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General FAQs

Why is the USNCC needed and what is the benefit?

The USNCC’s establishment is a result of the Secretary of the Navy’s 2018 Education for Seapower (E4S) study findings. The purpose of the study was to assess whether naval education institutions were keeping pace with rapid changes in society, geopolitics, and technology. Findings from the 2018 E4S study highlighted how the nature of warfare is changing rapidly; therefore, naval leaders’ intellectual and cognitive development at all ranks must be further developed to maintain a warfighting advantage. Consequently, findings highlighted the largest portion of the naval workforce (enlisted Sailors and Marines) were not being used to their fullest intellectual potential. In an increasingly globalized and uncertain world, all service members will need to use critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and other decision-making skills to address future warfighting and defense challenges. Education opportunities that prepare service members both for the needs of today and the challenges of tomorrow are critical to the DON’s success. Therefore, naval-relevant education offered through the USNCC will enhance service member’s cognitive abilities to develop the most technically advanced and intellectually capable force in the world.

Who can attend the USNCC?

At present, active duty enlisted service members in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reservists are eligible to be considered for admission into the USNCC.

Can families use the USNCC?

At present, the USNCC is open and funded for active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen and Coast Guard Reservists only. Family members are not eligible.

What is the Naval Studies Certificate and why is it important for students enrolled at the USNCC?

The Naval Studies Certificate is the common thread throughout all of our USNCC associate degree programs. It is a five-course series that grounds the service member in an understanding of the history of the naval services, their ethical and leadership responsibilities, how and why it is structured as it is, the role of the military in relation to civic society, and an introduction to the international environment with a focus on allies and adversaries. These courses do triple duty in providing the service member with a shared experience and a common understanding of the naval services while also meeting many of the general education requirements of an associate degree. The courses also build the service members’ 21st century skills, including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, information literacy, writing, and collaboration.

Is participation in the USNCC degree programs required?

Current service policies do not require enlisted service members to pursue or complete college education. Service enlisted advancement policies include some incentives for college class and degree completion. Services may adopt or change policies in the future to further incentivize the use of the USNCC or other enlisted educational opportunities.

How does participation in the USNCC work?

The pilot programs are still in progress; however, the USNCC envisions enlisted service members will apply for an associate degree or stackable certificate relevant to their rating or MOS. Students are able to take college courses each year; these courses will be delivered directly by the USNCC or one of its partner institutions (via the Consortium Agreement). Initially, the partner institution will offer the degree program, but as the USNCC archives academic accreditation, it will become the degree grantor. The Department of the Navy (US Navy and US Marine Corps) and Department of Homeland Security (US Coast Guard) will fund students’ participation in these programs consistent with its policies and procedures. Each program will include a:
  • Naval Studies Certificate that will include five courses in:
    • naval ethics and leadership (NAV101),
    • modern naval history (NAV102),
    • naval force design (NAV103),
    • civil/military organization and policies (NAV104), and
    • an introduction to the geopolitical environment (NAV105);
  • General education component that will include additional courses in English, math, and a combination of humanities, sciences and social sciences; and
  • Professional certificate in a series of concentration courses that align to various naval-relevant areas of study:

What is the relationship between USNCC and Tuition Assistance/Voluntary Education (VOLED) Program entitlement, and can I use TA while participating in the USNCC program?


College education opportunities offered through the USNCC are fully funded, independent of service-offered TA programs. Participation or enrollment with the USNCC will not use your TA (VOLED) entitlements.
You will not need to use their Tuition Assistance (TA) or pay out of pocket.*

U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps students participating in service-funded VolEd Tuition Assistance in a given term are not permitted to take courses through the USNCC (and its programs) at the same time. U.S. Coast Guard service members and Reservists are authorized to use USNCC funding and VolEd funding concurrently.

*Access to a personal computer and reliable internet is required.

Is the USNCC a traditional “brick and mortar” school?

No. The USNCC will meet the needs of a globally deployed workforce by offering all courses virtually and in an asynchronous mode, thus offering maximum flexibility to students who are balancing operational and personal commitments.

Will the USNCC teach any of its own courses?

