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Non-profit college looks to open locally next May

It is accredited to award undergraduate and graduate degrees

Dr. Dan Jacobson, executive director and campus dean of the Hawai’i campus of Wayland Baptist University says the school is looking forward to offering classes for local students as early as May 2018.

And with low tuition rates, Wayland shouldn't have any problems recruiting locals, as more and more people are returning to school to get that piece of paper that will land them higher salaries and in some cases - better jobs.

Dr. Jacobson told Samoa News yesterday that his first trip to the territory was earlier this year in March, during which he was able to meet several individuals who have become instrumental in helping him with the cause.

These include Pastor Tafao, Pastor Lemmy Seumanu, Papalii and Wanda Alofa, officials from the local US Army Reserve Center, and leaders of the American Samoa Community College.

Dr. Jacobson arrived in the territory earlier this week and is departing tonight but before he leaves, he hopes to speak to local residents who may be interested in teaching for Wayland. (Contact information can be found in their advertisement elsewhere in today's paper).

Wayland is a private, non-profit school that offers undergraduate and graduate courses in a Christian-based setting.

The two local sites the school is looking to open up at are: Manumalo Academy and the Konelio Pele US Army Reserve Center.

Dr. Jacobson, a retired US Air Force officer, said military members who want to take classes with Wayland have an advantage, as the school drops its price to meet the service members' tuition assistance.

Also, since the school does not have administration fees, and it is non-profit, local businesses — and individuals — who want to contribute to the program can write off the donations when they file their taxes and furthermore, every cent goes to a scholarship program for local students.

"It's definitely a win for students who otherwise cannot pay for school," he said.

May 2018 is the target date for the program to open locally, with one-on-one instruction. Online courses are also offered for those whose areas of interest will not be offered initially when the school opens its doors here.

"Once we get a qualified cadre of qualified instructors, more courses will be offered," said Dr. Jacobson. Class sizes will be capped at 25 students, "to keep the classes small and allow for engagement with the instructor."

Dr. Jacobson said he refuses to bring instructors in from off island. He said he wants to employ locals, as they are familiar with the culture, the students, and the challenges. Also, he added, hiring locally will assist the local economy.

Wayland is a great choice for those on a limited budget. Its tuition per credit hour is one of the most affordable among accredited universities. The school accepts tuition assistance vouchers from all military branches, including federal and state agencies and civilian organizations.

Financial aid assistance is available to military and civilians, and the convenience of evening and weekend classes makes it all that much better.

Wayland has 8 locations on Oahu — seven on military bases, and one campus in Mililani.

Up to 12 credit hours can be awarded for work experience and ACE accredited military schools, police and sheriff academies can count towards more than 1/3 of credits needed.

Dr. Jacobson has already gotten the ball rolling as far as transfers for students from ASCC. He has presented an articulation agreement that basically details what credits Wayland will accept for transfer from ASCC.

"We are not here to compete with ASCC," he said. "We are here to complement them."

Dr. Jacobson has been in contact with officials from the ASCC and he said they have been very receptive.

Wayland Baptist University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, and master's level.

The school offers more than 65 programs and serves over 5,000 students in various locations including the Southwest, Alaska, and Kenya.