Buckley Airmen prepare for TA changes
By Staff Sgt. Paul Labbe, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 09, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- -- Buckley Air Force will be introduced to new Air Force changes to the tuition assistance application process taking effect Oct. 1.
According to the old policy, a Buckley Airman applied for tuition assistance and the request went to the local education office for approval. With the new changes, Airman will have to adapt to a few more steps in the process.
Now when an Airman applies for TA, a link will be sent to the supervisor to approve or deny the request. The supervisors can now directly impact the educational development of their Airmen and can deny a request if necessary.
"I think the implementation of having your supervisor involved will be a good thing because usually by the time a supervisor gets involved in tuition issues it's always too late. It will be nice to have a supervisor from the very beginning," said Mariesha Vargas, 460th Force Support Squadron chief of education and training,
Buckley has various career fields that require an Airman and the supervisor work different schedules. This separation may cause an issue to applying for TA. To combat this problem, the length for TA approval has increased to five days from the usual 48 to 72 business hours.
"There's going to be a lot more responsibility on the student to make sure everything is together, and they can make sure they are able to enroll in their classes on time," said Vargas.
Buckley supervisors and subordinates should be aware that failing to meet Air Force standards will impact an Airman's eligibility for TA. Requests from Airmen who have unfavorable information files, failed or overdue physical fitness tests, referral performance reports, or been placed on a control roster will automatically be denied.
The opinions of the involvement of one's supervisor will vary among supervisors and their subordinates.
"The opportunity for me to go to school has always been of my main priorities when I joined the Air Force. I think it will be a drastic change because school isn't important to everyone, but it's still important to me," said Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval, 460th Communications Squadron communications cable and maintenance systems.
Supervisors will be able to decide if allowing a subordinate to take college courses would hinder that person's Air Force development.
"I think it will be a good change for the supervisor who now can be more directly responsible with the success or failure of their Airmen. I can now make sure I can protect my Airman from overwhelming himself by being directly able to manage what's on his plate," said Staff Sgt. Jose Alvarado, 460th SCS communications cable and maintenance systems.
The changes affected the original application window for classes beginning on or after Oct. 1 to allow for system updates, but the application window is now open.
The Buckley education office has been receiving various training tools to make sure military members here will be able to receive the best service they can regarding continuing or starting their education goals.
Vargas recommended that if an individual encounters an issue regarding the fairness and validity of a disapproval of tuition assistance, they should use their chain-of-command to solve the issue.
"Here at our office we feel that the change will be a seamless process and we are here to help make sure that it will be," said Vargas.
For more information contact the education center at 720-847-6675 or visit their office at Bldg. 606.