Airmen who twice fail out of their professional military education distance learning classes now must get the approval of one or more supervisors before they can re-enroll.

In a memo posted on the Air University's Education Support Center website, Jeffrey Geidner, dean of enlisted PME academic affairs at Air University, said that as of Jan. 6, airmen can self-enroll for PME for the first or second time without getting their supervisor or commander involved.

But the third time an airman enrolls— that is, his second re-enrollment — the airman needs to submit a letter signed by him and his immediate supervisor. An airman's fourth enrollment must be signed by him, his supervisor and his squadron commander, and his fifth enrollment must be signed by him, his supervisor, his squadron commander and his group commander, or the first colonel in his chain of command.

Airmen who already had at least three disenrollments before the new policy went into effect must submit a letter signed by their immediate supervisor if they want to enroll again, the memo said.

But in one way the new PME policy will make re-enrollment easier for airmen: They are now allowed to re-enroll right away, instead of waiting a mandatory six months as the old policy required.

The memo also says that students who fail two tests within a set will be automatically disenrolled, but that is a policy that remains unchanged.

However, additional changes to enlisted PME, which could alter the re-enrollment policies, are also being finalized by the Air Force and are likely to be announced soon, Geidner said.

The re-enrollment request letter, also posted online by Air University, requires an airman to say he has talked with his supervisor about what caused him to fail previously, and what he needs to do to successfully pass the course. The supervisor needs to describe in the letter what the airman, and possibly the supervisor, will do to make sure the airman will succeed.

Distance learning courses — called Course 15 for noncommissioned officers and Course 14 version 6 for senior noncommissioned officers — are required before enlisted airmen can attend in-residence NCO and SNCO academies.

Stephen Losey covers personnel, promotions, and the Air Force Academy for Air Force Times. He can be reached at slosey@airforcetimes.com.