Sailors planning to take college courses in the new year using Tuition Assistance (TA) should submit requests before the holiday stand-down period to get a head-start on the review and approval process.
According to counselors at the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC), the primary reason for problems with TA requests is late applications, and Sailors who get an early start on their applications have the best chance of having their requests approved. Service members are required to obtain approval for TA funding before the official start of a course.
“December is the perfect time to select courses and apply for your Tuition Assistance/Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) Distance Learning (DL) funding,” said Chris Cruz, Navy Voluntary Education (VOLED) Virtual Education Capabilities director. “TA/NCPACE DL applications may be created, command approved, and submitted in the My Education module (https://myeducation.netc.navy.mil) website as early as 120 days, but no later than 14 days in advance of your school’s published term start date.”
Cruz added that TA applications are funded on a first-come, first-served basis - there’s no risk in applying early; the NCVEC can modify or cancel the TA voucher after the fact if necessary with no harm to the Sailor.
“If TA requests are received by the VOLED team on or after the class begins, the TA requests will be automatically denied in accordance with policy guidelines, putting Sailors in a potentially tough financial situation if the course is not dropped," said Cruz. "That’s why early TA submission, coupled with a well-defined education/degree plan is strongly recommended.”
Sailors planning to attend college classes are required to complete the following training (once per naval career):
1) “Navy Tuition Assistance” training: This covers Navy TA policy and the WebTA application process. For NCPACE, “NCPACE Policy and Procedures” training covers the NCPACE DL policy and application process.
2) “Navy Virtual Counseling 101” training: This helps Sailors establish education and career goals, select and apply to an academic institution, and understand the higher education life cycle. This training will help prepare for academic counseling with a Navy college education counselor.
These training products are available in the My Education section of the Navy College Program website. More details can be found in NAVADMIN 243/17, also on the website.
Before completing each higher education level - certificate, associate's, bachelor's, or masters - Sailors must also complete the following:
1) Receive academic counseling from a Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC) or overseas Navy College Office (NCO) counselor. Sailors may schedule appointments via the online appointment scheduling tool on the My Navy Portal website at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/training-education-qualifications/appointment-scheduler.
2) At a minimum, upload an unofficial education plan to your My Education record before enrolling in any classes. Once an official education plan or Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Degree Network System (SOCDNS) Student Agreement is issued by your academic institution, please upload to My Education. This is required after the first nine semester hours, or equivalent, of instruction.
Sailors may take advantage of Expedited TA/NCPACE DL funding if they meet the following conditions:
1) The Sailor’s Academic Institution (AI) has uploaded their courses and tuition costs in the Academic Institution Module (AIM) on the Navy College Program website.
2) The Sailor selected course and tuition information for their application from the My Education course and tuition pick lists, rather than manually entering in courses. Expedited funding cannot happen if the Sailor made manual entries.
3) All Navy requirements are met (training, counseling, EAOS, no missing grades, etc.)
4) The application is command approved.
Once the application process is complete, My Education automatically sends the service member a link within My Education to locate and print the authorization voucher for signing and delivery to the AI.
For additional information on the Navy College Program, visit www.navycollege.navy.mil to start the education process, complete required training, submit a Help Request through the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC), initiate a Live Chat session, or review knowledge management articles. The NCVEC can be reached Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Eastern Time toll free 1-877-838-1659; DSN 492-4684. For OCONUS Navy College Office (NCO) information, visit: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/contact.htm.
The Navy College Program Mobile Application offers access to the NCP planning tools, including required training and the counseling scheduler. Sailors can download the app from iTunes or Google Play store at no cost. Search ‘NCP App’ in the stores. The URL for the Navy College Program website is: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil.
An additional program - Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (Navy COOL), provides information about licenses and certifications applicable to all Navy occupations, offering resources and funding to help Sailors gain appropriate civilian desired, and in many cases required, credentials.
For more information about Navy COOL, visit www.cool.navy.mil/ or call (850) 452-6683.
Navy College Program improvements are part of the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E) Transformation, a modernization effort that will overhaul the way human resources services are provided to all Sailors, their families, and future recruits. Over the next several years, the Transformation will change how services are offered throughout a Sailor's entire "Hire-to-Retire" life cycle, by streamlining processes and systems to improve the speed, accuracy, and quality of HR services.
Sailors can also get the latest information by following Navy Voluntary Education on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NavyVoluntaryEducation/.
Additional information about the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center can be found via https://www.netc.navy.mil/netc/netpdc/Default.htm .
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For more news from Naval Education And Training Professional Development Center, visit www.navy.mil/.