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Be proactive; get your education

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- -- The new motto for Buckley's Education Center is "Be proactive."

The education office will become more visible in 2013 with a representative speaking at commander's calls, first sergeant meetings, Joint Junior Enlisted Group meetings and other venues to encourage Airmen to seek a higher education.

With the education center realizing the importance leaders are placing on Airmen to further their education, the center is highlighting such opportunities as tuition assistance, testing programs and education counselors.

"The education center offers a huge spectrum of services from the tuition assistance, academic counseling, and (College Level Examination Program) and (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services) testing," said Mariesha Vargas, 460th Force Support Squadron chief of education and training. "Since Buckley does not have a base library, we decided to have a resource room available which has the (Chief of Staff of the Air Force) reading list, CLEP and DANTES study guides, and scholarship information. We are also working hard to bring some classes on base so that Team Buckley can go to school either on their lunch break or right after work."

Through the tuition assistance program, the Air Force will pay $250 per credit hour or $166.67 per quarter hour and authorized fees such as laboratory, technology and shop fees. A fiscal year cap of $4,500 can be used for education tuition and also a one-time certificate. With the program, a student must attend a regionally or nationally accredited school to receive assistance. In the event a student withdraws, or receives an unsatisfactory grade, the student is responsible for refunding the government the original amount of the course.

Counselors provide outreach programs to the Team Buckley community by preparing and conducting briefings for groups or units to promote the educational programs.

"The education counselors assist our Airmen in establishing realistic educational and vocational goals. These can include the Community College of the Air Force degree, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and licensure or certification goals," said Joel Boyea, 460th FSS education specialist. "Our counselors also prepare and review applicants' degree plans ensuring they are taking the correct classes to fulfill their higher education goals."

Working full time and making time for other activities does not leave much room for pursuing a degree. Online classes and testing programs can make it easier for the juggling act that many deal with daily.

"Truthfully, it is hard to find time to go to school when you are trying to balance a job and personal life, but if you make education a priority and include taking at least one class in your schedule, you will be able to reach your academic goal," said Vargas.

The education center's main goal is to get members on the right track and to provide guidance when seeking an education.

"The most important thing we can provide is encouragement to step out and begin achieving their educational goals by offering that personal touch and caring commitment that we try to achieve each and every day," said Boyea.

The education center is open to all military members of all services and their family members. If interested education or just have questions, contact the education center at 720-847-6675 or visit their office at Bldg. 606.
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