USAF question for Rich Douglas

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by jnate, Apr 8, 2001.

  1. jnate

    jnate New Member

    Do you know why the Air Force stopped paying tuition assistance for DL PhD programs?
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Did the USAF stop paying tuition for all DL Ph.D. programs, or was it only the non-accredited programs?

  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I too would be surprised as the military has usually paid for accredited programs. Now, unaccredited programs are another matter. The army (at least while I was in) never paid for unaccredited degrees nor accepted them.

    Isn't Touro's Ph.D. (accredited) set up with DANTES?

    The other issue is that even if the T.A. folks had come up with a rule such as only T.A. for one graduate program, I believe under new rules you can use your GI Bill without the penalties that were involved before for using it on active duty.

    They seem to have gotten more generous over time than less. It will be intersting to find out the answer.

  4. Lawrie Miller

    Lawrie Miller New Member

    I see that the DANTES External Degree Catalog 2001 Edition, lists support for doctoral programs offered by the following institutions:
    Capella University
    Central Michigan University
    Colorado State University
    Liberty University
    Nova Southeastern University
    Regent University
    Sarasota, University of
    Southern Christian University
    Touro University
    Walden University

    Perhaps the USAF has opted out . . .
  5. jnate

    jnate New Member

    The USAF stopped paying 75% TA for PhD in 1996, if I remember correctly. I think they wanted to save $$ for masters programs. They are now offering some new things, like TA for a certificate, even if you already have a masters. And they are letting people use their GI Bill in conjunction with TA to keep the cost down. My brother in law would like to use TA for a program like Touro has in Health Sciences.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No. I left in 1996, but they were already tightening down on programs that met the standards set forth by their regulation, but they didn't want to pay for. I wouldn't be surprised if DL programs, especially doctoral programs, were knocked out. The Air Force paid a lot of lip service to education for its troops, but it never really committed to doctoral education, unless it was sending an officer to a very specialized program. And while it made many bachelor's programs available to enlisted personnel, it really didn't like to see them graduate. They tended to get out or want to become officers, neither of which was palatable to the service. (I did both; I got out--and joined the Reserve--then came back as an officer.)

    Rich Douglas
  7. Bill Hurd

    Bill Hurd New Member

    Rich Douglas wrote
    In my 24 years in the Air Force (the last 5 in the Pentagon), I didn't see or hear anyone say "we don't want enlisted personnel to graduate from a bachelor's degree program."

    Rich, do you have substantial first hand information to back up your statements?

    Bill Hurd
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    In the army enlisted personnel were encouraged to go to school. Even with deployments it really was determined by the service member's desire to get the education. I knew a warrant office chopper pilot who completed a M.A. while flying deployments.

    With regard to seeing any attitude, I saw two things. The first was sometimes a resentment among some higher enlisted people (without degrees) who felt that enlisted with degrees got too far away from actual nuts and bolts soldiering and got attitudes. I think this was mostly resentment on the part of those without the degree.

    I did see some (rare) discrimination among officers who looked down on former enlisted soldiers who became officers. It was like they were once hired help who made it into the parlour. Almost a "not really one of us" attitude. But then among officers they even differentiate between those who went to the Service Academy (West Point) and ROTC graduates. I have heard warrant officers called "E-5's with club cards". In other words NCO's with Officer Club cards.

    Finally, I met a great many soldiers (officers and NCO's) who were very supportive. I was once stationed in an area with nine enlisted people in my career field. Six had degrees. Five were B.A. level or above. The officers and other enlisted were suportive or could have cared less. The only attitude I ever saw was from one of the enlsited with a B.A. who felt some of the work was beneath him. At another duty station I saw the same issue. Again, it had to do with the attitude of the person with the degree and not those around him.

  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I expressed an opinion based upon:

    A career as first an enlisted man, then as an NCO, then as an officer,

    Experiences in education and training throughout my career, including several years working in an education services center,

    Experiences that included a great deal of discrimination as a prior-enlisted officer (even though I was the same age or younger than my contemporaries--I enlisted at 18, became a staff sergeant 21 and was commissioned at 24. I retired at 36 when they offered early retirement.)