Yes. The USNCC will teach the five courses that comprise the Naval Studies Certificate. A small faculty will be needed to deliver these courses on the USNCC’s Nautilus learning system.  In the future, the USNCC seeks to attract qualified enlisted Sailors and Marines to serve as faculty knowing this will inspire students to continue on a path of lifelong learning.

Will all Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen have access to the USNCC programs?

Unfortunately, no. Current planning takes USNCC enrollment projections to 15,000 when the USNCC reaches full operational capability in FY-26. For reference, this is about 3% of the total enlisted Navy and Marine Corps enlisted force as of FY-21.

Do you plan to continue the partnerships after USNCC gains accreditation?

Yes, the USNCC Consortium Agreement intends to establish long-term partnerships that will continue to offer high-quality, naval-relevant programs to service members.

What are the course load requirements for the USNCC?

The maximum courses per year will be five courses (15 semester hour credits); the maximum number of courses per term will be no more than 1 course (with lab), regardless of the number of credit hours determined by the partner institution per term without the USNCC’s approval.

Can students audit courses?

No, the USNCC’s students are not permitted to audit courses at this time without prior consent/approval from the USNCC.

What fees and books are included?

Students do not pay for books or materials as that is a negotiated price between the USNCC and the partner institution. Students should never be asked to pay for books or materials as part of this program. If you are a partner institution, please ensure USNCC students have been flagged appropriately in your communications systems so they do not receive communications asking them to pay for materials.

Who facilitates the USNCC?

The USNCC pilot programs and future USNCC degree programs are funded and run by the Department of Navy and in coordination with the maritime services (U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard).

Is the USNCC an accredited university?

The USNCC is an educational institution supported by partnering private and public nonprofit higher education institutions that offer regionally accredited programs. The USNCC is currently seeking accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. Prior to achieving accreditation (pre-candidacy status), the USNCC plans (via the Consortium Agreement) to partner with institutions who will be the primary degree-grantor for associate degrees and certificates. Upon achieving post-candidacy status (accreditation), the USNCC will become the primary degree grantor for participating USNCC students.

Is the USNCC a commissioning program?

The USNCC is not a commissioning program, but it does provide an opportunity to work towards completing a four-year degree — a requirement for many commissioning programs. Successful completion of the rigorous academic coursework at the USNCC will be a good indicator of a service member’s dedication and ability to complete the academic portion of any commissioning program.

What happens once I complete my USNCC degree?

Once you complete your USNCC certificate or degree program, you will have furthered their critical thinking skills and content knowledge in your professional concentration allowing for a direct impact on your day-to-day operations. Also, you may choose to continue pursuit of college opportunities using your service’s Tuition Assistance (TA) program or your GI Bill benefits. Through the USNCC Consortium Agreement, we partner with military-friendly institutions that offer four-year pathways and opportunities to transfer college credits with little to no loss of credit.

Is the USNCC the same as the Community College of the Air Force?

The USNCC and the Community College of the Air Force are different programs in model, scope, and mission, but they also share some similarities. 

The USNCC provides online, asynchronous, stackable naval-relevant education opportunities (certificates, associate of arts programs & associate of science programs options) for active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen as well as Coast Guard Reservists in which students apply credits earned from military training and prior education toward a naval-relevant associate degree in their chosen concentration area. Service members are not automatically enrolled in programs and have the opportunity to apply to the program that is the best fit for their career and educational journey. All programs are centered around a Naval/Maritime relevant curriculum that supports ethical leadership development, an understanding of Naval History, Geopolitics, Civil/Military context, and Force Structure Design. This curriculum, plus classes in English, math, and other sciences, will provide a strong educational foundation for all enlisted service members in their responsibilities today, while building their capacity to take on challenges of tomorrow.

CCAF offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program, where enlisted Airmen in the U.S. Air Force are automatically enrolled upon enlistment. Airmen can receive credit for military training and can complete general education requirements to earn a degree that is associated with their Air Force Specialty Code. 

