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Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative

Source: AFNEWS - 27 Apr 07

MAXWELL-GUNTER AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNEWS) -- A new program developed by Air University allows Airmen to turn a Community College of the Air Force associate's degree into a bachelor's from an accredited university.

The Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative, or ABC, does this by establishing a partnership with various civilian higher-education institutions to offer four-year degree opportunities via distance learning.

As part of this partnership, participating schools and universities will accept all of the credits earned by Airmen who have attained a CCAF degree and apply them to a bachelor's degree related to their Air Force specialty.

"Through this program, Airmen are going to be halfway to their bachelor's with guaranteed acceptance and guaranteed credit transfer to any school participating in the ABC program," said Col. Thomas Klincar, CCAF commandant. "And, because this is a distance learning program, they will be able to do this from anywhere in the world."

The program will also make the transfer process easier for Airmen, he added.

"In the past, Airmen would apply to a college, submit their transcripts and talk to a counselor about classes available," the commandant said. "The college would look over the transcripts and accept some credits, but not others, and then the Airmen would have to go through the acceptance process. This new program will eliminate that experience."

Through the ABC program, Airmen can now use the Air Force Portal and the Virtual Education Center to access a list of participating universities. From there, the application process is basically point-and-click.

"There's no need to order transcripts or fill out any application forms," said Colonel Klincar. "Instead, CCAF will electronically send an Airman's credits to the university of his or her choice that is participating and the Airman will receive a message saying 'Congratulations ... welcome to our program, let's get started.'"

The program not only benefits Airmen seeking a four-year degree, but the Air Force also gains more knowledgeable Airmen in a timely and efficient manner.

"It's basically a win-win situation," said Colonel Klincar. "Individuals win because they won't waste time or effort earning degrees and the Air Force wins because its enlisted force will be earning career-focused degrees they can use on a daily basis."

The program benefits the universities involved as well. There are currently 60,000 eligible CCAF graduates in the Air Force who can take advantage of the ABC program, each of whom are the type of student universities try to attract.

"Each of our graduates is coming on board with 100 percent tuition assistance, and they are proven, successful students who are smart and already have an accredited degree," said Colonel Klincar. "So, universities salivate at the idea of recruiting these students."

The ABC program has been under development for just over one year and is set to kick off in June. Currently, there are 20 colleges offering 30 degree programs as part of the cooperative. Ultimately, every Air Force specialty will have at least one degree offering within the program.

More information about the program can be found by accessing the Virtual Education Center via the Air Force Portal or by visiting local base education offices.


  Keep your eyes on this.  Like many other advancements for Enlisted growth, it would not be surprising to see this as a mandatory item in the coming years.  Yet overall, Air Force individuals leaving the service have yet another option to become marketable in their second career.  Hopefully many recognize the benefit we have as opposed to our sister services.

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