    One telling example that has always ticked me off on this issue is the development and continued existence of the Community College of the Air Force. The Air Force developed CCAF in the early 70s to award transferrable college credit for technical training, a noble cause. This developed first into "Career Education Certificates"--who's curricula mirrored associate degree programs--then into the A.A.S. programs CCAF offers to this day. CCAF is accredited by the Southern Association, and its credits are pretty transferrable to other college and universities. But what has mystified me is this: what about AFTER getting a CCAF associate degree? See, the Air Force has made graduating from CCAF a very big deal in the enlisted force, but graduating with a higher degree can go almost unnoticed. (When I earned my CCAF associate I was in graduate school. The fact that I'd already earned two bachelor's degrees came and went without any fanfare; I got an engraved invitation to attend a graduation ceremony for the associate degree.)

    In a way, the CCAF has served to stunt the educational growth of enlisted personnel in the Air Force. Because of the great emphasis placed on it, programs to earn bachelor's degrees don't get their due. If the Air Force placed one tenth of the effort into getting enlisted personnel through Excelsior's bachelor's programs, they'd have a lot more enlisted people holding degrees--and wanting to become officers.

    A lot of Air Force technical training could be the basis for bachelor's programs, not just associate programs. CCAF could have evolved into the "College of the Air Force,"
    combining technical training with upper- and lower-level college courses to form bachelor's programs. Of course, the bachelor's degree is a much more valuable qualification in the private sector, which might draw away these enlisted personnel from the service. Except the ones clamoring to get into a commissioning program. No, the political ramifications of giving too much education to enlisted personnel are too daunting. Sure, the programs are there and available, but all the promotion goes into the one that looks like the Air Force is doing something regarding higher education for enlisted personnel, but actually serves to maintain the status quo: CCAF.

    Again, this is just an opinion. But developing a working model of a bachelor's-awarding College of the Air Force would make an interesting dissertation for someone's Ed.D.

    Rich Douglas
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    1. The GI Bill and military tuition assistance are widely differing programs that have almost nothing to do with each other.

    2. The GI Bill is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each service sets its own rules for tuition assistance eligibility.

    3. The Air Force implemented rules saying Tuition Assistance could not be used for a second degree at the same level.

    4. Also, the Air Force had (has?) a rule that says in order to get a distance program approved for TA, you have to demonstrate that a similar program isn't available locally. This really came into play at the doctoral level, where programs were harder to find locally.

    5. The Air Force requires a school be accredited by a recognized accreditor to be acceptable for TA and for inclusion in one's personnel record. Decisions on which degrees are eligible for entry into an officer's record are made by the Registrar's office of the Air Force Insitute of Technology. Decisions about enlisted education are made at each base in the Education Services department.

    6. Even though the Army has rules about what is and isn't acceptable, the process isn't fool-proof. I met an Army major in 1980 that had a Pacific Western University MBA on his record, and had been promoted to lieutenant colonel. I had just read Bear's 6th, and was stunned to hear this. Just because there are rules doesn't mean some clerk won't make a mistake and put something in a record that does't belong. I should know; I was an education specialist at the time doing just that, and no one had ever told me about proper accreditation. I knew our system and didn't know the Army's, but the memory of that exchange has always stayed with me.

    Rich Douglas
  11. jnate

    jnate New Member

    I am a fomer enlisted man and current officer and I can tell you that most of todays airmen who do not want to get an education (above CCAF) is their own chioce. There are some that because of shift work, delployments, find it harder than others.
    As far as post CCAF, many bases have schools (i.e. Troy State) that one can go to school every weekend for 1 year and get a degree (if you already have 60 hours). I routinely let my subordiantes structure their shifts to go to school...many just did not have the motivation to do it. You might find it interersting that at some bases now (I think this is a big change), they hold combined CCAF and local college graduations for military members.