Both programs are pathways for enlisted service members to begin their lifelong learning journey and both programs are separate from tuition assistance and voluntary education programs, which means the lifetime limit on TA/VOLED credits for service members can be applied toward a bachelor's and/or master’s degree. 

How are USNCC academic programs different from service level training?

USNCC education programs are vastly different from service-level training. USNCC education programs provide a strong, college-level education and foundation for active duty enlisted Sailor, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Coast Guard Reservists. USNCC programs encourage the process for students to think critically and perform in their responsibilities today, while building on their capacity to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Service-level training is a process that intends to establish and improve the capabilities of military service members in their respective roles (MOS/Rating). Yes, some service-level training has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) for recommended college-level credit, but not all are equivalent to the rigor and skill development of college-level courses. 

Admissions FAQs

What types of academic programs are available?

During Pilot II, the USNCC will enroll students into one of seven associate degree programs.

What makes a USNCC degree naval relevant?

There are three components that make a USNCC associate degree:
  • A five-course (15 credit) Naval Studies Certificate comprising:
    • NAV101 Naval Ethics & Leadership,
    • NAV102 Modern Naval History,
    • NAV103 Naval Force Design,
    • NAV104 Civilian/Military Organization and Policies, and
    • NAV105 Introduction to the Geopolitical Environment.
  • A General Education component which will include additional courses in English, Math, and a combination of Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences.
A Professional Certificate - a series of concentration courses that align to your program of study (e.g. Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Organizational Leadership, Military Studies, etc.)

Who is eligible? What are the requirements for admission?

This information can be found on the USNCC Admissions page.

How do I apply for admission?

Applications for admission will be available on the USNCC website during our open application periods. Please see USNCC Admissions page for full dates and details.

How do I submit my JST or college transcripts?

Applicants will be required to upload a copy of their JST at the time of application. Any college transcripts will be required once initial USNCC admission is approved.

How do I submit Command Approval?

This information can be found on the USNCC Admissions page.

When will I be notified if I have been admitted?

Our goal is to notify all applicants of their admission status within 3-4 weeks following the close of the Open Application period of their desired degree program.

When will I find out what partner institution I will be taking classes with?

After applying for a degree program offered by the USNCC, we will process your application, verify command approval for participation, and pass your application information to the participating institution who supports the program to which you selected and applied. Once you have been accepted by the participating institution, both the USNCC and the participating institution will notify you.

What about transfer credits?

The USNCC strongly supports lifelong learning by its students. As the degree-granting institution, the partner institution will review and consider all prior learning, academic credits, etc., incoming students may already have completed. While the partner institution evaluates prior learning, training, and academic credits, the partner institution relies on the USNCC to confirm course equivalency for USNCC Naval Studies courses.

Does my Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard training count towards my degree?

Yes. The USNCC plans to leverage both ACE-recommended credits as well as its own evaluation of training (where appropriate) to provide academic credit for the relevant competencies that you have demonstrated.

How long will it take to complete a degree program?

The length of time to complete an associate degree will vary depending on the evaluation of a service member's JST and any prior college level coursework. Based on the average number of courses maritime service members take in a year, the anticipated completion time of a student attending the USNCC is three to five years.

How will this get folded into my training day and what is the impact on the deckplate?

Currently, all of the USNCC programs and course offerings will be delivered exclusively through asynchronous on-line distance learning environments. Course work and participation will be expected to be done on your personal electronic devices (computer, tablet, or other smart device) during your off-duty time. Individual commanders may allow Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to complete academic coursework during the training day if the operational environment permits. This would be up to the discretion of your command, but the intent of the USNCC is off-duty education.

There is no negative impact to the current workforce or day-to-day operations. The USNCC will provide an educational opportunity to service members to pursue a naval relevant associate degree that compliments or supports your current rating or MOS at no cost to you, all on your off-duty time. Service members who take advantage of these or any VolEd programs are better suited for the challenges they face inside the service and better prepare them for life outside of the military.

How do I officially grant Command Approval for a service member to participate?

Applicants will be prompted to provide the name and contact information for their Education Service Officer (ESO) or command representative authorized to approve VolEd and Tuition Assistance usage.

During the application review process, the USNCC Admissions staff members will contact the designated representative via email to submit an electronic approval form.

