• Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo
  • Air Force Print News
The Air Force places a premium on knowledge-based Airmen. In order to cultivate a learning-focused force, the Air Force continually establishes programs for the education of its Airmen. Serving as the starting point and synchronizing all the availabilities for Airmen, the Education Services Office is designed to satisfy their immediate educational needs in their academic field and in both their technical and vocational areas as well.

To help achieve this vision, the education office consolidated a lot of the Military Personnel Flight functions and merged it with their education and training services.

"Before we were the base training and educations services which just included the education portion and base training," said Agnes Borbely, Flight Chief for the 15th Air Wing Force Development Flight.

"Now we also have formal training, military testing, we have the Career Assistance Advisor and we have the First Term Airman Center. So we have expanded but education is still one of the major functions of the flight," she said.

The education offices' mission is to provide guidance to the military community on a vast array of programs. The most notable programs being financial aid, guidance counselors and the Community College of the Air Force.

The CCAF is worldwide multi-campus community college established to meet the educational needs of the Air Force Enlisted corps. The college is one of several federally chartered and accredited degree granting institutions that awards an associates degree to students who successfully complete the program designed for their Air Force specialty.

Airmen can earn academic credit for their CCAF degree from technical schools, duty stations and college campuses throughout the world. Specific degree programs, in each Air Force specialty area, provide students with the necessary background information to perform as technical experts and competent supervisor in their career field.

To help guide Airmen through the process of attaining a degree, the education office has dedicated professional Air Force guidance counselors who assist Airmen in a broad spectrum of college courses, degrees and developmental course work. From associate degrees through doctoral programs, counselors help students make the right choices and stay on track resulting in them attaining their degree in the shortest amount of time.

They also assist by providing information and answering questions on other Air Force programs such as, the Airman Education and Commissioning Program, Professional Military Education, the Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Air Force Academy. And for those separating from the Air Force, they also offer assistance in career planning and college placement.

As every Airmen who has applied for a college course has found out, education is not cheap. But lack of funds shouldn't stop you from applying. The education office and their counselors are on hand to help students with getting financial aid.

Airmen are allowed up to $4,500 per fiscal year with a $250 cap for each semester in tuition assistance. Anything beyond that comes out of the members pocket unless they have the Montgomery G. I. Bill or utilize other financial resources. If a member has the MGIB they can get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses through the Veterans Administrations Top Up program. With guidance from the education office Airmen can also get Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants and Federal Stafford Loans.

"With these programs essentially an Airman can have their entire tuition paid for by Uncle Sam," said Borbely.