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173rd expands education opportunities

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Good news everybody, viable educational opportunities have returned to the Klamath Basin that can be used towards the completion of a Community College of the Air Force degree!

The Air Force has included an additional standard for promotion for the grades of E-8 & 9 to include the CCAF Associate's Degree. This change goes into effect in October of 2015, and while that may seem like a long way off, it will come all-too-soon for many.

Fortunately for most, with the completion of a handful of general education classes, a CCAF degree is within reach. Most will find that they need to complete a writing, math, social science, and speech ... along with a humanities class or two.

Anyone with AF Portal access can view their CCAF progress at any time. Log onto AF Portal, click the AFVEC- Virtual Education Tab and, on the right hand side, click "my CCAF progress report". This will bring up the program you are currently enrolled in. It will show you your credits already earned as well as a summary of which courses you still need.

There are a wide variety of options available for members to obtain these courses. There are many online schools out there which are friendly to the military lifestyle (and provide credits that CCAF will accept).

But these schools generally represent a significant out-of-pocket expense for those of our members who don't qualify for Federal Tuition Assistance or GI Bill. Fortunately, wing leadership has been working hard to develop viable options in the local area and they continue to work hard to develop new methods of financial support.

The 173rd Fighter Wing has partnered with Klamath Community College to provide college credit awarding options for our members that CCAF will accept. One of these options is CLEP testing; a process by which members can receive full college credit for courses by simply passing a test.

For military members, CLEP tests are available for a $20 administrative fee, payable to Klamath Community College. DSST (another form of test-for-credits) are coming soon and these are projected to be administered free for military members. We are also working toward paying the administrative fee for the CLEP tests. We anticipate this process coming to fruition soon and we will announce it, if and when it does.

Wing leadership also endeavors to help pay for KCC classes for members that do not qualify for Federal Tuition Assistance. We will announce more on that as the details emerge.
CLEP testing is available now by appointment. All military members can schedule for an exam directly with KCC at any time. KCC will work with you to schedule a convenient time to test. To register for a CLEP, contact Ms. Ellen J. Jackson at (541) 880-2334 or testingcenter@klamathcc.edu.

KCC is also developing modified courses specifically designed for our members and will generate enough credits to meet CCAF minimums and will be held at Kingsley Field for our members.

These classes are scheduled to begin this Fall Semester (Sept.) in the evening, and will kick off with a Writing and Speech class. To register for one of these courses (or any subsequent class though KCC) take the following action:

1. Contact your Unit Training Manager and schedule for placement testing. Placement testing is designed to gauge whether or not you currently meet the required level of proficiency to enter a course.

2. Register as a student.
To register with KCC, fill out the online application via KCC's web page at www.klamathcc.edu/Admissions.  You can register at any time but the sooner the better. Only those with a current registration will be given the limited available seats in these classes. There is no cost or obligation for registering.

3. Register for the class when the Fall Registration Period opens. Classes are projected to cost $500 and is payable with Federal Tuition Assistance for AGRs. Technicians and DSGs will provide registration information to their Chief who, in-turn, submits for special financial assistance for the course. This program is working to ensure that our members not eligible for Tuition Assistance receive at least some coverage for these classes.

START PLANNING NOW!

If you plan to attend any of the placement testing events, CLEP testing, or future classes in the fall, start working with your supervisor now to ensure minimal disruption to mission requirements. As always, the mission is the priority, however, your chiefs and supervisors are aware that these opportunities are unique and should make every reasonable effort to accommodate these requests.

There will always be something to occupy your time and energies so make this a personal priority! There's no time like the present to take advantage of programs like this and you will always be the strongest advocate for your own career advancement. Don't fall behind, take action now.

If you have questions about your requirements for CCAF or would like to speak with a knowledgeable education specialist, contact your Unit Training manager or contact Mr. Tracy Heap at 541-885-7758 or heap@klamathcc.edu.

Mr. Heap will also soon be available on-base at scheduled times to provide one-on-one education counseling services for our members. He is prior military and knowledgeable on a wide range of educational programs and financial aid options available to military members. I recommend that you print out your CCAF Progress Report and bring that to any counseling meetings you schedule.