Student FAQs

How do I contact my advisor at USNCC?

To contact your USNCC student success coach, please submit a request via our USNCC Support Center. Please provide multiple times and days (as well as your time zone) for when you would be available for a call or online meeting with a coach. One of our coaches will respond to your request within a business day to schedule an appointment.

If my school provides me with additional assistance, including financial, can I use it?

The USNCC is fully funded for service members. You will not need additional funding to participate in the program. Should you be provided with an opportunity for further financial assistance, work directly with ATCC  to understand the pros and cons of participation.

What do I do if I get a bill or check from my school?

The USNCC funds up to five courses per year by supporting the costs of tuition, mandatory course fees, and required course materials (NOT including computers, calculators, or other electronic devices). You are not required to pay anything for courses or materials associated with any USNCC-funded course. If you notice a balance pending on your account or you are given a deadline to pay for a USNCC-funded course, immediately contact your student success coach at both the partner institution and the USNCC. Do not seek alternative funding to cover costs associated with USNCC-funded courses.

If you receive a refund check from your partner institution, you should first contact the institution for confirmation and action.

To contact your USNCC student success coach, please submit a request via our USNCC Support Center. Please provide multiple times and days (as well as your time zone) for when you would be available for a call or online meeting with a coach. One of our coaches will respond to your request within a business day to schedule an appointment.

Is it correct that USNCC students can take a maximum of four courses with the partner institution per year, or five?

The maximum number of courses per year will be five; the maximum number of courses per term will be no more than one course (with lab, if required) without the USNCC’s approval. As part of your course load, you must take at least one Naval Studies Certificate course each year. You must also remain in good academic standing to remain eligible for participation in the USNCC. 

Does a 1-credit class count toward the five courses that students can take each year?

During the first term, You may only take one course for up to four semester hour credits. These may include an additional lab, up to one semester hour credit. A one- or two-semester hour credit orientation is also allowed as a second course in the first term only.

If I fail a course, will the USNCC pay to repeat it?

You may repeat a failed class (F or WF) once, presuming you are in good academic standing. Subsequent repeats require appeal and approval by the USNCC. No more than three total repeats are permitted without submission and approval by the USNCC of a formal appeal.

I am already a student at a partner institution; can I apply to be part of this program at that same institution?

Yes, if you have prior education experience and are currently enrolled with the partner institution, you can apply to be part of the USNCC program as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Eligibility for participation requires you to be enlisted and to be active duty Navy or Marine Corps, or active duty or Reserve Coast Guard, who:
(a) qualify under the terms of your service branch;
(b) can complete a course during your enlistment term and are not within three months of service separation (EAOS/EAS);
(c) have completed Recruit Training;
(d) can receive command approval;
(e) are in good academic standing;
(f) have completed initial qualifications or demonstrated MOS or rating proficiency as directed by your service or community; and
(g) have completed an eligible high school diploma or equivalent, or have otherwise demonstrated ability to benefit.
Preference for admissions will be granted to students seeking an initial college degree or certificate.

I am already a student at a different university (outside the consortium). Can I be a student at both institutions at the same time?

The USNCC programs are academically rigorous and require active participation; therefore, the USNCC does not recommend concurrent enrollment at two separate institutions simultaneously. Additionally, U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps students participating in service-funded VolEd Tuition Assistance in a given term are not permitted to take courses through the USNCC (and its programs) simultaneously. U.S. Coast Guard service members and Reservists are authorized to use USNCC and VolEd funding concurrently. The USNCC will not pay for courses outside its designated study program.

If my school provides me with additional assistance, including financial, can I use it?

The USNCC is fully funded for service members. You will not need additional funding to participate in the program. Should you be provided with an opportunity for further financial assistance, work directly with UMGC to understand the pros and cons of participation.


Prospective student? Request more information here.

Current students with more questions about information not listed above can submit a request via our USNCC Support Center for any questions or assistance you might need. All requests will be followed up with as soon as possible and within 24 hours for cases submitted during a workday, or 48 hours for requests submitted over the weekend or during official holidays.
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