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Army Credentialing Assistance Program
The Army has begun a new program to assist Soldiers in pursuing credentials/licensures/certifications called Credentialing Assistance (CA). It is very similar to the Army Tuition Assistance Program through GoArmyEd. What CA can fund is training that leads to the credential/licensure/certification, books, fees, exams, and even recertification (if applicable). Soldiers have the ability to use both CA and TA combined but have a limit of $4000 per fiscal year. We also pay prior to the start but it will be with a government credit card. The Limited User Test (LUT) is complete and it was conducted at Fort Hood, TX, TX Army National Guard units, and TX United States Army Reserves units.
Tuition Assistance Overview/Eligibility- The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of a Soldier's professional and personal self-development goals. TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning and is part of an approved academic degree or certificate program. The courses must be offered by schools that are registered in GoArmyEd, are accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and are signatories to the current Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DOD MOU).
For Academic Programs, Certificate’s, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree, TA may not be used for a lower or lateral degree program from the one the Soldier currently possesses. In addition to degree programs, TA is available to Soldiers to complete a high school diploma and certificate programs. TA is not authorized for programs of study beyond a master's degree.
All eligible Soldiers will request TA through GoArmyEd.
Tuition Assistance Rates/Fees -The Department of Defense (DoD) has directed a uniform per semester hour cap of $250 for tuition assistance (TA) and an annual ceiling of $4,500. The Services are authorized to establish Service specific eligibility criteria to manage TA funds. The Army will pay 100 percent of tuition costs up to the DoD semester hour cap of $250 per semester hour cap for up to 16 semester hours of TA funded courses not to exceed $4,000 per fiscal year.
Current Army policy limits TA to 130 semester hours of undergraduate credit or baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first and 39 semester hours of graduate credit or master's degree whichever comes first. The 39 semester hour limit applies to all credits taken after completion of a baccalaureate degree.
New Students Create GoArmyEd Account
All TA for Active Duty, USAR, and ARNG Soldiers must be requested through GoArmyEd. Click here to start.
Tuition Assistance Procedures
Soldiers’ TA enrollment requests must be submitted and approved through www.GoArmyEd.com prior to the course start date; any enrollments requested on or after the class start date will be approved as Soldier funded. TA is requested on a course-by-course basis, and each course must be part of an approved degree program.
GoArmyEd will notify the Soldier, whether the TA is approved or not. If the TA request is not approved, GoArmyEd will advise the Soldier of the reason and next steps.
All drops/withdrawals must take place through GoArmyEd. Soldiers who do not successfully complete a class will be required to repay the TA. Soldiers who are unable to successfully complete a class due to military reasons must request a Withdrawal for Military Reasons through GoArmyEd and complete all required steps to ensure that they will not be charged.
If the Soldier wishes to take a class with a school that does not participate in the electronic GoArmyEd class schedule, a TA Request Authorization form must be completed in GoArmyEd. The TA Request Authorization will be routed to an Army Education Counselor to be reviewed and approved. Soldiers should allow extra time for this. If the TA Request Authorization is approved, the Soldier will be notified by email. Soldiers must print the approved TA Request Authorization form in GoArmyEd, provide it to the school and enroll directly with the school.
Soldiers must acknowledge and electronically sign the TA Statement of Understanding (TA SOU) each quarter they wish to use TA.
Army Credentialing Assistance Program
Much like Tuition Assistance (TA), Soldiers can request Credentialing Assistance (CA) for training that leads to a credential, license, or certification through GoArmyEd. CA will pay for training courses that lead to a credential, and also provides funding for books, materials, fees, exams, and recertification. Soldiers have a combined fiscal year limit not to exceed $4000 for use towards TA and CA.
More than 1600 credentials, licenses, and certifications are listed in Army COOL (www.cool.army.mil). COOL aligns credentials to Soldiers’ military occupational specialties (MOS), but for CA, Soldiers can select and earn credentials during their off-duty time that do not relate to their MOS.
The Army CA program will become effective Army-wide in FY 20. For more information on the Army CA program, Soldiers can contact their local Education Center or Education Office. To see a listing of all credentials offered go to www.cool.army.mil.
Just an update on the Army Credentialing Assistance Program. The specific processes to apply for and receive CA funding have been tested at Fort Hood, TX and Fort Campbell, KY in a Limited User Test (LUT) for Regular Army Soldiers at those posts and for Soldiers in the National Guard and Army Reserve throughout Texas and Kentucky. Now, with the successful completion of the LUT (30 September 2019), the program is being expanded Army-wide in a phased implementation beginning 1 October 2019 and ending 1 January 2020 with the expansion to all installations and states.
The following locations are slated to participate on 1 October 2019:
- Regular Army Soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA; Fort Carson, CO; Fort Drum, NY; and Fort Riley, KS - ARNG/USAR with units in Washington, Colorado, New York, and Kansas
The following locations are slated to participate on 1 November 2019:
Regular Army Soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart, GA; Fort Gordon, GA; Fort Bliss, TX; Fort Bragg, NC; Schofield Barracks / Tripler, HI; Fort Benning, GA - ARNG/USAR with units in Georgia, North Carolina, Hawaii
The following locations are slated to participate on 1 December 2019:
- Regular Army Soldiers stationed at Fort Irwin, CA; Fort Polk, LA; Fort Huachuca, AZ; Fort Eustis, VA; Fort Lee, VA; Fort Jackson, SC; Carlisle Barracks, PA- ARNG/USAR with units in California, Louisiana, Arizona, Virginia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania
All other installations and states for all components will begin 1 January 2020.
