the mayor of Beaufort. “The individuals who serve here can stay here in the community; they only strengthen and enrich it by continuing their education.”
Elite-to-Elite program is not the only one used to help service members in their academic endeavors at USCB. According to Upshaw, the university’s financial aid staff has received special training about how to apply the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Tuition was reduced for active-duty military students ensuring that 100 percent of course costs are paid for, leaving active-duty students only with the price of books. The campus is also an approved “Yellow Ribbon” institution which allows veterans to qualify for in-state tuition with their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.
“The intention is to make it easier for Marines to attend great collegiate institutions,” Jensen said. “We are pleased to be partnered with so many great schools, like the USCB campus that are more than willing to accommodate our service members.”