In June of 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a new policy that enables graduates of accredited online high schools who also score 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test to receive Tier 1 enlistment priority.

The Department of Defense education credential tiers are based on first-term attrition rates among recruits with various levels of education. Recruits who achieve Tier 1 status are far more likely to complete their first term of military enlistment. Department of Defense benchmarks now require that at least 90 percent of recruits enlisting possess a Tier 1 enlistment priority.

The new policy represents a shift in the Department’s stance toward online education. Previously, students with online high school diplomas were frequently given Tier 2 status. With the requirement that 90 percent of recruits must possess Tier 1 credentials, this opens new doors for online students.

According to Lernes Hebert, acting director of accession policy for the Department of Defense, the current recruiting environment in the U.S. military is highly competitive. “High retention rates and force reductions have impacted the number of positions available for interested applicants,” Lernes said.

“This new Department of Defense policy adds another layer of value to the high school diploma and credentialed career certificate students earn through Smart Horizons Career Online Education’s comprehensive online academic program,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent of SHCOE. “Our goal at SHCOE is to re-engage students into the education process and enhance their lives, whatever their career goals may be.”