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Class is in session: College courses begin on Buckley AFB

Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Stratil, 460th Operations Group superintendent, speaks to students attending the inaugural college class Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Colorado Christian University partnered with Buckley AFB in order to bring college level courses to Buckley AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Stratil, 460th Operations Group superintendent, speaks to students attending the inaugural college class Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Colorado Christian University partnered with Buckley AFB in order to bring college level courses to Buckley AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

A professor from Colorado Christian University introduces course requirements to students Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. CCU partnered with Buckley AFB to provide college level courses on base for members of Buckley to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

A professor from Colorado Christian University introduces course requirements to students Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. CCU partnered with Buckley AFB to provide college level courses on base for members of Buckley to attend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

Col. Scott Romberger, 460th Space Wing vice commander, speaks with administrators from Colorado Christian University Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. CCU is now offering college level course on base to members of the Buckley community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

Col. Scott Romberger, 460th Space Wing vice commander, speaks with administrators from Colorado Christian University Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center of Excellence on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. CCU is now offering college level course on base to members of the Buckley community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley Air Force Base has brought college level courses to the base, holding the inaugural class Jan. 12, 2016, at the Airmen Center for Excellence on Buckley AFB, Colorado.

Colorado Christian University was chosen by Buckley AFB to provide the courses being offered. Each course fulfills a requirement for a Community College of the Air Force degree.

Buckley AFB leadership has been working on providing college level courses to members of the base community and it has finally come to fruition this year through a partnership with CCU.

"This was a long process spearheaded by our Force Support Squadron team, specifically the Education and Training Section," said Col. Scott Romberger, 460th Space Wing vice commander. "They solicited for universities based off specific criteria, such as cost, fees, accreditation, course length, established Memorandum of Understanding with Department of Defense, accessibility and flexibility, among other factors. From that list, the options were narrowed until the wing finally selected CCU. Even after selection, there were base visits from the CCU President, legal reviews, and additional MOUs needed between the university and installation."

Having the ability to attend college level courses on the instillation has made earning a higher education more convenient for service members who work on base every day. Now, they don't have to look online in order to obtain the requirements outlined for a CCAF.

"I find it difficult to do courses online and prefer to have human interaction," said Master Sgt. Corinne Zimmer, 460th Space Communications Squadron network operations section chief. "The courses offer me both the ability to have the human interaction, the flexibility of on-line access, and face-to-face time with the professor if I have any questions."

The new partnership between CCU and Buckley AFB encourages service members to obtain higher levels of education because of the ease of enrolling and attending class. As well, tuition assistance offered by the Air Force covers the entire cost of each course, making it a free and easy way to extend future education opportunities. 

"Colorado Christian University is very honored and excited to have the opportunity to provide higher education courses in a focused and accelerated format to the airman and other service members at Buckley AFB," said Roger Chandler, Student Success vice president. "We feel this is a natural extension of our already existing relationship. CCU is committed to supporting our local troops with fully accredited higher education courses that will accelerate and help complete their Community College of the Air Force degree. In fact, it is our desire to help all of the Buckley AFB service members to get the most out of their educational benefits so that the CCAF degree completion is only the first step in their educational career. The opportunity of earning a Bachelor or Master's degree should be on everyone's agenda and CCU can help them realize that dream."

This new pathway to achieving a higher level of education will provide Buckley personnel with an easily accessible free option to enhance not only their knowledge, but the mission as well.

"Our military is blessed with the smartest, best trained, best equipped, and most prepared forces in its history," Romberger said. "Part of that success story is providing higher level educational opportunities, like we now have here on base, which go beyond what is taught in basic training and technical schools.  The fact that our Team Buckley personnel can earn higher level education right here on base, not only helps our people both personally and professionally, but in many cases a force multiplier toward mission accomplished. Higher level education ensures Team Buckley is more resilient and better prepared to face all challenges."
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