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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Soldiers will no longer be allowed to self-enroll in the Army’s distance learning college program eArmyU.

Beginning with fiscal year 2004, soldiers need approval from commands, said Kelley Mustion, deputy director of the Army Continuing Education System for the South Korea region.

Eligible soldiers will be put on an “order of merit” list that prioritizes enrollment, Mustion said.

When the list is exhausted, commands will be asked for more soldiers.

“I think that we needed to look at the soldiers that are enrolled in the program to improve their success,” Mustion said. “I think we needed to involve a little more supervision.”

The Internet-based university offers 157 programs through 27 U.S. colleges.

Courses and needed laptop computers are free for soldiers who meet credit requirements, she said.

Soldiers who receive a laptop must complete 12 semester hours within two years of enrollment and complete a three-year remaining service requirement.

Soldiers also can opt not to receive a laptop in exchange for reduced program requirements.

Those without the laptop are required to complete three semester hours within 90 days of enrollment and stay in the Army for one year.

Due to Army deployments, enrolled students were given a six-month extension in April to meet program requirements, Mustion said.

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued to participate in eArmyU from the field, according to the Army.

Deployed soldiers can request an additional six-month extension from their local education center.

In eArmyU, soldiers take Web-based classes during their free time.

About 40,000 soldiers are enrolled in eArmyU, which started in January 2001.

In South Korea, about 1,800 soldiers participate, and centers are located at camps Casey, Hovey, Nimble, Castle and Mobile.

PricewaterhouseCoopers received a five-year, $453 million contract to develop the program.

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