Everything you should know about Military Tuition Assistance

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military-tuition-assistanceIn support of continued education, the Armed Forces offers its service members several programs, including up to 100 percent of tuition assistance (TA) for college classes, vocational training, and certificate courses taken during their off-duty hours.

Military TA is a benefit paid to those who serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.  Each branch has its own criteria for eligibility, required service, procedures and restrictions.

Payment caps are the same for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Coast Guard TA:  0 per Semester Credit Hour, 6 per Quarter Credit Hour, and ,500 per fiscal year.

Here’s a brief overview of benefits available to each branch of service:

Air Force

Air Force Tuition assistance provides 100 percent of tuition and fees for courses taken by active duty personnel.  In fact, this education assistance program is one of the most frequent reasons given for enlisting and re-enlisting.

Candidates must apply for assistance online using the Air Force Virtual TA Education Center.  Log on to www.my.af.mil and complete the six steps.

Army

The Army’s program is open to nearly all soldiers on active duty (officers, warrant officers, enlisted) as well as Army National Guard and Army Reserve on active duty. There are some restrictions as to who may use Army TA and courses it can be used for.

A new automated TA project has been launched that enables active duty soldiers to request assistance and enroll in classes online.  For more information about the new process, go to www.GoArmyEd.com where you can also find out more about eligibility requirements.

Navy

Navy Tuition Assistance is available to Naval Officer and Enlisted active duty personnel as well as Naval Reservists who are on continuous active duty.  It’s also offered to Enlisted Naval Reservists ordered to active duty for 120 days, and to Naval Reservist Officers ordered to active duty for a minimum of two years.

To qualify, an applicant must:
-    be on active duty throughout the duration of the course
-    attend an accredited institution
-    get counseling from the Navy College Office
-    provide all grades from previously funded TA courses
-    agree (if an officer) to stay on active duty for at least two years after completing any funded course

Payment is not to exceed 0 per SCH, 6 per QCH, and 16 semester hours (24 quarter hours or 240 clock hours) per year.

Marines

First-time students are required to complete a TA Orientation Class before using funds.  Marines in remote locations (non Marine Corps installations) may access the course online.  Once enrolled for the program, he or she must submit a degree plan before exceeding 12 semester hours.

Marine Tuition Assistance will cover up to 100 percent of charges for tuition, instructional fees, laboratory fees, computer fees and mandatory enrollment fees combined for postsecondary schooling, from vocational certification through graduate study.  Funds are not approved for payment of books or courses toward a lateral or lower degree than you already have.  Officers who utilize TA must remain on active duty for two years after a funded course is finished.

Coast Guard

Coast Guard TA offers eligible personnel, including active duty, reserve and civilian employees, funding for courses to expand their academic or Coast Guard technical background.

The managing of TA is centralized at the US Coast Guard Institute through a processing system run by the US Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center.  After approving the application, the USCGI inputs the data and issues the TA Authorization form which the applicant then takes to the academic institution during registration.

Eligibility and benefits are standard across the board for active duty, civilian employees, select drilling reserve members and Public Health Service offices working with the Coast Guard.  TA will be approved “upfront” for traditional college coursework (resident or remote) for classes less than 18 weeks long. Courses must be taken from an accredited institution, and funds can not be used toward reimbursement for books.

Reserves

Many members of the Selective Reserves are eligible for TA., called Army Reseve Tuition Assistance.  However, each service branch determines how to administer its own assistance.  Also, many states offer their own incentives for National Guard service members.  For more information, log on to www.military.com.

For the latest details concerning Military Tuition Assistance benefits and procedures, please visit your education counseling office.

This article is based on publicly-accessible information and has not been reviewed or approved by any military branch.

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