LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. –
So, you've enjoyed the summer, and you're anxious to get back into school this fall?
Returning to academics after a relaxing summer can be a stressful transition, but the financial and educational benefits offered by the Langley Education Center can possibly reduce some unwanted stress.
The education center, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, has several universities to choose from, to include: Hampton University, Saint Leo University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Troy University, Thomas Nelson Community College and Old Dominion University.
During fiscal year 2008, which will come to an end next month, the education center approved $4.9 million worth of Tuition Assistance. The TA cap is $4,500 per fiscal year, with a maximum of $250 per semester hour, or $750 for an average three-semester-hour course. This applies to officers and enlisted servicemembers.
If tuition costs exceed the cap, individuals can use their Montgomery GI Bill in conjunction with TA via a Veterans Affairs' program called Top-Up. For more information regarding Top-Up or the new Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Bill and its benefits offered under Chapter 33, visit the VA Web site at http://www.va.gov/
Enrollment in two courses per semester constitutes a full-time student. If a student is interested in attending three courses during one semester, their supervisor must provide a letter of approval endorsed by a senior noncommissioned officer.
In addition to TA, other educational services include Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support and College Level Examination Program testing, which are free to military members, commissioning assistance for active-duty and civilians and commissioning briefings that outline the opportunities. These courses can be directly applied to a Community College of the Air Force degree.
The CCAF is an associate degree program that provides college accreditation for professional military education that all active-duty personnel receive throughout their career. Examples of CCAF education include Basic Military Training, Career Development Courses and Airman Leadership School.
"CCAF graduations are held twice a year in the spring and fall," said Karen Braxton, education services advisor. "(At Langley,) approximately 350 students receive their CCAF diploma each year."
If a member needs to withdraw from a course after the withdrawal date, they must apply for a waiver, which are approved on a case-by-case basis through a third party. Some reasons for withdrawal may include deployments, an ill family member or hospitalization of the military member.
One way to avoid possible deployment- or PCS-related withdrawals is to enroll in an online course program.
"The benefit of an online program is that the member can take their courses with them TDY, or even when PCS'ing, they can stay with that program's curriculum," said Evans Ramsey, education services supervisor.
For more information regarding educational services, call the Langley Education Center at 225-3516 or 764-3662.
Editor's Note: The education center is currently understaffed with an employee to student ratio of eight to 2,640, from Canada to Puerto Rico. For this reason, they ask kindly that students exercise patience, as staff will provide assistance in as timely a manner as possible.