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New Excelsior College Policy Helps FEMA Employees Complete Degrees Faster, Reduces Costs for Federal Government



A new policy established at Excelsior College, an accredited, nonprofit online college, will allow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees and other trainees to pursue advanced college degrees at a lower cost. Excelsior will now award college credit for FEMA Emergency Management Institute Independent Study coursework, which will help many students complete their degrees sooner.

This change represents thousands of dollars in savings for individual FEMA employees — and combined, the overall cost reduction for the federal government has the potential to be significant. Now employees will be able to transfer in more credit for previous FEMA training, which means they will have fewer classes to take at Excelsior in order to complete their degree. Coupled with tuition remission and the Federal Academic Alliance tuition discount, employees can earn a degree from Excelsior at a significantly lower cost.

“First-responders who have invested hours and hours into FEMA training and independent study courses will now have an accelerated pathway toward completing their degree at Excelsior College. This will enhance their credentials and bolster their expertise in responding to emergency situations across the country,” said Lifang Shih, dean of undergraduate programs at Excelsior College.

Under Excelsior’s new policy, students can now present their FEMA training record to Excelsior’s admissions office to be evaluated for corresponding college credit. One of Excelsior’s hallmarks is the ability to translate government and corporate training into college credit through its extensive internal review process and training that has been evaluated by the American Council of Education (ACE) or other accredited college institutions.

“Importantly, this new academic policy at Excelsior College carries the potential to save the federal government and its employees millions of dollars in the years ahead,” Shih said. “In its work to strengthen workplace culture while supporting employee recruitment and retention, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management created the Federal Academic Alliance to combat workforce shortages and offer tuition savings for federal government employees, spouses, and domestic partners. Many federal agencies offer tuition reimbursement benefits to members of the federal workforce, adding to individual employee savings. Now, the federal government will have the opportunity to offer those benefits — and strengthen the skills of their employees — at a lower cost to taxpayers and employees.”

FEMA employees transfer in an average of 17 college credits from their training and independent study coursework. They can also transfer additional credits earned during previous college experience. These credits can be directed toward a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management or a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts, which can set students on the path toward pursuing a Master of in Public Administration or other graduate degrees.

For more information, visit excelsior.edu/credit-for-fema-training.

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