New York Veteran Benefits from Excelsior Education Partnership

VFW Partnerships are Expanding to Other States

The New York VFW's education partnership with Excelsior College, forged in early 2011 to help engage younger veterans with the VFW, has begun to show results for VFW members seeking to complete college degrees.

More than a dozen New York VFW members have initiated contact with Excelsior, including Douglas Hauser, 48, of Oswego, NY. A U.S. Navy veteran who separated in 1992, he was already a VFW member when he signed on with Excelsior College in 2008 to complete an undergraduate degree. His prior Navy experience and training in the Navy Nuclear Power program made him a logical candidate for a technology degree.

He was at work with his online courses in early 2011 when the New York VFW signed an education partnership agreement with Excelsior. The agreement provides reduced tuition and fees for New York VFW members, and for Hauser it was good news: he would qualify for lower partnership tuition rates as he wrapped up his coursework in the Associate of Science in Technology degree program. He’s now approved for graduation in January 2012 and doesn’t plan to stop there. He is planning to enroll in a Bachelor of Science engineering degree program at Excelsior as well. An engineering degree will help him to move up the ladder in the power industry: he now works as a power plant supervisor at Oswego Harbor Power.

Like many adult students, Hauser’s higher education path carried some early starts and stops: He began college at SUNY-Brockport, left for a Navy career and after six years, left to earn more money in the power industry.

"At the time, I didn't really think I needed a degree," he said. But in 2008, the plant where he worked shut down, and to his surprise, he discovered he needed a degree to find new work and maintain his standard of living. That’s when he found Excelsior.

Excelsior accepted many of his prior education and military training credits and offered the flexibility of online coursework. It was an ideal solution to his education needs.

"I like the Excelsior program," he said. "I work a rotating, 12-hour shift, so I can jump on a computer much easier than I can go to a traditional classroom. I do a lot of coursework in the middle of the night. My son is a little surprised that I am still going to school, but I tell my kids that if you don’t have a college degree, you can miss out on some important things in life."

To learn more about education options at Excelsior College, contact Judith Reed, director of veterans services and outreach, at 518-464-8678 or email

Douglas Hauser

Douglas Hauser