    Right now, as far as I know, TA is approved for any DANTES approved DL. My wife currently gets TA for going to California College of Health Sciences. They only pay up to $3500 a year. There are some, like my brother in law, who would like a DL PhD...I think you are right, they dont see the need for that

    J nate
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Good points all. I served from 1977 until 1996 (15-year retirement), and there were many programs available on bases all around the world. However, I wanted to stress what the Air Force emphasized, which is the barely useful CCAF associate degree. I just wish they would promote (really promote) bachelor's and master's programs for the enlisted troops, especially career NCOs, many of whom leave the Air Force with education levels no where near commensurate with their skills and technical training, creating difficulties for many of them in the civilian sector.

    Regarding the graduation ceremonies, I've also heard of those recently. But they were almost non-existent when I was an education specialist.

    Rich Douglas
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    One other point. The Air Force places so little value in higher education for its enlisted personnel that it does not weigh it for promotional purposes in the first seven (of nine) grades, Airman Basic through Master Sergeant. The six weighed factors are Time In Service, Time In Grade, Performance Reports, Awards and Decorations, Promotion Fitness Examination, and Specialty Knowledge Test. One might argue that getting more education makes one more capable and, therefore, more promotable. But I haven't seen any data to support that. In fact, supervisors are pretty restricted in what they say in a performance report regarding higher education, and it isn't one of the categories rated.

    When NCOs compete for the top two grades (Senior Master Sergeant and Chief Master Sergeant), this changes. Their records meet an actual promotion board that does place emphasis on higher education. But the word has always been: get your CCAF AAS degree done or you won't get promoted past Master Sergeant. And while even higher education is even better, the emphasis is on CCAF. In fact, the only reason I did my CCAF associate degree was because of this. I'd already completed two bachelor's degrees and was working on my MBA when I finished the AAS. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find that candidates fare better with a CCAF AAS than they do with a bachelor's degree and no CCAF AAS!

    Rich Douglas, who apologizes for taking this thread way off-topic, but they asked. [​IMG]
  14. jnate

    jnate New Member

    Yes, Rich, that is a shame. If someone puts forth the effort to get the degree, they will suffer in military testing portion of promotion, the biggest part and get no credit for going to school. I guess the reasoning is that not everyone has the same opportunity, but some credit, ever so small, should be given.

    I thought it would be interesting to compare 1994 to 2000.

    1994-Enlisted 2000 - Enlisted
    BA/BS 3.9% BA/BS 4.5%
    MA/MS 0.5% MA/MS 0.7%
    PhD/Professional 0.01% PhD/Profess 0.01%

    It looks some small gains may have been made.

    J nate
  15. Tracy Gies

    Tracy Gies New Member

    I think I might be able to shed a little light on the subject here. I am in the Active Army, have been for the past 14 years. I also happen to be stationed on an Air Force Base. So, when I need TA, I go through the education center here on the AFB and use the Air Force's money(Cha-Ching!).

    As far as the Air Force and TA for PHD programs go, the DANTES webpage below spells out what they will pay for. Both the Air Guard and the Air Force Reserve specificaly disqualify PHD programs for TA. It is apparently not specifically disqualified for those in the Active Dury Air Force. I'll stop by the ed. center tomorrow and ask what the deal is. Also, I would note that, for the Air Force Reserve and the Air Guard, there is a stipulation that schools must be listed in the DANTES catalog. No such stipulation exists for those on active duty. In fact, the base education office here has paid TA for both of the courses I have taken here. One was from the University of Iowa, the other was from Luisiana State University. Neither of these schools appear in the DANTES catalog as far as I can see. When I asked one of the counselors here on the air base about TA for these classes, she said that as long as they were *regionally accredited*, they were good to go for TA. I also believe that they can be DETC accredited for TA purposes. When they processed my TA claims, they looked up the DANTES identification numbers for these schools in a list of all accredited institutions, not just those in the DANTES catalog.

