Kate Is Clueless: Base Education Offices

February 15, 2013 | Kate Horrell

Sometimes, I think I have no idea about anything.  Take the service-sponsored education offices, for example.  It seems like they are never able to help me with the educational questions and needs that I have.

Many moons ago, I took advantage of the last of my MyCAA funding to enroll in an Accredited Financial Counselor program.  This is the same program for which military spouses can be awarded fellowships through the National Military Family Association.  After several years of application, I realized that I was never going to be selected and since I was going to lose MyCAA eligibility anyway, I enrolled in the program.

My books came in the mail and I mapped out a plan to complete the course quickly.  After completing the first set of studies, I approached my local Navy College office to arrange to have my exam proctored.  They couldn’t help me – apparently helping spouses take exams is not part of their mission.  They sent me to the library, who had been instructed to stop proctoring exams because they were swamped.  I emailed back and forth with the sponsoring association, who was pretty inflexible in their proctoring requirements. There was literally no way I could take my exams at my large, overseas military base.

Thankfully, we PCSed prior to the expiration of my course timeline.  Ah, the Air Force!  I figured that things would certainly be easier here.  Doesn’t the Air Force have a reputation for having the best programs?  I dutifully marched over to the Base Education office and talked to the testing staff.  Sure, they’d be glad to help me.  (It hasn’t happened, which is another story altogether.)  This was in September.  Now, apparently, the budget cuts  mean that they are going to stop proctoring non-sponsored exams.  Now, I’ve spent some time in military education offices.  There aren’t hoards of people in there, standing in line for services.  It is quiet.  Very quiet.  Which means that it is a sensible place to cut jobs, but why cut services while there are still the staff to support them?

Military personnel and spouses have plenty of trouble pursuing their education.  It can be expensive, and crazy schedules and PCS moves make studying hard.  Why should the allegedly easy part, popping into the education office to take a test, be so darn difficult?

I’d love to hear any base education office stories, good and bad.  Surely, the system must work for someone.  Please share your tips for success.