Shaw AFB FAQs
Q. How can USC Sumter help me in my Air Force career?
A. A Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree will help you advance your Air Force career. USC Sumter offers all the General Education course work as well as some of the technical course work required by CCAF.
Q. Why else should I go back to school?
A. We are a "credential" society, and a degree gives you that edge over the competition. Today's employers want employees who can read well, write well, are computer literate, and are motivated. The University can help you with the first three - the motivation is up to you.
Q. What about becoming an officer?
A. You must earn a bachelor's degree either before or while you earn your commission. There are a number of routes that you can take: 1) AECP - The Airman Education and Commissioning Program is one of the most desirable but most competitive. Contact the Air Force Education Counselor at the Base Education Center. 2) AFROTC – Four-year and two-year programs are available at the USC Columbia campus. Contact them at 803-777-3450. 3) OTS - Get your degree first and then apply for this program. Contact the Air Force Education Counselor at the Base Education Center.
Q. What is the advantage of becoming an officer?
A. Prestige for one. The opportunity for leadership which will better prepare you for positions in the civilian world is another. Also, you will earn a higher salary while on active duty and after retirement. Look at the Air Force pay chart and compare an E-9 with 20 years to an O-3 with 8 years. The O-3 gets paid more!
Q. It costs a lot of money to get a college degree. What return do I get for my investment?
A. Knowledge is power. Also, educated people generally enjoy greater job security, find life more personally fulfilling, earn more money and therefore have a higher standard of living.
Q. Will the Air Force help pay for my education?
A. The Air Force will pay one hundred percent (100%) of the in-state tuition rate for an active duty member. Many other federal and state programs, in addition to scholarships, are also available. There is a lot of assistance out there, but you have to find it. Note: There is an annual limit to the total dollar amount of tuition assistance the Air Force will pay. See your Air Force Education Counselor at the Base Education Center for details.
Q. I am not a resident of South Carolina. Do I pay out-of-state fees?
A. You and your dependents are entitled to pay in-state fees. All we need is a copy of your Air Force orders assigning you to Shaw Air Force Base when you submit your application for admission.
Q. What about books?
A. The Air Force will not pay for your books. USC Sumter has a campus book store that sells all the books needed for all USC Sumter courses, including courses conducted at the Base Education Center.
Q. What about the GI Bill?
A. If eligible and/or enrolled, the GI Bill provides great assistance to you in reaching your academic goals. Call 1-800-827-1000 for more information, see the Veteran’s Administration website at www.gibill.va.gov, or contact the Air Force Education counselor at the Base Education Center.
Q. OK. I’m ready to go to school. What’s next?
A. If you are active duty military, your first stop should be the USC Sumter Office at the Shaw AFB Education Center. We have a special admission category for active duty. It’s quick, easy and costs you no money. You will need to submit a copy of your orders with your application. Also, if you are active duty, the Air Force requires we administer a writing placement test and a math placement test before we sign you up for classes. If you have previously attended any college or university, we will also need a copy of your transcript(s) to help in the advisement process. Unofficial transcripts are fine for the military special admissions category. Also, your previous course work may exempt you from one or both of the placement tests.
Q. Is the military special admissions category right for me?
A. This admissions category exists primarily for the convenience of active duty members. It requires less time, money and formalities than the regular student admission process. It is especially beneficial to the active duty member starting or continuing their CCAF or some other program of college level studies. It is also a good admission category for someone who did not have a good academic record at a college or university before they joined the Air Force and has now decide to apply their self-discipline in pursuit of an academic goal. There are some situations when the military special category is not the best category for admissions for the active duty member. Discuss your situation with our staff at the USC Sumter Office at the Shaw Education Center. They are familiar with these situations and can guide you appropriately.
Q. I am not active duty, but I am an active duty military dependent. What do I do?
A. Complete a student application for admission and submit it to the admissions office at the USC Sumter campus along with an application fee of $40. Remember to submit a copy of the active duty member’s orders assigning him or her to Shaw AFB to qualify for the in-state rate. Also, if you have previously attended a college or university, you must have official transcripts sent to USC Sumter.