Whether they serve at nearby Whiteman Air Force Base or across the globe, men and women in the United States Air Force who are pursuing an associate degree can now apply their Air Force college credit toward an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Central Missouri.

This opportunity is made possible through UCM’s selection as a partner in the Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (AU-ABC). UCM was informed in July that its application to join the cooperative has been accepted. Air Force members (who have a CCAF in Criminal Justice) may now continue their studies toward a baccalaureate degree from UCM, beginning this fall. This can be accomplished completely and conveniently online and at the active military tuition rate, which provides a savings for military members seeking undergraduate credit.

According to Courtney Swoboda, director of Military and Veterans Services at UCM, after Air Force personnel have completed their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), AU-ABC provides an opportunity for them to transfer those credits to a number of partner institutions nationwide that will enable them to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Swoboda said the university has been looking at opportunities to enable Air Force members to apply their CCAF credit toward a UCM degree. While UCM offers many different types of academic programs, the Criminal Justice and Criminology program aligned well with the needs of service members, particularly meeting the online requirements for individuals who may be mobile.

With Whiteman Air Force Base situated less than 10 miles east of the university, UCM already offers in-person graduate classes for military personnel. This experience has provided an understanding of not only what the need for the Criminal Justice and Criminology program may be at Whiteman but also well beyond its boundaries.
“Having an AU-ABC agreement for Criminal Justice and Criminology is a great opportunity for members in the Security Forces AFSC at Whiteman, which has a large presence at the base,” Swoboda said.

Lynn Urban, chair of UCM’s School of Public Services, which houses the Criminal Justice and Criminology program, noted that similar to other community college transfer agreements, the AU-ABC “provides a well-defined pathway for CCAF students to complete their bachelor’s degrees at UCM."

“Providing a clear list of how CCAF courses transfer in, and how many courses a student still needs at UCM, helps students make decisions about the program that are right for them. This agreement brings peace of mind to students pursuing a Criminal Justice and Criminology major at UCM because they know with certainty what their completion plan looks like,” Urban said.

Courtney Irvine, who serves as the onsite coordinator for UCM programs at WAFB, worked with Urban, Swoboda and other university offices to make this opportunity possible. Working out of WAFB’s Professional Development Center, she is instrumental in the university’s efforts to maintain close connections with military personnel through education.

“UCM’s participation in the AU-ABC program allows Airmen the opportunity to build a bridge between their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and UCM’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice and Criminology,” Irvine said.

“Airmen who have completed their CCAF degree who elect to participate in the AU-ABC program at UCM are required to complete no more than 60 semester hours with UCM to complete their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology. Students can complete all the required courses online. UCM is proud to offer a reduced online undergraduate tuition rate for active military. By partnering with Air University and the United States Air Force, UCM is helping Airmen to maximize their military education and training and therefore achieve their educational goals more efficiently," Irvine concluded.

UCM is a Military Friendly® institution that offers a military tuition package, active duty military tuition rate, and military in-state rates. This is in addition to facilities such as the Military and Veterans Success Center, which provides computer stations, meeting space and personnel ready to service active duty military and veterans.

Individuals who want to learn more, including obtaining addition information about the AU-ABC, can check out UCM’s Military and Veterans Services website at https://www.ucmo.edu/future-students/military-and-veterans-services/. They can also call 660-543-8776 or email vets@ucmo.edu.