Military Tuition Assistance is a military program to help those who serve the United States military with financial aid to pay for college. It is available to soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and guardsmen who qualify. Each service has its own stipulations and criteria for qualifying. Once a service member qualifies, they are on their way to obtain career training, college credits or a degree, while still serving their country.
Tuition assistance now covers up to 100% of tuition cost. This is not to exceed $250 each semester credit hour. This applies to all services. It is capped out at $4,500 for each fiscal year. If a service member uses the maximum benefits, this is equivalent to carrying a full course load.
Each service has a list of what tuition assistance will cover. It covers tuition in all cases. Some services allow it to cover lab fees, enrollment fees, special fees and computer fees. A qualifying service member will need to speak to a counselor to see what is covered and what is not.
Many services allow you to apply on their respective Web sites. Others will have you visit the education office that is available. Service members may be required to have counseling before beginning their first class. For many services, command approval is required once a year to take classes.
Military members must apply themselves to the classes that they take. If they have to withdraw from the class, they may be responsible to pay back the tuition assistance that was paid. If they have to withdraw for military reasons, this may be waived upon approval. The unit command will have to verify that it is a military reason. If a service member fails a class, they will also be responsible for fees. A record or all classes and grades received are kept in the military members file. Many services offer benefits such as promotion points for higher education that is taken.
Tuition assistance applies to any class that qualifies. The list of classes that qualify have expanded over the years. Correspondence, distance learning and e-learning from qualified institutions qualify, which are ideal for service members who are unable to learn from a traditional class room setting. A service member now has many options available to them for taking college courses and using their tuition assistance.
One thing that should be made clear – this is not a loan. The only time repayment is required for tuition assistance is when the course is withdrawn from for personal reasons or failed. It is viewed as a military benefit that is earned for service to the United States. It is a benefit that everyone in uniform for the Armed Forces should take advantage of.
Tuition assistance and military educational benefits change periodically. It is best to seek the advice of an educational counselor to plan for career training or a degree and to use the tuition assistance program to the best advantages. It is a benefit that is provided to service members. Tuition assistance ensures that we have a well educated professional military.