More than half of Coastline's graduating class has never set foot on campus
Coastline Community College will graduate a total of 1754 students this Saturday, but more than half of the graduating class has never set foot on one of the college’s three campuses. They are members of Coastline’s unique student population that are stationed on military bases all over the world, and they have earned their degree entirely by distance learning, an instructional method the college is well known for.
“We’ve been serving the military for more than 25 years,” explains Nate Harrison, Coordinator of Instructional Services for Coastline’s Military Programs department. “It’s not unusual for us to meet our students face-to-face for the first time at our annual commencement ceremony,” he says.
Although the college has campus locations in Westminster, Garden Grove, and Newport Beach, Coastline has had a robust Distance Learning program since its founding in 1976. As an early leader in delivering instruction at a distance, the college soon took that expertise to the military and now offers education programs tailored to all branches including the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and the Reserve Components of all the Services.
Military students from all branches will join “civilian graduates” at the annual commencement ceremony taking place in Garden Grove’s Don Wash Auditorium on Saturday, May 18. That day is also recognized as Armed Forces Day—a fitting, but unplanned, coincidence. At the ceremony, 944 students will be recognized for earning their Associate’s Degree or Certificate of Achievement via Coastline Military Programs. Of those attending, most military grads will be traveling from nearby bases such as Camp Pendleton. However, some students are expected to make the cross-country trek from bases in Virginia and Maryland.
“They wear the uniform every day,” adds Harrison, “On this day they look forward to wearing a cap and gown. It’s something they are really proud of. It’s something we’re really proud of.”
Coastline Military Programs students complete their education at a distance via online instruction, CD or DVD classes, or even by completing their courses work on their PDA or cell phone. They can also apply what they’ve learned in the military to their degree or certificate, as Coastline grants up to 44 semester hours for their military training and educational experiences. The A.A. or A.S. degrees that they earn at Coastline can be specific to military occupational-related areas, and are transferrable to four year colleges and universities. For information on the Coastline Military Programs, visit www.coastline.edu or call (714) 241-6326.