NAFB education office informs Airmen about choices

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Part of being an adult is making hard decisions. For some, the decision to go back to school and pursue a degree can be a daunting one. Since the cost of attaining higher education can make college not financially possible for many, the decision to go could be pushed to the wayside.

Fortunately for Airmen, the U.S. Air Force is committed to the education of its members and offers many choices to help them return to school.

"The Education and Training office here offers some of the most advanced methods of training available," said Thomas Fragoso, 99th Force Support Squadron education counselor. "Students not only participate in traditional classroom instruction, but may also take advantage of live satellite-delivered interactive video instruction."

When joining the Air Force, members are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force and have a chance to earn their degree in a unique combination of on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses at times that are flexible to meet their needs.

"Enlisted personnel only need a total of 64 semester hours in five categories to complete the CCAF Degree," said Fragoso."

The Air Force also offers a tuition assistance program. The program is designed to help active duty personnel pursue off-duty educational opportunities. 

"To receive tuition assistance, apply online at the Air Force Virtual Education Center," said Fragoso. "First, you must have a degree plan/goal on file with the education center before the education center can approve your TA request."

The program currently pays $250 per semester hour of college tuition with a limit of $4,500 per fiscal year. Degree programs or courses, academic or technical, can be taken from two or four year institutions on base or off.

Fragoso added that Air Force Tuition Assistance is an important quality of life program that provides 100% tuition and fees for courses taken by active duty personnel.

However, when using TA it is important to remember there are requirements to its usage. Members must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 grading scale to continue to receive TA. For graduate studies, members must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Failure to maintain these requirements will result in students having to pay for courses on their own until they get to the required GPA.

Airman can also utilize DANTES and CLEP testing. Successfully completing the 90-minute DANTES or CLEP tests can give Airmen college credit without having to take the test's corresponding college course.

If an Airman feels they are prepared to test out of a class, William Ide, 99th Force Support Squadron, chief of Education and Training, stated the first step is to always see a councilor and they can direct them to taking the correct steps. 

"Before becoming the chief of Education and Training, I was a business owner who did most of the hiring, said Ide,"I know from the standpoint of a hiring official the importance of conveying your competency level for a job position during an interview.

"One of the ways to show your competency is to point out your educational accomplishments. Though many students may not know how important a degree is at the time they are taking the courses, they will soon know once they hit the streets. A degree accomplishment is very important and it pleases me when a student earns one."

The office offers many other educational services such as the GI Bill, commissioning, transition assistance, reimbursement and collection for failed courses, scholarships, financial aid and more.

For more information about education assistance offered at Nellis Air Force Base, contact the education office at 702-652-5280.