“Once tuition assistance was brought back, new requirements for TA approval were set forth,” said Sandy Cooper, 56th Force Support Squadron guidance counselor.”
Prior to the changes, Airmen could walk in the education center with a written degree plan and have their TA approved. Beginning Oct. 1 Airmen need to have an e-degree plan submitted into the Air Force Virtual Education Center in order to get the plan reviewed and approved by the counselors at the education center.
“When Airmen submit an e-degree plan, they need to list every core class as well as insert the total number of general education and elective credits they will be taking,” said Jennifer Reyes, 56th FSS intern guidance counselor. “Most importantly, students need to ensure the e-degree plan is filled out correctly.”
The new requirements were put in place to ensure Airmen stay on track and don’t take classes that aren’t applicable to their degree, Reyes said.
“Some of the changes will affect those who’d like to make changes in degree plans,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately, people won’t be able to change degrees and schools as frequently as they did before, and if they do, it will be a more difficult process to do so.”
Airmen will also be unable to pursue an associate degree to include Community College of the Air Force degrees, if they already have one, Cooper said. They will have to move on to a bachelor’s degree.
“We highly advise students to know or have a good idea of what type of degree they would like to pursue prior to making a degree plan so there will be less chance of changing degrees further down the line,” Cooper said. “Also, if a student changes his mind when he is already far into a degree, it can affect the chances of his TA being approved for the degree change.”
Some changes that are already implemented are TA is automatically denied due to a failed PT test or an unfavorable information file. Depending on the circumstance, some areas can be waived by a supervisor to include if an individual is in upgrade training, on TDY assignment or changing duty stations.
If one doesn’t fall into any of these categories, all he would need is his supervisor’s approval after submitting an e-degree plan to AFVEC and having it approved by the counselors.
To stay on track, Cooper advises students visit the college’s academic advisor annually to ensure they are taking all the right classes.
Ensuring one’s e-degree plan is created and up-to-date is labor intensive but the counselors at the education center are available to help.
“We have computers to help students on degree plans,” Cooper said. “Our main goal is to help students get enrolled in school, be prepared and succeed in their future endeavors.”
The education center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located on the third floor of Bldg. 1150. Counselors are available for walk-ins and appointments. For more information, call 623-856-7722, or visit the AFVEC and click on the “resource section” where there are tutorials on creating an e-degree and more.