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Army, Navy or suit & tie. Anyone who has access to Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) and is considering a college education can sign up for classes through the Navy College office in Building 17.

The Navy College office provides access to education counselors and college representatives who can help potential students plan the career path of their choice or simply help them understand the education process better.

There are three colleges located on NSAB and each offers a unique degree path focused on preparing students for eventual four-year college programs. Southern Illinois University offers a program designed to help students obtain a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management. University of Maryland University College offers degree paths in business and homeland security, with classes taught at NSAB, at Ft. Meade and Andrews Air Force Base. Central Texas College offers an associate degree with classes taught here and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

According to Elizabeth Baker, director of the Navy College office, there are options for just about everyone including online classes, classes taught in person and “hybrid” courses, which combine both methods.

“We try to just do on base face-to-face classes,” said Baker, “because it’s kind of difficult to find a university where you can get face-to-face classes, but people are inclined to want the hybrid classes, so we’re giving this a shot as well.”

Semesters are about eight weeks for most programs.

The approach to exams for each class is dependent on the course students are enrolled in. Baker said online classes may have tests, but each school does them differently. “Some of them are online, some require proctors, some may be essays and some may not have tests at all,” she added.

Active duty members can take any of the classes with their respective services administering tuition assistance. Classes are offered year round. Some are also available to civilians and dependents with access to the base, but Baker cautioned that Navy College can’t provide that access or guarantee parking. “The base has asked us not to provide access to people outside of the base because of security concerns and parking issues,” she explained.

Craig Branagan, Director for Army Education Services, located in the same office, says Soldiers who want help with their education can set-up an appointment to meet with him.

“Army and Navy have different rules for using tuition assistance, and they also use two totally different systems. Our system is highly automated but it needs a lot of hands on tweaking,” said Branagan. “A Soldier can go to almost any school in the Army inventory and register through a program called ‘GoArmyEd’. They can get their tuition approved, get registered for class and then they’re done with that; however, there’s always a lot of guidance. We do education guidance, career guidance, and there are a lot of times we have to sit down and go thru how to get from Point A to Point B. We call it GoArmyEd counseling.”

Baker and Branagan both said it’s a good idea to ease into taking classes after work hours. “We encourage people to attend on a part-time basis because of the work and time off schedule,” said Baker. “Absolutely start with [just] one class. See if you have enough time to attend the classes and do the work. If you find you have enough free time to do more, then add in a second class.” To adequately plan for the first class, she added, potential students should anticipate spending at least one hour on homework for every hour spent in class.

For more information about enrollment, call 301-295-2014 or stop by Building 17, Suite 2D.