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Posted: May 18, 2017 12:00 p.m.
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Education Matters Briefs - May 18

Tutor.com for U.S. Military
The U.S. Department of Defense provides online tutoring through Tutor.com at no cost to DoD service members. Eligible students can connect to a live tutor online at any time for one-on-one anonymous help with homework, test prep, proofreading, resume writing and more in over 40 different subjects. Eligible students can create an account at www.tutor.com/military.

Avoid education Scams
Don’t get tricked into paying a diploma mill. Diploma mills claim accreditation by a fake accrediting agency to attract students to their degree programs. Diploma mills are not accredited by a regionally or nationally recognized agency, you will not find the school’s accrediting agency on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies (ope.ed.gov/accreditation/agencies.aspx).  For a database of accredited institutions go to nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator and www.chea.org.

Register for ESL classes
Free English as a Second Language classes covering speaking, listening, writing, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and culture are offered at the Fort Stewart Education Center in room 227.  Classes run Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Register for GED classes
Adult Literacy and GED Prep courses are offered by the Liberty County Adult Education Program – Savannah Technical College at the Fort Stewart Education Center. These free classes are held 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday and also 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesdays.

Stay away from diploma mills
A diploma mill is an institution that operates without state or accrediting agency supervision, and awards diplomas that are fraudulent or worthless because the school fails to meet the proper standards.  Diploma mills are more interested in taking your money than providing you with a quality education. Diploma mills often use the internet to market their programs, and they promise degree completion in a few months in exchange for a fee.  Diploma mills often claim accreditation by a fake accrediting agency to attract students to their programs. Because diploma mills are not accredited by a regionally or nationally recognized agency, you will not find the institution’s accrediting agency on the U.S. Recognized Agencies Department of Education’s list of Nationally Accrediting Agencies (ope.ed.gov/accreditation).

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?
The Yellow Ribbon Program was established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows colleges, universities and other degree granting US schools to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition and fee expense that exceed the tuition and fee amounts payable under the Post-911 GI Bill. The school can contribute a specified dollar amount of those expenses, and VA will match the contribution not to exceed 50 percent of the difference. To receive the Yellow Ribbon Program benefits you must be enrolled in an approved program with a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. To know if you are eligible, how the program will benefit you and if your school participates in the program go to the website at www.gibill.va.gov.

Credentialing Opportunities On-line
Army Credentialing Opportunities Online (https://www.cool.army.mil) provides information on how Soldiers (Enlisted and Warrant Officers) can fulfill the requirements for civilian certifications and licenses related to military occupational specialties; identifies licenses and certificates relevant to Army MOS, and describes how to fill gaps between Army training, experience and civilian credentialing.

Request tuition assistance up to 60 days prior to class

GoArmyEd allows Soldiers to request tuition assistance up to 60 calendar days prior to the class start date. In accordance with DOD policy, all TAs must be requested and approved prior to the start date of a class. To allow time for processing, review and approval, Soldiers should submit TA requests to GoArmyEd not later than five business days prior to the class start date for which TA is being requested. This policy applies to all schools in GoArmyEd.

Rules for using tuition assistance
The service requirements for using tuition assistance are one year of service after completion of Initial Military Training or Basic Officer Leaders Course. Soldiers must have completed 10 years of service before TA is authorized for any master’s degree courses, IF TA was ever used at the undergraduate level. TA requests must be approved prior to the start date of the class. A good rule of thumb is to make sure all requests are completed at least 10 business days prior to the class start date to allow time for processing. The semester caps for TA are: 16 semester hours of TA per Fiscal Year, undergraduate level cannot be more than  130 SHs, and the graduate level cannot be more than 39 SHs.

Army Personnel Testing guidance
Soldiers requesting to take an Army Personnel Testing, such as the DLPT, DLAB, AFCT, or SIFT, should contact Army Personnel Testing by phone at 912-767-1830 or by email at usarmy.stewart.usag.list.dhr-education-testing@mail.mil.

Schedule Army personnel tests virtually
The Fort Stewart Education Center has developed several DA form 4187’s into a fillable PDF format located on its website at www.stewart.army.mil/services/education/miltesting.asp.  Click on the name of the APT you want to schedule and the form will be ready to complete.  If you have questions, please call 912-767-1830.

Attention service members, Family Members
Do you have questions regarding: Education/Training Requirements for future career plans; Yellow Ribbon Programs; Transfer of Military Experience into college credit?  Contact a Transition Education Counselor to schedule an appointment to attend a Higher Education Class. Call 912-767-3905 for more information.

Education Counselor support available
Need to reach an Army Education Counselor? Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield education centers offer a one-stop email address to help. Email usarmy.stewart.usag.list.dhr-education-counselor@mail.mil for assistance. Students can also find information on the website at www.stewart.army.mil/info/?id=400 and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FtStewartACES.

Need money for college?
Financial aid sources available for military spouses and dependents are as follows:
Free application for federal student aid –  www.fafsa.ed.gov
Military Family Scholarships Search - aid.military.com/scholarship/search-for-scholarships.do
Army Emergency Relief Scholarships for spouses and children –  www.aerhq.org/education.asp
Georgia Hope Scholarship and Grant - www.dtae.org/hope.html
Fisher House-Helping Military Families - www.fisherhouse.org

Get CLEP, DSST free prep material
Do you need Test-Prep study material for the College Level Examination Program and DANTES Subject Standardized Test exams? Get free CLEP and DSST test preparation material by visiting free-clep-prep.com; or/and www.nelnetsolutions.com/dod/. Once you select the test category, register as a new user to access the test prep.

Know types of accrediting schools
Regional, national and specialized are three types of accrediting schools. Regional is mostly accredit degree granting, nonprofit institutions.  National accredits both degree-granting and none-degree granting institutions, as well as nonprofit schools. Specialized accredits programs and single-purpose institutions.

What is accreditation, is it important?
The accreditation status of a college, university, or vocational institution gives a student an indication of its general quality. It means that the school has undergone an in-depth review, met certain standards and found worthy of approval. Regional accreditation is awarded to an institution by one of the six regional accrediting agencies - Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern and Western. National accreditation is awarded to primarily private, for-profit schools which offer a wide diversity of subject matter. In both cases, the student is assured of a basic level of quality education. The student may qualify for federal financial aid and military tuition assistance. Courses taken at regionally accredited school is more likely to be transferable to other regional schools. Each school makes its own decision on transfer credits on a case-by-case basis.

How to verify accreditation
Contact the school - ask questions about their programs, courses, and their accreditation status. Unaccredited  institutions are not reviewed against a set of standards to determine the quality of their programs. Unaccredited schools generally cost less, it takes less time to earn a degree. Research the school online, visit its official website for information, look it up on the government’s official list of schools that are accredited by the Secretary of Education: ope.ed.gov/accreditation.  Do your research: check with other institutions regarding transfer of credit to other colleges and universities. Diploma Mills are learning institutions that operates without state or accrediting agency supervision, and awards diplomas that are fraudulent or worthless.  Diploma mills use the internet to market their programs, and often promise degrees in a few days or months for a fee. Tuition is charged on a per-degree basis, rather than per credit, course or semester. There are few or unspecified requirements, or none at all.  The school is normally relatively new, or has recently changed its name.  Addresses are P.O. box numbers or suites.  If you have doubts about the institution, contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. You may use the following checklist in determining a diploma mill: Can the degree be purchased?  Is there little to no class attendance required?  Can the degree be earned in a very short period of time (a few weeks, days or months?).


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