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UND partners with Air Force to help airmen get degrees

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ)--Skipping two years of college.

The University of North Dakota is now partnering with the United States Air Force to help airmen get undergraduate degrees.

The program was just approved, and will now recognize credits from  already required Air Force classes as associate degrees.This means that any Air Force member who wants to attend UND will now be able to transfer in as a junior instead of a freshman.

A partnership five years in the making.

"There are some airmen that are going to be absolutely excited!" said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Thomas.

Airmen will now be allowed to transfer into UND and have 64 completed credits recognized, just by being in the US Air Force.

And it's not only airmen stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base -- anyone in the air force who can enroll.

"we make this opportunity available nationally, and to international. It's to students who are stationed overseas, so that anyone can participate, the programs are completely online,” said UND Director of Administrative Services, Sherry Lawdermilt.

"I know that many of our airmen that are joining the airforce today, that is one of their main, driving reasons for joining the airforce. and it has been for quite some time. Educational benefits, and an ability to go and further their education,” said Thomas.

UND is not the first school in the country to start this program, but they are one of the biggest.

"To get a college of the caliber, of the story and tradition of the University of North Dakota and education, is exciting for the air force,” said Thomas.

The university says it will benefit from having airmen on campus and in classes.

And the Air Force thinks it will benefit them as well.

"We benefit from educated airmen. The more education that our airmen can receive the better air force we are in the long run,” said Col. Ben Spencer.

Airmen can start enrolling in classes in 2018. The university says they are also working to make more programs available to them.