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New Web Tuition Assistance Automation Significantly Speeds Approval Process

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- As part of the Navy's transformation to a virtual service delivery model, the Navy College Program launched an update to the My Education portal June 27, significantly improving the Web Tuition Assistance approval process for Sailors taking off-duty education courses.

"We've automated a major portion of the WebTA authorization process to improve accuracy, reduce the time it takes to complete the application, and get vouchers authorized," said Cathe Waters, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Voluntary Education (VOLED) lead program analyst. "Not only does the new process give commanding officers greater authority in the TA authorization process, the improvements will enable faster enrollments, grade posting, invoice payments, and make voluntary education less stressful for our Sailors."

Previously, Sailors had to wait for the Navy College staff to manually verify and authorize their WebTA applications after command approval. The new process automatically checks/validates the Academic Institution's (AI) course/tuition information, validates a Sailor's status, including degree plan, counseling, no missing grades, EAOS status, TA annual usage, etc.

As part of the update, the My Education portal also adds an AI module where Sailors can select their courses/tuition rates and have those automatically uploaded to the WebTA voucher. 

"If all Navy requirements are met, if the Sailor has used course and tuition information from AI module to populate the WebTA request, and if the request is command approved, then My Education automatically sends the service member a link to the school payment voucher for signing and delivery to the Academic Institution" Waters added. 

"Our approval backlog for TA requests has averaged nearly five-hundred on any given day, each requiring manual review," said Lt. Cmdr. Nick Turner, NETPDC VOLED deputy director. "The new automated WebTA process will significantly reduce the backlog, allowing exceptionally quick turnaround."

In order for a Sailor to have their WebTA request accepted and command approved, they need to meet specific training and policy requirements, (training completed, academic counseling by a Navy College Counselor, degree plan uploaded, passing the PRT, recommended for advancement, etc.) to qualify. 

Mandatory training includes TA Policy and Procedures Training and the Joint Knowledge Online Higher Education Prep Course. Training can be found at the Navy College website under 'Resources' and 'Training.' Navy College Education Counselors also provide the required academic counseling to help Sailors define their goals and select an education program. Once a college/university and a program have been selected, Sailors work with their AI to produce an education plan which they upload to their 'My Education,' 'education tab,' and 'upload files' tab.

When all the above requirements have been met, Sailors are able to create, save, and submit their WebTA application, entering the Command Approver's e-mail address. WebTA applications that do not pass the automatic checks will be reviewed and manually processed by a Navy College Program staff member, requiring extra time to fix problems. WebTA requests received prior to 27 June will continue to be manually processed until all are funded. 

"As a final push to help eliminate the current WebTA queue, we will be concentrating efforts of the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC) staff on Friday June 30 and Monday July 3 for TA processing," said Turner. "On those days, live chat and help requests will still be available for Sailors needing assistance. Normal VEC hours will resume July 5."

It is highly recommended that WebTA applications be submitted no later than 30 days in advance, but all WebTA applications MUST be command approved no later than 14 calendar days prior to an AI's published term start date. Applications may be submitted for approval up to 120 days prior to term start dates.

Visit the NCP website: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil to start the education process, submit a Help Request at the Assistance Center, initiate a Live Chat session, or review knowledge management articles. The NCVEC can be reached toll free 1-877-838-1659 Monday-Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. EST.

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