21 June, 2006. By Joy Samsel, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- To assist Sailors in their pursuit of higher educational goals, as well as certifications and qualifications associated with their Navy career field, the U.S. Navy is raising the limits on Tuition Assistance (TA) available to all active-duty members (officer and enlisted).
Sailors are now eligible for 100 percent of tuition costs, up to $250 per semester hour (SH) and up to 16 SH per fiscal year, an increase from the previous limit of 12 SH.
“Sailors in today's Navy need to be highly motivated and educated professionals,” said Vice Adm. Kevin Moran, commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC). “The critical thinking skills developed through higher education are essential elements to the success of Sailors in the 21st century. It is our job to provide the opportunities for these highly valued and committed individuals to grow and develop in the Navy. All our programs must be responsive to this new Sailor, including Voluntary Education.”
According to a Navy message sent to the fleet June 9 (NAVADMIN 166/06), TA will remain at 16 SH throughout FY-07 and use will be closely monitored by NETC. If the rate of overall TA expenditures creates a danger of running out of funding prior to the end of the fiscal year, NETC may impose management controls and priorities to ensure that academic planning is not disrupted. Funding controls may include limiting TA requests over 12 SH to courses tied directly to degree completion.
“In addition to TA, the Navy College Program has two other significant programs to help Sailors earn a college degree,” explained NETC Force Master Chief (SW/AW/SS/PJ) Mike McCalip. “A visit to the local Navy College Office (NCO) is a logical first step for Sailors to learn about what is available to them, from the wide variety of college level examinations to the Navy College Program for Afloat Education (NCPACE). The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Examination Program, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) program offer testing opportunities that can help Sailors to take advantage of knowledge they already have and accelerate their progress toward degree completion.”
McCalip said through these programs and others, Sailors can take tests in a variety of subjects and receive recommended college credit for each test successfully completed.
There are also several college admission tests given through the NCOs, including the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT) Assessment Program. The Graduate Record Exam may be taken at certain testing sites off-base and DANTES will reimburse the Sailor for the cost of the test. The Sailor must personally fund the test administration fee.
NCPACE is an important program for Sailors afloat, offering both academic skills and college (undergraduate and graduate) courses. McCalip said, “NCPACE gives Sailors the opportunity to experience challenging education while on sea duty assignments preparing them for personal and professional growth.” He added that Sailors should take advantage of this program to enable them to continue to progress toward degree completion.
In addition, in August 2005, the Navy announced an educational initiative designed to encourage senior enlisted personnel to seek degrees to complement their Navy training and experience. Beginning in fiscal year 2011, an associate's degree or equivalent that is rating-relevant will be a prerequisite for advancement to senior chief petty officer for both active and reserve component personnel.
“This initiative is part of the Navy’s evolving strategy for our people and is an integral component of the Professional Military Education (PME) Continuum, which supports post-secondary education as a means of preparing Sailors for the highly technical 21st century,” said McCalip.
NAVADMIN 203/05 outlines this senior enlisted education initiative.
To be eligible for advancement to senior chief petty officer for the FY-11 selection board and beyond, Sailors must earn rating-relevant associate's degrees from an accredited institution. To review the list of rating-relevant degree options from the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnerships, access the Sailor/Marine Online Academic Advisor (SMOLAA) viahttps://smart.navy.mil/smart/welcome.co or Navy Knowledge Online at www.nko.navy.mil.
“The Navy values education,” said Moran. “Pursuing a college certificate or degree during off-duty time develops important characteristics such as time management and critical thinking. It enhances competencies in verbal, written and mathematical skills. Education is and will continue to be a key factor in the personal and professional development of our Sailors, and Navy leadership is committed to providing financial assistance to all active-duty Sailors as they pursue their educational goals.”
For more information on the Naval Education and Training Command, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil.