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The education center that helped sailors brush up on academics and prepare for college is scheduled to close Friday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Japan, due to budget cuts and low usage, Navy leaders have said.

For more than seven years, the Navy College Learning Center offered base residents computer-based learning tools, including preparation for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, used to determine jobs for which servicemembers qualify, said William P. White, its facilitator.

“There were a variety of things that people used it for but mostly for college preparation or their ASVAB,” said White, a civilian Department of Defense employee.

Parents used the center to brush up on subjects their kids were learning at school; security police and petty officers would use it to improve report- and evaluation-writing skills, White said.

“A lot of students got a lot of use out of it over the years,” he said. “Those cases are few and far between but they’re worth it.”

The Navy is closing four of its 28 College Learning Centers, he said. In addition to Atsugi, centers at Rota, Spain; Keflavik, Iceland; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will close.

Atsugi’s center almost closed last year because of low usage, White said, but he appealed to commanders, who encouraged sailors to visit the center. Usage surged intially, but it has since subsided.

The center’s computers were only in use an average of 30 percent to 40 percent of the time, White said, adding that the low attendance probably was caused by deployments, job schedules and operational commitments.

“Sometimes, the younger members can’t get to it during open hours,” he said.

Sailors who need educational resources now will have to travel to the college learning center at Yokosuka Naval Base, a 45-minute drive. They also may be able to take advantage of similar programs offered at nearby Camp Zama if space exists, White said.

Atsugi residents should contact Jeana VanHouten, the Navy College office director, at DSN 264-3280 for more information on alternatives to the Atsugi center.

For ASVAB information, contact Yokosuka’s personnel office at DSN 243-8433 or the college learning center at DSN 241-4600. White can be reached at his office through Tuesday at DSN 264-4465.

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