Too Old for School? Part 1

The Brain Says No!


graphic of brain synapsesI'm old. There, I said it. The person staring back at me in the mirror has to be my Mother, not me. My joints do an impersonation of the Snap! Crackle! And Pop! cereal characters when I stand up. I can't count the number of times I’ve had to retrace my steps to remember what I came into the room for. And, um, what was I saying? Oh yeah - does all of that mean I'm too old to go back to school? Hmmm... not so fast there.

The jury is still out on whether mental exercises magically stave off old age in the brain, but some studies at least show promise ( I think it is just common sense that the brain should be exercised every bit as much as the body to keep them both in shape. And nothing exercises the brain like going to school – whether to complete a degree, get a certification, or just gain knowledge and skills that help with your job and/or life. Researching and memorizing facts and creating designs and applying knowledge and... the list goes on and on. All that mental exercise can only do you good!.

It can be scary to go back to school if you haven't been there in a while, but rather than sit there and tell yourself “I can't do that,” get up and say “That sounds like fun!” Do some research, find the school/program that fits your goals, and get started. Ana Dinescu's blog post “I'm Too Old. It's Too Expensive.” discusses five issues returning students should consider, including the question of age. Check it out at

Now excuse me while I peruse this college course catalog. If only I could remember what for. **sigh**

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor


DANTES Web Site Gets a New Look

DANTES is proud to announce the launch of our NEW Web site. The DANTES Web experience has been completely transformed for improved functionality and navigation, to engage through images and interactive multimedia, and provide a quality “one stop” education-centric portal for our Service communities, partners, and stakeholders.

From the inspirational, informative videos that convey our mission, to the DANTES Digital Network news center that provides the latest information regarding benefits and programs, visitors will continue to find the quality and value that “Define Your Future.”

The DANTES site has grouped information, resources, forms and links specific to the intended audience: Service members, educational institutions and education counselors. Navigating the DANTES Web site couldn’t be easier. With menus at the top of each page you don’t have to go far to find what information is contained within — just hover over each menu item to get a deeper look.

Within the Service members area, DANTES provides tailored Subject areas which incorporate key Interest Point (IP) links:

  • Prep for College
  • Education Benefits
  • Contact a Counselor

Additionally, DANTES hopes to improve the quality of education and the overall education experience by promoting collaborations, information exchanges and direct partnerships with education providers via IP links:

  • Support Higher Education
  • College Credit Alternatives
  • Strategic Partners
  • DoD MOU
  • Counselor’s Toolbox

Finally, the DANTES web will improve delivery of program support to Service Education Counselors—providing tailored IP links and tools to best assist our Service members in achieving their education goals:

  • Counselor’s Toolbox
  • Counselor Support Programs
  • DoD MOU
  • Training

The DANTES Digital Network provides dynamic updates on programs and issues relevant to our community.

  • Videos
  • DANTES Pulse
  • Press Releases
  • Hot News
  • DIBs
  • Publications
  • Facebook/Twitter feeds

As with all things new, there will be some growing pains, so please be patient. If you are looking for something specific, click on the magnifying glass icon at the top of each page or view the Site Map at the bottom of each page. If you still can’t find what you want, contact information is located at

We will continue to grow and improve the Web site, so check back often and keep updated with the DIB, Hot News, or here at the blog.
Oh - very important - here’s the new URL:

Update your favorites and enjoy the new site.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

Define Your Future: Navy Veteran Education Success Story

TTT Dennis Bye NavyTTT Dennis Bye Principal

Retired Navy Master Chief and Troops to Teachers (TTT) participant and mentor, Dennis Bye never envisioned a future in education. After tours onboard the USS Independence and with Patrol Wing FIVE, Bye pursued his bachelor’s degree in business studies, thinking that it would be useful when he eventually retired, which he did in 2002 after 27 years of Service.