    As far as CCAF goes, I think that Air Force personnel are encouraged to go through CCAF as a *springboard* to more advanced degrees. It should be noted that CCAF is not, I believe, the sort of institution that many people think it is. They don't offer classes per se. When Air Force personnel go through training, completion of that training is recorded at CCAF. CCAF does not offer the course, they just give you credit for it based upon ACE recommendations. CCAF is accredited and authorized to award associate degrees. CCAF functions much like the AARTS transcipt does for the Army, except that the Army doesn't have a college that offers degrees based upon training that the service has provided.

    Arguably, with the advent of Army University Access Online, the Army has a better deal now. But, when I went through my initial entry training in my current MOS in 1987, I went through a joint-service course on the same AF base at wich I am now stationed. I got 28 CCAF semester hour credits for the training. (Chater Oak, by the way, accepted all but a few in transfer. It was the same story for what appeared on my AARTS transcript.)

    Now as far as the Army and education for enlisteds goes, civilian education is pushed heavily by most chains of command. There may be a few personalities left that don't like it (I haven't run into any, myself), but they will likely be weeded out. I think that the current emphasis on education (especially on DL, as demonstrated by Army University Access Online)bears out the fact that the Army is serious about educating its enlisted personnel. If there still remain any leaders who don't want Army enlisteds to get degrees--Well, their superiors will probably help them see the light.

    Tracy <><

    TA Matrix for USAF:

    Note that this data is dated NOV 99, and things change in TA-land often. As I said, I will check with the base ed. center and see what they say.
  16. Guest

    Guest Guest

    1.& 2. Although I do appreciate you pointing these facts out, I am well aware that the GI Bill and T.A. are two separate issues having utilized both of them. Your "almost" statement is why I mentioned them above. They were intertwined in the sense that at one time (early 1990's) you could not receive V.A. benefits and receive T.A. (for example in order to make up the difference between what T.A. paid and the actual cost of the course and books). You could use your V.A. benefits on active duty if T.A. was unavailable (ie you had taken the maximum number of credits). There was however a penalty for using it in terms of the rate at which it was charged. Again, the reason I mentioned it above was that I believe this had changed and the use of V.A. benefits was relaxed, so if this service member was eligible they might be able to use their GI Bill on active duty to obtain their Ph.D. (provided the program was accredited and V.A. approved).

    T.A. may well have differed depending on the service, heck it differed depending on the month you were in. They kept changing the maximum number of credits paid for in a year.

    6. As for the major, I can see this happening. It could well depend on the enlisted person or civilian in the personnel office. Since it was not his initial qualification it may not have been scrutinized as much. My experience However, was that Personnel both overseas and in the US were very diligent. As an E-4 with a B.A. looking to add it to my promotion packet, they checked for my school in one of the College Resource books. I had to fight to get it recognized even after having a foreign credential evaluation done. It took a call from the Education officer to the promotion office to get a clerk, who was a few fries short of a happy meal, to do the correct thing.

    North (who remembers everyone in the army saying they should have joined the Air Force for the Quality of Life & who remembers meeting Air Force personnel who said the Air Force is too political and they should have joined the Army for promotions).
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    All right. Yes, I am and was familiar with the interworkings of using both the VA and TA at the same time.

    The comment comparing the Air Force and the Army is soooooooo true. We really benefitted from "quality of life" issues, but our promotion rates (due to high retention rates) have always been the worst. You really brought a smile to my face with that one!!! [​IMG]

    Rich Douglas, who wishes he'd gone further in his career, but is glad he did it in the Air Force.
  18. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Yup...I did 3 years active Army, and we (my unit) were pretty universal in our opinions that we should have joined the Air Force (6 week basic, no rucksack ever issued?). However, at the time I signed on the dotted line (1983), the Air Force had a minimum 4 year enlistment, 6 years for a guaranteed MOS. The Marines also had a 4 year minimum, and the Navy & Army both had a 3 year minimum. The Coast Guard at the time had a year waiting list to even be considered.

    Like the naive dolt I was, I jumped at the $2000 enlistment bonus offered by the Army for combat arms, and next I knew, I was a ground-pounder.

    If my kids ever express a desire to join the service, I'm putting their names on the Coast Guard waiting list in about the 3rd grade. [​IMG]


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