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UND approved as AU-ABC partner

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota was approved as an Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative partner Dec. 11, 2017.

The Air University now recognizes UND’s Bachelor of General Studies program, which allows Airmen to apply 64 credits from their CCAF associate degrees to the local institution’s BGS degree.

“The services that the local community provide my Airmen go a long way towards us meeting the mission on the base,” said Spencer. “Every day I wake up and one of my missions is to continue to foster and strengthen our relationship with the local community, because strengthening and fostering that relationship with the local community helps me better accomplish the mission out here on this base.”

The effort to establish this partnership started in early 2016 with a simple observation from wing leaders … “Why don’t we have UND as an option for our Airmen? It’s local, it makes sense, and it allows another opportunity for Airmen and their families to use tuition assistance or G.I. Bill benefits.”

From there, discussions among the university’s leaders began to include its current posture toward military and veteran education programs and how to bolster the programs to include more opportunities. UND’s president, Dr. Mark Kennedy, made a commitment to improve those programs when he unveiled the university’s strategic plan in May 2017. Base leaders began participating as part of UND’s Strategic Goal 6 team in July to help the university achieve its goal to meet educational needs of service members, veterans and their families.

“Education is paramount for Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Thomas, 319th ABW command chief. “With UND’s acceptance as part of the AU-ABC program, Warriors of the North have another option in deciding what’s best for their advanced education needs.”

The new addition to the AU-ABC program will offer Airmen an education resource in town, and for some Airmen, that will be a critical avenue for self-improvement.

“The program is a fantastic road for progression for Airmen who want to continue their education,” said Senior Airman Cody Nichols, 69th Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “The college is already close to where I live, so I don’t have to uproot my life to go to school.”

The base and university have a history of working together to mutually benefit Airmen, students and university staff. From air traffic control on the installation to UND’s military appreciation games, the two entities continue to strive to better the lives of Airmen, their families and the community to which Airmen are connected.

UND is now one of four institutions offering college courses directly to Airmen stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base through the AU-ABC program, to include Lake Region State College, Park University, and University of Mary.

“I want to thank President Kennedy and his team at UND; we could not have done this without them,” said Spencer. “This goes a long way to help me make happy Airmen and we look forward to continuing to work and expand that relationship with UND."