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    Sailors and Civilians Pursue Higher Education with Support from the Navy College Office



    Story by Alicia McNeely 

    U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples

    NAPLES, Italy – Back-to-school season is in full swing, and onboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples that means it is time for our personnel – not just the kids – to hit the books. This month, college students are headed back to the classroom, on base and online, to start the fall 2020 semester.
    Pursuing higher education can be a challenging experience, yet NSA Naples community members do not shy away from working hard to accomplish their goals. According to the Navy College Office (NCO), during the last school year, 729 active-duty Sailors assigned to NSA Naples and its tenant commands enrolled in undergraduate college courses, and 72 enrolled in graduate-level courses. Civilian employees and family members took a total of 565 undergraduate and 47 graduate courses.
    One such dedicated student is Chief Warrant Officer Elvis Gonzalez, the NSA Naples administration officer. Gonzalez said, “I believe a college education gives you an advantage over others, both in your military career and as an individual. I think having an education helps open some doors that otherwise would not be accessible.”
    Gonzalez chose to enroll in college while onboard for a variety of reasons, including inspiring his children. “I wanted them to see their dad pursue – and achieve – his college education while serving as an active-duty service member in the world’s greatest Navy,” he said.
    Thanks to the support of the NCO, service members and civilians are able to take U.S. accredited college classes while living abroad in Italy.
    The NCO works with three on-base colleges to offer in-person, online and hybrid classes: University of Maryland Global Campus (UMCG), University of Oklahoma Extended Campus and Central Texas College (CTC). Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is also contracted in Europe. From associate to master’s degrees, popular majors range from general studies, hospitality management and child development to business administration and international relations, amongst others.
    Christal Poleviyuma, director of the NCO onboard NSA Naples, explained that students are not limited to these programs. She said, “The Navy College Office can help you with any college you would like to go to.”
    The NCO sets potential students up with a counselor who works with them one-on-one to find the perfect program to meet their educational, circumstantial and financial needs.
    Gonzalez said, “When I went to the Navy College Office, they answered every question I had, helped me get started, and once I was attending, they encouraged me to stay focused and on track. They also explained the pros and cons of online and traditional, in-person schools, so I could make an informed decision.”
    In the end, Gonzalez, who is now only three classes away from earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration with Trident at American InterContinental University, decided to complete his entire degree remotely. “My Navy work schedule doesn’t much support going the traditional school route, so I chose to pursue my education 100% online – which by the way, provides me a lot of flexibility to do my online research and write papers,” he said.
    Aside from researching and choosing the best program of study, the cost of a degree can be another daunting aspect for potential students.
    In order to afford higher education, the NCO recommends service members use tuition assistance (TA), scholarships and other financial aid. Active-duty Sailors who have served for at least two years and have command approval are eligible for TA, which funds up to 100% of tuition fees for an educational institution. Civilians and family members should consider federal student aid, as well as scholarships through My Career Advancement Account and the on-base colleges.
    Poleviyuma noted, “Keep an eye on Facebook pages; many base organizations will put out scholarship opportunities regularly.”
    For those hoping to master la bella lingua while living in Naples, CTC offers free Italian classes for active-duty service members and Department of the Navy civilian employees. Family members are also invited to enroll in the Gateway to Italian language program for a fee.
    Additionally, the NCO provides several other services to help NSA Naples community members working to realize their off-duty academic and professional ambitions, including standardized and certification testing, language proficiency assessments and exam proctoring.
    For Sailors and civilians interested in enrolling in classes through the NCO this fall, the second session of courses begins in October, and TA must be command approved 14 days prior to the first day of class.
    For more information, stop by the NCO on weekdays to connect with a counselor. The NCO is located at Capodichino in Admin. II 442A, room 36.1, on the ground floor. On Thursdays, the NCO is also open in Fleet and Family at Support Site. Follow NSA Naples and NSA Sigonella Navy College Office on Facebook, or call DSN 626-6678 or Comm. 081-568-6678.
    NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed, to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
    For more news about NSA Naples and the Sailors who serve aboard the installation, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at



    Date Taken: 08.19.2020
    Date Posted: 08.27.2020 01:51
    Story ID: 376881
    Location: NAPLES, IT 

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