Recognizing the importance of a strong educational foundation for career progression, Vice Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) announced on Nov. 8, 2007, the introduction of education points into the E4-E6 Final Multiple Score (FMS) for advancement.
Beginning with advancement cycles in August 2008, E3-E5 Sailors will be awarded two points for an accredited associate degree, and four points for an accredited baccalaureate degree. For those going before the E7-E9 selection board, education will be recognized by including an emphasis on education in the selection board precepts.
"The implementation of these points towards advancement for E-4 through E-6 and in the precept language for E-7 to E-9 selection, reflects the importance the Navy places on education," Harvey said. "As the Navy continues to develop highly technical capabilities, Sailors will be called on to perform in new and challenging ways. Adapting to these challenges requires leaders that have strong educational foundations, both professionally and personally."
Documentation is required for degree completion to count toward advancement. Official transcripts that indicate proof of degree completion must come directly from the degree granting institution to the Navy College Center in Pensacola, Fla.
Sailors eligible for advancement to E4-E6 must ensure official transcripts are received by the NCC no later than the first of the month in which their advancement exam takes place. Transcripts for Sailors competing for advancement to E-7 to E-9 must be received by the Navy College Center by the cut-off dates specified in the corresponding selection board NAVADMIN.
"It's always been important to document education in your records," said Cmdr. Sharon Bemis, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) voluntary education program manager. "CNP's announcement makes documentation even more crucial. This new policy should give Sailors a greater incentive to validate all of their education records and ensure they have the highest FMS possible toward advancement."
To assist Sailors in pursing a degree, the Navy has developed an education roadmap that is available through Navy Knowledge Online. Sailors using the roadmap will first verify their existing academic transcripts contained in their Electronic Training Jacket on NKO. This information is compiled from the individual's Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript.
Once this information has been verified, Sailors can consult with their local Navy College Officer (NCO) or the Navy College Center to develop their specific education plan.
"Taking advantage of Navy Voluntary Education opportunities is now more important than ever," said Master Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Tom Smith, enlisted education coordinator for NETC. "There are numerous programs in place that allow Sailors, whether deployed or on shore, to work toward their degree and get those advancement points."
The Navy's educational initiatives are designed to support a continuum of learning and development throughout a Sailor's career, including distance learning available in multiple formats almost anywhere around the globe.
Under the Navy College Program, several opportunities are available that give Sailors a head start in earning their college degree. A visit to the local NCO is a logical first step to learn about the wide variety of college level examinations available, such as the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Examination Program, the College Level Examination Program and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests program.
In these programs and others, Sailors can take tests in a variety of subjects and receive recommended college credit for each test successfully completed.
There are also several college admission tests given through the NCOs, including the SAT and the American College Test assessment program. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be taken at certain testing sites off-base, and DANTES will reimburse the Sailor for the cost of the test. The Sailor must personally fund the test administration fee.
There is a great chance for Sailors to earn college credit for things they already do in their job. Rating-relevant degrees are offered and supported by the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnerships (NCPDLP) as part of the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC). The program provides opportunities to take courses through distance learning so that Sailors anywhere will be able to pursue a degree. The goal of the NCPDLP is to support the Sailor's mobile lifestyle and educational goals. Courses are offered in a variety of formats, such as CD-ROM, videotape, paper or over the Internet.
The Tuition Assistance (TA) program is one of the Navy's most popular educational assistance programs. Through TA, Sailors can apply for financial support to help them complete a college degree. The Navy funds 100 percent of tuition and mandatory course fees (maximum of $250 per semester hour) for up to 16 semester hours per fiscal year.
The $250 per semester hour (or semester hour equivalent) payment applies only to tuition and mandatory course fees related to course enrollment. TA does not cover books or other expenses, and this policy applies to all pay grades.
Another Navy College Program designed to help Sailors continue their education while on sea-duty assignments is the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE).
All NCPACE college courses are provided by accredited colleges and universities and both undergraduate and graduate level courses are available. NCPACE courses are funded by the Navy with the individual Sailor only paying for books.
For additional information on advanced education programs, the best place to start is the local Navy College Office or online at https://www.navycollege.navy.mil.