Vo REHAB and AF Voluntary Education Funds approved for All SU cybersecurity classes and SU Q/ISP, Q/IAP, Q/SSE, Q/WP Q/CND Certificate Programs of Mastery
How do I Apply?
AF COOL Resources
Basic Airmen Eligibility Criteria
The AF COOL is a Total Force enlisted program. It includes all enlisted AFSCs for active duty, AFRES, and ANG. Funding will be provided for ADAF, AFRES, and ANG members on Title 10 or Title 32 (502F) active duty orders. AFRES and ANG members not on Title 10 orders may receive payment from their respective components. Funding will not exceed a maximum of $4,500 per lifetime per airman.
Enlisted ADAF, AFRES, and ANG component members desiring to participate in the Air Force COOL program must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Possess a 5 skill level in their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) that is associated to the assigned Control AFSC to which the credential is mapped.
- Airmen who have an Unfavorable Information File (UIF), are on a control roster, have failed their most recent Physical Fitness test or are overdue, and/or have a current referral EPR at the time of application for AF COOL are ineligible.
- Have a record in AFAEMS with an approved credentialing goal.
- Enlisted members must be on active duty for the completion of the entire credential.
- Supervisor approval.
Although the AF COOL program has transformed to allow Airmen to obtain unlimited credentials and licensures with their $4,500 cap, eligible Airmen may attain only one credential at a time (per category, i.e. Control AFSC/Leadership) at AF expense. The AF will pay for the exam(s), prep courses, books, study materials, admin fees, and recertification fees necessary for that one credential. Senior NCOs (E-7 through E-9) may also be eligible for leadership and management credentials. The maximum allowable lifetime benefit per airman is $4,500. This includes the Senior NCO leadership credential(s) and any recertification’s (if applicable and with certain restrictions). Some exams may be very expensive while others are relatively cost-effective. Regardless of the cost, airmen may only complete one AFSC-related credential at a time and, if eligible, one leadership credential.
Airmen who fail their certification exam(s) are not eligible for retesting and cannot choose another certification until their updated grades for the previous exam(s), pass or fail, have been submitted. It is imperative that Airmen choose a credential wisely and prepare for the exam. For more information, consult your AF COOL Credentialing Program Office (CPO) at the contact information listed below.
On the AF COOL Homepage, after ensuring that you are logged in, select the "Search AFSC Related Credentials" screen and you will see the AFSC specific credentials that you are eligible for that AF COOL will pay for on your behalf.
When you open each credential, you will see the following tabs:
- Related Occupations
Upon completion of step 1, step 2 offers you the opportunity to select the credential that best suits your career progression needs. Review the AFSC related credentials that are funded by AF COOL and select the credential that most suits your need. You can accomplish this by clicking on the following icon:
Once you have selected the credential of your choosing, an email will be sent to your supervisor to validate your eligibility criteria for the selected credential. While your supervisor is reviewing your credential request, please utilize step 3 to assist you in preparing to accomplish your funding request, which will be accomplished in step 4.
Review the exam(s) necessary to complete the credential. Review the gap analysis, the credentialing agency’s homepage and the resources page to ensure you have the required knowledge to successfully pass the exam(s), as well as any requirements the credentialing agency may require prior to payment. Ensure that you upload the required supporting documentation, i.e. EPRs, applications, prerequisite certifications, FAA Form 8610-2 (FAA Tickets to test) or CCAF awarded Certificate of Eligibility, etc. (files must be under 4MBs and one of the following file types: .pdf, .xls, .slsx, .doc, or .docx). Once you are ready to test, go to step 4.
Click on the “Start a Funding Request” on the right hand side bar. Follow the prompts to complete the funding request application. You will need the following information from the credential web site
- Testing location (Provided by the credentialing agency’s website)
- Cost for exam including admin fees (contact the credentialing agency and request an invoice to assist you with your funding request)
- Testing Window – AF COOL has recently changed its testing window from 30 days to 120. If you are testing outside of the AFVEC system allowed 120 day window, continue to fill out the request, then email the AF COOL CPO the anticipated testing date at the information listed below. A counseling note will be placed in your Education File to verify that you have spoken with the CPO.
Once you complete the application, an email will be sent to your supervisor who will review the request and approve or disapprove the application. You will be notified via email once this action is completed.
The approved funding request is then electronically routed to the AF COOL office who will make the payment on your behalf. The CPO Purchase Agent will email/call you if necessary prior to making the payment within 3 business days.
Take the exam(s) and follow up with the AF COOL CPO to ensure your scores are reported to close out your educational goal. Once the AF COOL CPO receives your grades, they will email you to notify you that your educational goal has been completed and send you a voluntary End-of-Course Survey. This survey will be used to better assist the AF COOL Program in providing a better service for future applicants. For further support, please contact the AF COOL CPO at DSN 749-5115, COMM (334) 649-5115 or CCAF.COOL@US.AF.MIL