Just because you are assigned to sea duty, you don’t have to put your dreams of a college degree on hold. Through the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE), you can get 100% of your tuition paid for and receive the same high-quality educational experience that shore duty sailors enjoy. Let’s take a look at what NCPACE is, if you are eligible for the program, and what NCPACE covers.
What is NCPACE?
The Navy College Program for Afloat College Education, or NCPACE, is one of the Navy’s financial assistance programs for sailors who want to pursue higher education while off-duty. If you are an eligible active-duty sailor, NCPACE provides you with paid tuition for college, university, or vocational/technical institution courses. Unlike Navy tuition assistance that pays for both classroom and independent study/distance learning courses, NCPACE offers independent study/distance learning courses that are stand-alone and don’t require constant Internet access.
Am I Eligible for NCPACE?
NCPACE is available to eligible sailors who are serving on active duty. Here are the requirements to qualify NCPACE:
- You must have served in the Navy for two years, have been onboard at least one year at your first permanent duty station, and be on active duty for the duration of the course.
- The institution must be regionally or nationally accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.
- You have to get counseling from a Navy College Education Counselor from an OCONUS Navy College Office (NCO) or from the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC) before you submit your NCPACE request.
- You must submit an approved education plan that lists all courses required for program completion.
- If you are an officer, you must agree to stay on active duty for at least two years after you complete your last NCPACE funded course. If you don’t complete the required service obligation, you must repay the NCPACE funds.
- You must be assigned to sea duty type 2 or 4 Unit Identification Codes or be an active duty IA/OSA/GSA serving OCONUS for the period of the course.
What If I Am A Naval Reservist?
You must meet these additional requirements to be eligible for NCPACE:
- Must have completed one year at your Navy Operational Support Center (or equivalent).
- If you are enlisted, you must be ordered to active duty for 120 days or more and be on active duty for the duration of the course.
- If you are an officer, you must be ordered to active duty for two years beyond the end of the course.
What Is Covered Under NCPACE?
You can use NCPACE for the following programs:
- High School diploma
- Associate degree
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s degree
- Certificate programs, certification preparation program, or diploma program approved by the VA.
Schools are checked to make sure that the course is stand alone. You will need to pick from the courses listed in the NCPACE catalog in MyNavy Education. Just select the NCPACE icon after you login.
NCPACE will only cover tuition up to the fixed per credit limit and up to the career/fiscal year cap (see details below). The program doesn’t cover the cost of books and materials, schools’ fees, lateral or lower-level degrees, or if you retake the same course.
Be aware that NCPACE won’t pay for your course if:
- you leave the service before your class ends
- you withdraw from the course for reasons other than personal illness, military transfer or mission requirements
- you fail the course
If one of these things happens, you’ll have to pay back any NCPACE funds already paid.
NCPACE will only fund one qualifying program during your career. For NCPACE to fund the program, all these requirements must be met:
- The school must have signed the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU).
- Courses must show up on your college transcript as Clock Hours, Semester Hours, or Quarter Hours.
- The program must be listed on the VA website.
Are There Caps To Using NCPACE Funds?
Yes. Tuition payments must not exceed the following caps:
- $250.00 per semester hour
- $166.67 per quarter hour
- $16.67 per clock hour (for approved certificate/diploma programs only)
Also, in accordance with Navy regulations, NCPACE is limited to:
- a fiscal year cap of 12 semester hours, 18 quarter hours, or 180 clock hours (or combination).
- a lifetime cap of 120 semester hours, 180 quarter hours, 1800 clock hours (or combination).
The fiscal year and lifetime credit cap applies to both Navy Tuition Assistance, and NCPACE combined.
Just because you are at sea, you don’t have to wait until you get back to shore duty to advance your civilian education. The Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) is a great way to get a high-quality education while at sea. You can use NCPACE in conjunction with Navy TA to make the most of your benefits and reach all of your educational goals while on active duty.
Jim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.
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