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USAF collaborates with colleges to help Airmen get degrees

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Can you imagine throwing away over $15,000?

This is very real problem for some Airmen attempting to transfer their associate's degree from the Community College of the Air Force to another university.

The Air Force is trying to prevent that prodigality by starting the Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative Program on June 15.

This program was designed to help Airmen obtain their bachelor's degree by teaming up with accredited universities to allow a higher percentage of transferable credits.

"Most schools will limit the number of credits from another university that they will accept to transfer towards bachelor's degree, including from the Community College of the Air Force," said Jaquie Crutchley, an education services counselor here.

Many Airmen get their associates degree through CCAF just by completing necessary training or by testing out of certain college classes using the College Level Examination Program, known as CLEP tests.

"Most Airmen finish their CCAF before the end of their first enlistment," Mrs. Crutchley said.

With the AU-ABC program, Airmen will have the choice of 71 bachelor's degrees from a variety of different schools that are either nationally or regionally accredited.

There are two categories to this program:

Category one is for Airmen who have already completed their associate's degree and want to transfer those credits towards their bachelor's degree.

"This is a great program for people because its demands validity behind their CCAF making it a more marketable tool," Mrs. Crutchley said.

Category two is designed for Airmen who are pursuing, but not yet finished with, their CCAF.

"Category two Airmen are enrolled in the AU-ABC program which ensures that the classes that they are taking for their CCAF will defiantly transfer over towards their bachelor degree," Mrs. Crutchley said.

The Air Force has ensured opportunities for higher education and the number of Airmen with a college diploma is a testement to that.

With 17% of Airmen currently holding an associates degree and 5% with a bachelor's degree, the Air Force has ensured those percentages will increase by not only making college classes available online but also allowing enrollment to be mostly point-and-click.

You can access information about the AU-ABC program on the Air Force Portal as well as apply to enroll in this program.

"The AU-ABC program is accessed through the Air Force Portal, which permits Airmen to conduct their coursework from any location using their Common Access Card," said Gen. Michael Moseley, 18th Chief of Staff of the Air Force, in a recent letter to Airmen. "This set-up enables our Airmen to continue work on their degree from home as well as while deployed."

Today's Airman has easy access to higher education opportunities making a college diploma a necessity in order to stay competitive in specific career fields as well as the military.

"The world is changing; there is a need for education," Mrs. Crutchely said. "The bachelor degree is the new high school diploma and you almost have to have a master's degree to be competitive in your career field."

For more information on the AU-ABC program, please call the Vandenberg Education Center at 605-5900 to make an appointment with an education advisor.