Federal Tuition Assistance
The Federal government extends several educational provisions for members of the armed forces. Additionally, individuals serving their local state National Guard are eligible for Federal Tuition Assistance under a different set of guidelines. These programs help our veterans and active duty military obtain the financial means to pay for college, earn their high school GED, or complete a certificate program. With various options available, it is important to understand the differences between these federal programs and also what to expect under each.
Armed Forces Federal Tuition Assistance
The Armed Forces offers active duty soldiers the Tuition Assistance (TA) Program to help fund their educational requirements. Working in accord with federally accredited schools, TA is available to any officer who spends at least two years in the reserves. The program is used to cover tuition for any degree that is greater than the officer’s current educational background and standing. Individuals who have a Bachelors degree, for example, would not be eligible for the program if they are pursuing an Associate’s degree in a differing field of study.
The TA program retains a semester hour cap of $250, but this is generally the standard or above standard cost of tuition for most colleges and universities. Enrollment into the TA program must be applied for, and the ultimate approval falls with the US government educational department.
To learn more about Armed Forces Federal Tuition Assistance, visit the program website for each branch of the military:
- Army: Army Tuition Assistance Program at https://www.goarmyed.com/public/public_money_for_college-tuition_assistance.aspx
- Navy: Navy Tuition Assistance Program at http://www.navy.com/joining/education-opportunities.html
- Air Force: Air Force Tuition Assistance Program at http://www.airforce.com/benefits/enlisted-education/
- Marine Corps: Marine Corps Tuition Assistance Program at http://www.marforres.marines.mil/GeneralSpecialStaff/MarineCorpsCommunityServices/MarineFamilyServices/LifelongLearingCenter/TuitionAssistance.aspx
- Coast Guard: Coast Guard Tuition Assistance Program at http://www.uscg.mil/yotf/cgi/active_duty/pay_for_college/ta/default.asp
National Guard Reserves Assistance
For those serving under the National Guard, educational provisions are also available. In addition to the federal program, most states offer their own tuition assistance program. In contrast with the Armed Forces reserves, the National Guard is subject to both federal and state regulations and laws. There may, therefore, be a more ridged set of requirements for reserves soldiers to follow in order to receive the tuition assistance necessary.
As a general guideline, tuition assistance through the National Guard closely follows the TA program requirements with the exception of an obligation to stay with the reserves for at least 4 years after course completion.
- Army National Guard Tuition Assistance: https://www.goarmyed.com/public/public_money_for_college-tuition_assistance.aspx
- Air National Guard Tuition Assistance: http://www.goang.com/Benefits/Benefits
Furthermore, educational expenses not covered by the above tuition assistance programs may be paid for by the Tuition Top-Up Program. This program assists active duty GI Bill participants who have served for at least two years. To find out more about this program, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/docs/factsheets/topup.pdf.
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