Tuition Assistance Gives Employees Opportunity to Further Education

Aug 29, 2002

2002-08-29 -  By Operations Specialist 2nd Class Wendy Kahn, NNMC Public Affairs BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Are you a civilian working for the Navy who's putting off another school course because of high tuition costs? Now that summer break is almost over, it’s time to think about heading back to school and receiving money for it.

The Civilian Tuition Assistance Program (CTAP) was established at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) and its Branch Medical Clinics to give civil service employees the opportunity to further their professional development by making available payment for tuition fees.

Under the program, tuition assistance is awarded for credited courses taken at a college, technical, or vocational school. When civilians use tuition assistance, they gain the opportunity for self-improvement, and the command will acquire the benefit of better-trained employees.

"It’s a win-win situation for both the command and the applicant/recipient," Lt. Charlene Inouye, MSC, chairman of the CTAP, said. "The program helps civilians attain their own professional and personal growth in relation to their job."

Since the program’s inception late last year, 56 people have been awarded over $38 thousand to develop and enhance their employee skills related to their official duties.

As of early June, the amount of money awarded increased to $2,000 a semester times three semesters, or $6,000, with no limit on the number of courses taken.

Previously, the amount was $2,000 a year, or $1,000 a semester for two semesters, according to Inouye.

"I love the program," says Kerry Snow, supervisor of the Clinical Laboratory Informatics Branch. "It’s been a great help to me. I’ve taken computer classes, and the program has helped my professional advancement here. It’s been a big personal gain for me."

Mae Estrada, secretary of Clinical Support Services, also uses CTAP and also agrees that it helped her with her professional and personal development.

"As a civil service worker, I think the program is one of our great benefits at NNMC," she says. "The program administrators are very helpful and helped me through the paperwork. I’ve been at NNMC for about 12 to 13 years, and this is the first time the program was offered. I recommend that everybody take advantage of it."

Under CTAP, civilians must meet the following criteria to use the program:
- Must be college or Technical/vocational School credited courses.
- Courses must be related to official duties at NNMC or its branch clinics.
- Maintain satisfactory attendance.
- Receive a passing grade of at least a ‘C," or equivalent, and submit written evidence of course completion with the grade received to the supervisor.

Inouye stresses that civil service employees must be working at NNMC or any of its branch medical clinics for at least one year to use CTAP. In addition, use of this program is prohibited solely for the purpose of promotion, or to obtain an academic degree to qualify for a particular degree position.

Applications must be for one to two courses at a time and must be submitted to a tuition assistance board member 30 days before course enrollment. Approval must be obtained before course registration, and there is no retroactive reimbursement.

For instructions on completing DD Form 1556, access the Web site address at

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