Since access to technology is constantly at our fingertips, the University of Alabama has developed over 90 innovative online degree and certificate programs designed for people who want to further their education but aren’t able to be on campus during the week. These programs are perfect for people like Eddie Lawrence—an active-duty Platoon Sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserve. Since 2019, Eddie has been pursuing a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration.
Keep reading to learn more about Eddie’s story and the UA Online experience.
About Eddie Lawrence
Born in Montgomery, Eddie Lawrence is a career serviceman, first joining the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991. After serving in Iraq, Eddie left the Corps in 2005 and joined the Georgia National Guard, where he served for five years. From 2010 to the present, Eddie has served in the Army Reserve and is currently stationed in Phoenix, Arizona.
Throughout his military career, Eddie has prioritized his education—beginning with an Associates Degree as a paralegal after coming back from boot camp in 1991.
“I originally wanted to become a lawyer, but I love serving my country so I stopped focusing on studying law. However, attending the University of Alabama has always been on my bucket list. I’ve been following them since I was seven years old, and I’ve always dreamed of graduating from UA.”Eddie Lawrence
In 2019, Eddie got to check an item off his bucket list by enrolling in a Commerce and Business Administration program through UA Online.
“I decided to pursue a degree in finance, because at the end of the day money makes the world go ’round. I’m a big family man, so providing for my family is always going to be my goal, and numbers have always interested me. With finance, I’m learning skills in financial analysis, portfolio management and more.”Eddie Lawrence
In 2022, UA Online established a new Military Tuition Grant to cover tuition costs not paid by a military service branch’s tuition assistance, thus minimizing the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by service members.
“You really can’t put a price tag on the value of UA Online’s Military Tuition Grant. For people like myself, the Grant allows me to pursue that dream of higher education with a respected institution like the University of Alabama while supporting my wife and children at home in Atlanta.”Eddie Lawrence
Balancing studies with military responsibilities
Balancing military duties with education is no easy task—luckily, a lifetime of military service has instilled the discipline Eddie needs to accomplish his goals. On a typical day, Eddie completes his morning physical training before getting started on the day’s work. After the work day is done, Eddie takes a short break to talk with his family before getting started on his schoolwork.
“I’m currently taking three classes, and I’ll spend about five or six hours on each course during the week. That’s another part-time job!”Eddie Lawrence
Occasionally, Eddie will be selected to work over the weekend—giving him even less time off. Due to the fluidity of his schedule, Eddie can’t always complete his coursework on schedule. Luckily, the UA Online faculty are understanding of his situation.
“Many of my instructors are flexible when it comes to getting assignments in on time. Luckily, I haven’t had to ask for any extended time for testing—but I’m sure they would be willing to work with me. If my grades are not where they need to be, the instructor will reach out and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Ultimately, you can tell that they want you to succeed.”Eddie Lawrence
Learn more about pursuing a degree with UA Online
If all goes according to plan, Eddie will finish his B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration by December 2024. After graduating, Eddie may choose to pursue a graduate degree—but he has plenty of time to decide.
“No matter what happens in your life, no matter what path you may choose to travel, education is something that no one can ever take from you. I would encourage any serviceman or woman to pursue an education—there shouldn’t be any second thought about if it’s worth it.”Eddie Lawrence
Want to learn more about pursing a degree with UA Online? Click here to learn more about the 90+ affordable and flexible degrees available.
If you are an active-duty Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Space Force, National Guard or Reserve service member, click here to learn about your eligibility to UA Online’s Military Tuition Grant.
Have you pursued a degree with UA Online? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know what you loved about the program!