By: Ed Barker, NETPDC PA Office
BETHESDA, Md. — With the announcement of the closings of 16 stateside Navy College Offices on Oct. 1 of this year, and the remaining four (Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego, California, Jacksonville, Florida and Kitsap, Washington) closing by Oct. 1 2017, many Sailors are asking how they will start or continue their education.
After Oct. 1, the majority of Voluntary Education services in the Continental United States will be provided by the education counselors at the Navy College Program’s Virtual Education Center (VEC). According to Ernest D’Antonio, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center’s VOLED program director, the goal of restructuring service delivery is to provide Sailors the educational tools and information when and where they need it. The VEC call center hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday – Friday and may be reached by calling: (877) 838-1659 or DSN 492-4684, or by email at VEC@navy.mil.
“This new VOLED structure will make educational programs, including counseling, Tuition Assistance and testing services accessible for all Sailors in the continental U.S. through a combination of self-service and virtual services,” said D’Antonio. “The colleges themselves will still have access to bases for teaching courses and counseling students.”
The Bethesda Navy College Office will close on Oct. 1, but academic institutions with partnership agreements will continue to provide services as they have in the past. Currently, Bethesda, Joint Base Anacostia and Bolling AFB are served by: Central Texas College; University of Maryland University College; Webster University; and Southern Illinois University.
The four NCOs staying open until October 2017 will continue to provide full services, including counseling and testing, until they close.
Most of the current steps in the voluntary education (VOLED) process will not change under the new service delivery model. Sailors are expected, both now and in the future, to talk with their chain of command about pursing an education program; research education programs via the Navy College Program website and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website, including completing information modules such as the DANTES Higher Education Preparatory Course and/or TA Decide; receive counseling from a Navy College Program education counselor; work with an approved academic institution to develop an education and degree plan; meet all Navy eligibility requirements to use TA, including completion of Navy WebTA training and TA applications that will be approved by the Sailor’s command; and successfully complete their academic courses.
The MyEducation portal on the Navy College website is available 24/7 for Sailors to establish and monitor their accounts, ensure their degree plans are current and verify they have received education counseling.
Academic Institutions requesting access to Navy installations are required to use the U.S. Air Force Academic Institution Base Access Portal to request visitation for student interaction, education fairs, Morale, Welfare and Recreation events, sponsorship, command visits, etc. The portal can be found on the internet via: http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Barnes/CCAF/ . Additional information may be found on the Navy College Program website’s “Base Access” page at: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/base_access_info.html .
For more information on the Navy College Program and the Virtual Education Center visit https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/ .
Follow Navy Voluntary Education on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NavyVoluntaryEducation/.
Additional information about the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center can be found via https://www.netc.navy.mil/netc/netpdc/Default.htm .