BHSU helps Air Force members earn degree

BHSU joins national program to help Air Force members earn an associate’s degree

( JUNE 15, 2020) SPEARFISH, S.D. – Black Hills State University is now part of the General Education Mobile (GEM) program designed to assist U.S. Air Force members in completing their degrees. Active Duty personnel can now take online courses through BHSU toward their associate’s degree with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF).

Greg Krajewski, U.S. Air Force veteran and veterans resource coordinator at BHSU, says the GEM program offers flexibility for airmen to take BHSU college courses from anywhere in the world. The program is also a benefit for service members who want to continue their education through BHSU, even after being deployed or relocated.

“BHSU offers a world class online course experience with quality instruction. There is no cost for Active Duty military men and women to take general education courses through BHSU, after applying for Federal Tuition Assistance and then getting a tuition break from BHSU for being active military,” says Krajewski.

BHSU offers 25 online general education courses such as English, history, science and math, that are not provided through the CCAF. The GEM program allows airmen to complete all general education requirements online through civilian academic institutions.


Airmen assigned to the 911th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform a pre-flight inspection on a C-17 Globemaster III at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pa., March 3, 2020. Pre-flight inspections are performed on aircraft before every flight to ensure mission and operational readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)



Debbie Liddick, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who now works at BHSU as assistant director of facilities and sustainability, provided insight for the University to pursue this option to support members of the military.

“BHSU has always supported veterans and we are always looking for new ways to continue that connection. GEM was designed for non-traditional students. All Active Duty airmen are non-traditional students in that they have a job to do, defending our country and that usually requires deployments. This means they’re not able to register for full time regular classes that traditional students can partake in. That’s where GEM comes in,” says Liddick.

In the military, education is particularly important because it is required in most cases for promotion. Airmen require a CCAF associate degree to be promoted beyond the grade of Staff Sergeant and Officers require a master’s degree beyond the grade of Captain, says Liddick.

In addition to GEM, BHSU offers a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership that is especially beneficial to military service members. This online degree is designed to help individuals advance in their careers, whether in the service industry or military.

Learn more about GEM at BHSU at or contact Greg Krajewski at 605-642-6415.


About Veterans Affairs at BHSU

Black Hills State University serves veterans and their dependents throughout the world, and at the BHSU campus in Spearfish and in Rapid City, with education benefits assistance, transfer information, career counseling, and more. The University has consistently earned the Best for Vets: Colleges and Military Friendly® recognitions over the last decade. In 2014, BHSU launched a reduced tuition rate for all current and activity duty military personnel at BHSU-Rapid City. With the Federal Tuition Assistance of $250, the reduced tuition rate at BHSU covers the full cost of a military student’s education. Veterans Resource Centers offer a supportive space on the BHSU campus in Spearfish and Rapid City for military students to study, print, and connect. BHSU also works with the National Cemetery Administration, a division of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to honor veterans who have been interred at National cemeteries in the Black Hills through the Veteran’s Legacy Program. BHSU offers a minor in military science and a master’s degree in strategic leadership. The University is part of the Mount Rushmore Battalion ROTC program.