Air Force

March 14, 2013

Perusing education without tuition assistance

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Senior Airman Brittany Dowdle
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
TA_pict
Airmen sit through the first Tuition Assistance Suspension briefing held at the Professional Development Center here March 13. Representatives from local colleges, the PDC and the Veterans Affairs Office sat in on the briefing to answer questions and provide Airmen with additional information.

Effective March 11, the Secretary of the Air Force has approved the suspension of the Tuition Assistance Program.

The Air Force has had to make difficult choices to preserve readiness: suspension of flying operations at community outreach events, flying hour cuts and suspension of Air Force training and education programs.

“The combined effects of continuing resolution and sequestration are forcing some very tough decisions,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. “Given this environment, we’ve had to make the decision to suspend military tuition assistance for the remainder of this fiscal year.”

Airmen currently enrolled in courses approved for military TA are not affected and are allowed to complete current course enrollment. However, Airmen are no longer permitted to submit new requests for TA.

The Air Force continues to value education as a force multiplier, and Airmen should take advantage of educational opportunities to make themselves more proficient in their profession, setting them up for success.

“We understand suspension of TA benefits make things tougher,” Cody said. “There are other ways for Airmen to complete the Community College of the Air Force degree.”

Some alternate sources for funding education are College Level Examination Program exams, federal or private loans, grants, scholarships and the GI Bill.

“Tuition assistance was only one way to work on education,” said Mr. Carl Rhea, 355th Force Support Squadron education services officer.  “There are endless opportunities that still exist for members to reach their goals.”

The education center at D-M has already begun the process of helping Airmen continue their pursuit of higher education.

“We stand by to work through this to the end,” Rhea said. “The education center will immediately transition to assist members in this new direction.”

In fiscal year 2012, more than 104,000 Airmen used TA, which provided $194 million to the pursuit of educational goals in more than 277,000 classes. Tuition assistance aided Airmen in receiving over 26,000 associate degrees, 2,000 baccalaureate degrees and 3,000 graduate degrees.

For more information, contact the Education Center at 228-4815.




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