The United States Navy is providing yet another way for senior enlisted members to fund their educational pursuits. On March 29, 2017, a Naval Administrative Message (NAVADMIN) called for applications for the FY-17 Advanced Education Voucher (AEV) program. The AEV program provides financial assistance to chiefs, senior chiefs, and master chief petty officers who are seeking to pursue baccalaureate and master’s level educational programs the Navy deems relevant. The AEV program represents a considerable investment in the future of the Navy’s senior enlisted members by offering what could equate to a fully-funded education.
Which academic programs are covered?
Not all academic programs are eligible for this program. Examples of approved or Navy-relevant programs include human resources, information technology, engineering, emergency and disaster management, and business administration, among others. The NAVADMIN lists those programs already vetted, but degree programs not listed can be validated by the AEV program coordinator at the Naval Education and Training Command.
What does the AEV program provide?
The AEV program is a financial assistance program that is different from the traditional tuition assistance program. For baccalaureate degree programs, the AEV covers 100 percent of tuition, books, and related fees up to $6,700 per year for a maximum of three years, with a total program cost cap of $20,000. For master’s degree programs, the AEV covers 100 percent of tuition, books, and related fees up to $20,000 per year for a maximum of two years, and a total program cost cap of $40,000.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is based on Time In Service (TIS) and pay-grade. Eligible applicants include E-7s with no more than 17 years TIS, E-8s with no more than 19 years TIS, and E-9s with no more than 23 years TIS. Additionally, applicants for baccalaureate programs must already have an associate degree from an accredited higher educational institution, or the equivalent amount of college credits already earned. Those personnel interested in the master’s program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher educational institution.
The AEV is available to personnel transferring or currently assigned to shore duty as long as they have sufficient time ashore to complete the program. As specified in the NAVADMIN, prospective applicants on sea duty may still apply for the program provided an educational plan reflects their ability to complete the program. Those selected for the program are expected to enroll in the Fall 2017 term.
If an applicant is already using Navy Tuition Assistance to further their education, they can still apply for the AEV program. However, AEV and Navy TA cannot be combined, and AEV cannot be used to earn more than one degree at time. Prerequisite or lower-level courses may be authorized under the AEV program if they are part of the approved educational plan.
Is the program really free?
Nothing in life is free. Applicants, if approved, incur a service obligation of three times the number of months of education completed or three years, whichever is less, upon completion or withdrawal from the AEV Program. The AEV does not obligate the Navy to retain the member on active duty.
When can I apply?
Now! Applications for the AEV are being accepted by NTEC (N525). The deadline for all submissions for the FY-17 program is May 26, 2017. A selection board will convene in June 2017 to consider all applicants. All applications must include an endorsement from the applicant’s commanding officer and command master chief.
Application details and more information can be found at the Navy College website, www.navycollege.navy.mil/resources/aev.htm.
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