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January 13, 2012


Education and Learning Center offers services to Soldiers

Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Helping Soldiers receive civilian and military testing education services is the main mission of the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) Education and Learning Center at Fort McCoy, according to Mary Miller, the center’s education services specialist.

“The center provides assistance, counseling, and computer access to Active-Duty, Guard, and Reserve Soldiers and their Family members to let them know what incentives and benefits are available to them for their civilian education, and to assist them to get those benefits,” Miller said.
PHOTO: Employees of the 88th Regional Support Command Education and Learning Center at Fort McCoy check in at the Go Army Ed website. Photo by Tom Michele
Karen Strickland checks in on the Go Army Ed website on a computer terminal at the 88th Regional Support Command Education and Learning Center at Fort McCoy. Observing the operation is Mary Miller, the center’s education services specialist. Strickland is an administrative services manager at the center.

Miller explained the center, which is located in building 50, provides counseling on the Montgomery GI Bill, both Active, Chapter 30, and Reserve Chapter 1606; Chapter 1607, which also is known as Reserve Education Assistance Program; and Chapter 33, which is the new 9-11 GI Bill and is the only federal GI Bill that can be transferred to spouses and dependents.

The center also provides contact information for the State of Wisconsin GI Bill program, which provides free tuition and fee repayment to eligible servicemembers if the servicemember went into the service in the state of Wisconsin. The program also is available to eligible dependents if a servicemember is 30 percent or more disabled. The center provides application information to Soldiers applying for their Student Loan Repayment and Health Professional Loan Repayment programs. Handouts are available on all of these programs at the center.
The center also has brochures and contact information for accredited local schools and online schools.

Also available is a new handbook, DANTES College Career Workbook, which can help Soldiers determine career interests. This is a do-it-yourself workbook.

The majority of the center’s workload involves assisting Soldiers from all components with Federal Tuition Assistance applications and paperwork, and with the Go Army Ed system, Miller said. Since the Army Reserve joined the Active Duty with using the Go Army Ed system, www.goarmyed.com, in January 2010, the Fort McCoy Education Center has access to assist Active-Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers with their Go Army Ed accounts and with their tuition assistance requests and paperwork. The National Guard aligned with the Go Army Ed System in October 2011.

The Fort McCoy Education and Learning Center also offers testing services at no cost to the servicemembers/students. The center’s test examiner is able to offer college test proctoring to military as well as civilian college students in the Fort McCoy community and surrounding area in the paper-based versions of the DANTES Standardized Subject Tests (DSST), the ACT, and the SAT. DSSTs are used to award students college credits that count toward military promotion points.

However, the Fort McCoy office cannot administer College Level Examination Program or Excelsior exams, as they are computer-based, and Fort McCoy is not a DANTES computer test site. These exams must be taken at a national test site, which generally is a public university.

“Our primary testing focus remains the successful completion of Army Personnel Tests,” Miller said. “We offer the AFCT (Armed Forces Classification Test), in-service ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) to assist servicemembers in raising their GT (General Technical) score for military occupational specialty (MOS) changes or promotion. The Fort McCoy Education and Learning Center has several practice test sets available to help insure readiness for the AFCT exam.”

Miller also said their office administers the AFAST (Army Flight Aptitude Selection Test) for those interested in a flight MOS as well as language tests, such as the DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery) exam for those wishing to qualify for language school as well as the DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test) and OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) exams for those already fluent in another language. Servicemembers who meet a specified proficiency level on the DLPT/OPI exams may qualify for additional bonus pay.

Viterbo University of La Crosse, Wis., currently offers undergraduate-level college courses in the center, which are open to both military and civilian personnel. Ten computers are available for use by eligible personnel.

The facility is open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Fridays.

Information is available by calling 608-388-7311.

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