Though Bye enjoyed his position with the Military Entrance Processing Station, the call to serve as an educator became too strong to ignore. After offering his resignation, Bye secured a position as a teaching assistant at his local school district while taking education courses at night. He then embarked on an eight year journey toward his goal of becoming a school administrator, eventually obtaining a master’s degree in educational administration and his New York state certification. After successful appointments at various schools in New York’s Capital Region, he was hired as Gloversville High School’s new Associate Principal in July 2013. Bye credits his motivation with the indelible impact a school administrator made on him when he was struggling with disciplinary issues in high school. “I had it in my head that I wanted to be like the Assistant Principal that saved me from being expelled,” Bye said.

In his new role at Gloversville, Bye will be charged with improving the high school’s dropout rate—one of the highest in the Albany area. With an impressive track record, including reducing the suspension rate at Troy School 2, Gloversville’s administration has commended Bye’s approach to discipline. “He has the management skills and attention to detail to help the high school—and entire district—achieve its goals,” stated Superintendent Michael Vanyo. Bye has also been praised for his ability to empathize with at-risk students and the environmental factors presenting a barrier to their education.

These accolades come as no surprise to the TTT organization. Like his fellow TTT participants, Bye possesses the discipline, experience with diversity, and leadership skills that differentiate him from civilian educators. With 17,000 participants who have successfully transitioned to teaching through the program, TTT continues to make a positive impact on classrooms around the country.

Bye advises, “Nobody else decides your future but you; decide on your goal, and go get it.” Drawing from a career marked by perseverance, Bye notes that this advice is just as valuable to veterans who are just beginning their transition to teaching.

This article was written by Elizabeth Murray, Troops to Teachers North Atlantic Region.

Education Complaint System for Military Students

Dear Military Student:

As a beneficiary of military tuition assistance, we want you to be aware that the Department of Defense officially launched its Postsecondary Education Complaint System for military students and family members.  Agency partners including the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Education are also launching similar feedback tools providing a centralized system for filing student complaints.  The initiative, which is part of the President’s Executive Order establishing Principles of Excellence for educational institutions serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members, is designed to empower you and your family members to report misleading or unfair actions by educational institutions.  Examples of education-related issues may include, but are not limited to, misrepresentation or deceptive actions with regards to private or institutional loans, high-pressure recruitment tactics, false representations about degree programs, and misleading statements regarding accreditation.

If you or your family member is a Tuition Assistance (TA) or Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) Scholarship recipient, you are encouraged to submit feedback at: Similarly, feedback by GI Bill recipients can be submitted at and feedback by federal financial aid recipients can be sent to

All verified cases will be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network accessible by over 650 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for use in enhancing and coordinating law enforcement investigations. Appropriate cases will be referred to the Department of Justice and/or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid

The new year is a time for new beginnings. However, for most adults it is the beginning of tax season. If you are in school or planning to attend soon, tax season should prompt you to remember that it is time to start filling out your new federal financial aid application for the 2014-2015 school year (if you plan to use financial aid for the Spring 2014 or Summer 2014 semesters, complete the 2013-2014 application). Check out the video below to get started on your new application.

Many military members may qualify to receive federal grants that can offset the cost of tuition and books. As with any funding option, be informed. Learn more at .

A New Way to Search – Digital Public Library of America

Are you doing research for a project? Constructing your family tree? Looking for maps? Photos? Documents? Running out of places to look? A new way of searching online for all of the above and more was created in 2013 – the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The Chronicle of Higher Education Web site posted an article by Jennifer Howard, “Digital Public Library of America: Young but Well Connected,” that highlights this new endeavor.

The DPLA serves as the central link in an expanding network of cultural institutions that want to make their holdings more visible to the public. And it's begun to attract not only users in search of far-flung information but also developers who want to build new tools and applications on its open-source platform. The DPLA takes in millions of records of items held by libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural institutions across the country—more than 1,100 so far. Then it standardizes­ the records' metadata and uses it to point searchers toward items relevant to their interests.

The site is still growing, and new tools are added frequently to improve search functions. If this sounds like something that you can use to research a college paper, manage a project, search for your great-great-great-grandmother, or just look at a lot of cool photos, check out the DPLA Web site at

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

Most Popular Military Education Articles of 2013

What were the most popular military education posts in 2013? Check out the top 10  articles below to see what people around the military education community were buzzing about:

Just click on the title to view the article.

