Boxer Sailors Gear Up With NCPACE Courses 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher B. Janik, USS Boxer Public Affairs  
SAN DIEGO - USS Boxer (LHD 4) is scheduled to offer Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) distance learning courses beginning March 1st for Sailors interested in earning college credits towards an academic degree.

Recently, Navy College Office and Central Texas College representatives gave NCPACE distance-learning counseling and offered course registration for Sailors in the ship's library.

"I discussed the advantages of using NCPACE for college course selection," said William Garcia, Education Services Specialist at the Navy College Office at Naval Base San Diego. "We have close to 100 associates to master's degree courses, offered in both distance-learning and instructor led, that lead to a degree."

Sailors are not required to pay for the cost of the courses but are responsible for the cost of textbooks and related course materials.

"Even if the Sailor has to pay for books and materials, the cost of not going to college is even more expensive," said Garcia.

In the Navy, how well a Sailor performs both at and away from work can play a vital role in his or her long-term success.

"A lot of Sailors that I see come into the Navy do not have degrees," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Frank W. Chandler. "By completing classes in their free time, underway or on a deployment, a Sailor really has the opportunity to stand out amongst their peers and pave a path to their future."

During deployments or while underway, Sailors have an opportunity to save more money than usual given the fact that they are typically on the ship for at least six months.

"Since the Navy is supplementing the cost of NCPACE and Tuition Assistance for Sailors, they can use the extra money they save and put it towards personal finances or build up their savings account," Chandler said.

NCPACE courses are set up so that service members can work around their busy schedules, even if they are not on shore duty.

"I think the NCPACE courses are a really great opportunity for Sailors who are stationed on a ship because the courses are available on CD and other formats so there is no need for internet, which isn't always available on the ship," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class April DeLuna.

Obtaining a degree or simply showing motivation by just taking one class at a time while in the military can earn one extra point on advancement exams, add to an evaluation or open the door for a spot at Officer Candidate School.

"I believe that Sailors should take advantage of the opportunity to be able to take classes while on active duty with NCPACE and especially with the TA program," DeLuna said. "Earning a degree is a big accomplishment that really benefits military members if they decide to get out of the service."

Taking traditional classes in the civilian sector can be strenuous for students whom are also working a job to pay bills, DeLuna added.

It is up to each individual Sailor to take the first step toward earning a degree and making a change that can really change their future for the better, Garcia said.

"A college education can increase a Sailor's understanding of world affairs," said Garcia. "It can help the Sailor understand their own place in the world and in their own community so that he or she can become a productive member of society."
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