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CCAF graduates largest class to date

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert
  • 42 Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The Community College of the Air Force's October class broke records when 13,042 graduates earned their associate of applied science degree.
With the graduates from the April class, the year 2014 has had a total of 23,160 graduates.

Breaking records is nothing new for the CCAF. It is the largest community college in the nation with a 6,000-person staff, 2,000 courses and more than a quarter million students, all distributed within 108 affiliated schools.

The CCAF Campus Relations Flight is responsible for managing all the school campuses nationwide, with only five staff members. That averages nearly 1,200 staff members and 22 schools each person has to manage and ensure requirements are being met.

That is a lot of people to look after, but with that enormous amount of people comes an even more enormous stack of paperwork. The CCAF Student Services Flight is a four-person team that produces and mails all requested transcripts.

"Every student gets researched, and their information is physically written on every transcript," said Tech. Sgt. Jody Bowles, CCAF Student Services Flight non-commissioned officer in charge. "It can get pretty overwhelming."

In 2013 the flight received more than 124,000 transcripts, that is approximately 31,000 transcripts per person in the flight to manage.

"It's nothing less than chaotic to say the least. During class closeout periods the number of transcripts that come in at one time is unbelievable," said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Glenn, CCAF Student Services technician. "Lucky for us, our CCAF team is ready to help us any time we need help processing transcripts.  We always come together as a team in order to process all the transcripts and be able to award degrees to our students."    
The hard work at the headquarters is certainly paying off since there has been a 64 percent increase in annual graduations. The CCAF graduates more than twice the amount of students annually than the top civilian community colleges in the nation. To date the CCAF has granted 445,600 degrees in just 36 years, and that's enough to grant the entire population of Atlanta a degree.

"We started accreditation in 1976, got it in 1980 and now share Air University's accreditation," said Lt. Col. Michael Artelli, CCAF commandant.

The CCAF, and Air University as a whole, is accredited by the same organization as highly reputable colleges and universities, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

"We are regionally accredited, that's a gold standard, and it takes a lot to keep that standard," said Chief Master Sgt. Andrew Hollis, CCAF vice commandant.
It's no doubt that CCAF is pushing out degrees, but that diploma is more than just a piece of paper to the Air Force.

"The Air Force doesn't want people to get degrees just to have them; it's the benefit they are to the Air Force after they've received it," said Hollis. "It's the education our Airmen have that makes them the most highly capable enlisted fighting force in the world."