Top Military and CLEP Pass Rates  

 Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowances Q&A

Is a Master's Degree Really Worth It?  

Will your post military career require a college degree? 

Free Test Prep for CLEP and DSST Exams

Using your Post-9/ll GI Bill on Active Duty  

Fourth of July-just what does it really mean? 

Military Family Member College Funding Alternatives

Save Money in College with Cheaper Textbooks 

TA Alternatives: Ways to Pay for College 

What's missing? Leave a comment or email us at to let us know what information you would like to see this year.

Celebrating 40 Years of Service!

As we ring in the New Year, DANTES will celebrate a very special anniversary — our 40th year of service to our military personnel. In May of 1974, a memorandum from the Deputy Secretary of Defense to senior military leadership disestablished the United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI) and commissioned the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). Later that year, it was established as an echelon three, Navy command, with the Navy as our executive agent. DANTES was created to provide educational programs and products to the military. Over the years, DANTES has provided these vital educational services to millions of military personnel, impacting their lives and those of their families.

When USAFI was dissolved, there were two support functions that were deemed critical and served as the beginning of the programs DANTES would eventually come to manage. These two programs were the cornerstone in what has become a comprehensive menu of programs and resources that have enabled the Services to offer very successful and efficient voluntary education programs. Those original support functions were the credit-by-examination programs and the development of self-study opportunities offered to Service members from civilian schools and colleges.

DANTES has come a long way from these humble beginnings, starting with only four employees (Dr. William Gager, Dr. J.D. Smith, Dr. Duane Guieken and Martha Brownlee) and two programs, growing to over 20 programs and services with 63 staff members (civil service and contractors). In addition to our headquarters in Pensacola, we have an office based in Germany, providing quality educational support to the Services’ education professionals around the world.

While programs and services are the gist, the real engine behind them is the staff. DANTES is blessed to have a great team of professionals who are experts in their fields, without whom the programs would not be as robust. As we reflect on our history and on the future, it is appropriate to thank all who went before us, serving in various positions here, for their hard work and dedication. We have a very simple motto that helps us to focus on what is important: “It’s about the Service member!” We are also grateful for the support we have gotten over the years from the VOLED Service Chiefs, OUSD and our Executive Agent, the Navy, without which DANTES would not exist.

Over the next year, we will be celebrating our forty years of service by providing you, our constituents, with more of what you have come to expect from DANTES, with a few surprises thrown in. First up is the launch of our new stakeholder-centric Web site. Three years ago, we simplified the Web site, with the goal of making it easier for you to find the information you needed when you wanted it. Now we are ready to take that site and kick it into high gear — to better deliver our message and program information to you. Join us as we take a walk down memory lane and look to the future - share your stories about your experiences with DANTES, our products and services, or your memories of staff present and past. Send your musings to our editor, at We’ll publish some in the DIB, on the Web site and here on our DANTES Pulse blog.

New DSST Exam Launches in 2014

It is hard to think of any aspect of our daily lives that is not impacted by potential threats to cyberspace. Organizations spend billions of dollars each year to protect sensitive data and resources, yet hardly a day passes without news of a cyber-attack with resulting loss of business or personal data. Prometric is pleased to announce the launch of a new upper-level DSST exam in early 2014 - Fundamentals of Cybersecurity. Students can earn 3 ACE recommended semester hours of upper-level college credit if they take this exam and pass it. Fundamentals of Cybersecurity, includes content related to major topics in Cybersecurity including Application and Systems Security, Implementing Authentication and Authorization Technologies, Compliance, security pertaining to networks and physical environments and vulnerability management. The upper-level exam will be available in early 2014 and more information will be made available once the exam is launched.

How can this exam be used? Well there are a variety of Information Technology and Cybersecurity degrees and certificates available. Military members should contact their local or virtual education center counselor to find out which certificate or degree program is right for them and if taking this exam will be beneficial. This exam may be applied to other degrees as well. Your counselor will guide you through which CLEP and/or DSST exams will help you earn college credit while saving on college costs and reducing your time to degree completion. For more information on Cybersecurity careers check out

Here is a 1 minute video to show you how taking a DSST College Credit Exam can help you.