By Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
A 2nd Bomb Wing education specialist, goes over tuition assistance rates at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Airmen are allotted $250 per semester hour, or $4,500 per fiscal year for TA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
Through tuition assistance, a benefit all Airmen are afforded, up to $4,500 a year in tuition costs can be covered. The first step to receiving this benefit is visiting the education center.
Barksdale’s Training and Education Center offers information on various programs and services that are available to Airmen.
“Career development courses and upgrade training take priority,” said Danielle Williams, 2nd Bomb Wing education services specialist. “Once Airmen get their five level, they can discuss going to school with their supervisor. If allowed, they will sign up with our office for an initial education brief. However, while they are in upgrade training, we encourage Airmen to send their official college transcripts to the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) as soon as possible.”
Sending in transcripts and scheduling an education brief while studying CDCs can get the ball rolling on the education pre-enrollment process. After the initial education brief, Airmen will need to apply for tuition assistance (TA) if they want the Air Force to pay for their classes.
“After the initial education and TA brief, our office will help Airmen figure out their education goal which is basically a map of the classes they will need to take,” Williams said. “We will load an educational goal and help Airmen apply for TA through the Air Force Virtual Education Center.”
Airmen from across the base utilize the education center, benefiting from what it offers.
“I have used the services here a lot,” said Senior Airman Jennifer Raad, 2nd Force Support Squadron wing formal training manager. “I have taken advantage of the college level examination program (CLEP) to get college credit and I am currently going to Northwestern State University. I am working toward my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”
“The education center has always been very helpful,” Raad added. “They break the whole process down, they are very detailed with instructions and are always willing to help no matter the situation.”
TA, which is separate from the GI Bill, can be used while Airmen are on active duty to earn one associate degree and a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
TA is $250 a semester hour and maxes out at $4,500 per fiscal year. Once an Airman applies for TA, his or her supervisor will have to approve it. After that, the education office is the last approving step.
Airmen may further their education to commission, improve their chances to promote or to broaden their skills at work. Though the reasons may vary, the opportunity to better oneself through education is the same. To schedule an initial education brief, call the base education center customer service at (318)456-2615.