Fort Jackson’s Army Continuing Education System, an important part of Fort Jackson, helps Soldiers, Family members and civilians prepare for tomorrow though such things as counseling, testing and other education programs. (Photo by Veran Hill)
By Robert Timmons Fort Jackson Public Affairs
Fort Jackson’s Army Continuing Education System, or most commonly known as the Education Center, helps the community prepare for tomorrow’s achievement.
Counselors and support staff at the Education Center help prepare Soldiers to receive achievements such as promotions; Officer Candidate School or Warrant Officer School applications; and aviation program testing.
The center is an important part of Fort Jackson, said Jude Marranco, ACES division chief.
“An E7 came to the Education Center and needed to take the Armed Forces Classification Test to raise her GT score,” Marranco said, giving an example of how important the center is. “We assisted her with the AFCT study methods and provided a lot of encouragement. She raised her GT score above the 110 needed and was accepted into the Green to Gold program and will become an Army nurse.”
The service member was so excited she was “bouncing off the walls,” Marranco said. This is part of the 85% success rate of the center’s resident Basic Skills Education Program; or self-study online, where service members can improve their GT scores.
This example was just one of the myriad of ways the Ed Center and the “rock star” counselors help the Fort Jackson community.
Along with the BSEP, it offers counseling, help with GoArmyEd, Credentialing Assistance programs, the Career Skills Program, testing and help with tuition assistance and VA benefits. Representatives from four on-post military friendly colleges are also in the center offering online and nighttime classes. There even is a multiuse learning facility authorized patrons can use. A national test center is run by Midlands Technical College in the Ed Center as well.
The pandemic has affected the way the center conducts business, but it’s not “closed” Marranco said.
The center conducts telephonic counseling, practices social distancing and has reduced class sizes for those classes still conducted in person. When an interested person contacts the Ed Center by phone their number is taken, they are assigned a counselor and the counselor will call them back.
The Ed Center staff helps roughly 100 Soldiers each week. Those looking for assistance can call the Ed Center main number 751-5341 and a team member will assist them.
Before calling “Soldiers need to ask themselves how they see their life after they no longer are wearing a uniform,” Marranco added. “Do a gut check. When they can (kinda) answer that question we can backwards plan and come up with an academic way ahead.”
Below are the services offered at the center.
Academic counseling: For Soldiers, adult Family members, Department of the Army Civilians, where they offer encouragement and questions to help patrons understand what they want to do.
GoArmyEd: The Army’s online portal for post-secondary education. Allows 24/7 access to request TA and register for college classes. It can be accessed anytime and anywhere at www.goarmyed.com.
Credentialing Assistance: The Army Credentialing Assistance program provides funding for voluntary off-duty courses and/or exams leading to an industry-recognized academic or vocational credential. Mandatory briefings are held from 1-2 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month via Microsoft Teams.
Career Skills Program: The Army CSP is a component of the Soldier life cycle that encourages Soldiers to capitalize on training and development opportunities throughout their military careers - both in uniform and as civilians beyond their military service. CSPs provide Soldiers with the opportunity to participate in career and employment skill training opportunities during transition, to improve employment options upon separation from military service.
CSP opportunities include:
Employment Skills Training
Mandatory briefings are held from 10-11 a.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month via Microsoft Teams.
Army Personnel Tests (APT)
Armed Forces Classification Test (AFCT)
Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)
Defensive Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB)
Selection Instrument for Flight Test (SIFT)
National Test Center
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
Pearson VUE exams
DANTES Funded Tests
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
American College Testing (ACT)
Take at civilian test center (reimbursable)
Tuition Assistance: Offered for college courses and credentialing and is approved for regionally and nationally accredited education institutions. TA must be requested and approved five days before the course start date. TA is limited: to $250 per semester hour and $4,000 per Fiscal Year, 16 SH per FY, 130 SH for one undergraduate degree, 39 SH for one graduate degree and 21 SH for one certificate. Apply for TA through Soldier’s GoArmyEd student account. It is mandatory that all TA requests be submitted through the GoArmyEd portal. Soldiers must also electronically sign a statement of understanding.
Veterans Affairs Education Benefits help: VA benefit information can also be found at https://www.va.gov/.
MGIB Chapter 30
36 months of benefits
Pays a specific monthly payment directly to the eligible Soldier
Payments based on student status (full-time, part-time, quarter)
Soldier is responsible for all additional costs
Must be used within 10 years of separation
Eligible for 100% of benefits after serving 36 months on/after Sept.11, 2001.
Pays full tuition, with some exceptions, directly to the college, book stipend and offers a housing allowance
Transfer of Education Benefits to Spouse or dependent after six years of service
Four year Active Duty Service Obligation (applies to all)
Forever GI Bill
Elimination of 15-year time limit to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill
On Post Colleges:
Midlands Technical College: Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice Technology and Management
University of South Carolina: Associate Degrees in general education studies and Associate of Arts / Associate of Science degrees
Claflin University: Bachelor Degrees in Sociology/Criminal Justice Administration and Organizational Management
Webster University: Graduate degrees in Business Administration, Business and Organizational Security Management, information Technology, Resource Management and Management and Leadership
Basic Skills Education Program: Study to increase General Technical score (110 or higher) for MOS reclassification, establish eligibility for commissioning programs, pre-requisite for attendance in career development courses, such as Noncommissioned Officer Education System, increase chances for promotion, and lessons in word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and arithmetic reasoning
Multiuse Learning Facility: Computer Lab for authorized users that has computers, printers and fax available, Internet access, Common Access Card accessible for online military training and college information