Army Tuition Assistance
Like other branches of the military, the Army provides Tuition Assistance (TA) as a military education benefit to help soldiers achieve their professional and personal goals. The program also helps the Army in its goal to retain quality soldiers and aide them in their transition to civilian careers. Tuition Assistance pays for tuition and some fees for the servicemember to attend school. Unlike some military education benefits that extend to family members, Tuition Assistance is only for the servicemember. As with all military education benefits, servicemembers who plan to use the benefit need to know details of how the program works.
Who Is Eligible for Army Tuition Assistance?
All active duty Army soldiers are eligible for Army Tuition Assistance, as are all Active Guard Reserve and Army National Guard members. Though a soldier may be eligible, service commitments may apply. The only requirement for enlisted soldiers, warrant officers, and TPU warrant officers without commissions is to have enough time at their current active duty station to complete campus courses. With opportunities through online schools and schools within the Servicemember Opportunity College network, these soldiers and officers often have a number of options for transferring credits to other schools and universities while working toward their degrees.
Officers and commission warrant officers incur a two-year active duty service obligation in exchange for Tuition Assistance. Selected Reserve officers and commissioned warrant officers incur a four-year reserve duty service obligation. These service obligations start the day of the last class paid for by Army TA. An officer who voluntarily separates or is discharged due to conduct is required to reimburse the Army for any portion of TA received for service time he or she is unable to complete.
Soldiers who are "flagged" or assigned to Individual Ready Reserve for any reason are not eligible for Army Tuition Assistance.
Which Education Programs Will Army TA Cover?
Tuition assistance can be used to complete a high school diploma, certificate programs, or degree programs. Soldiers may earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree--including professional degrees such as juris doctor degrees awarded by law schools. TA also covers remedial and college preparatory courses, but it cannot be used toward a doctoral degree.
Soldiers must progressively advance in their education to continue using Tuition Assistance. This means that a solider cannot complete two bachelor's degrees in a row or earn a lower level degree such as an associate's degree after a bachelor's degree.
What Costs Does Army TA Cover?
Army TA pays for 100 percent of tuition and some fees up to a $250 per semester hour with a cap of $4,500 per fiscal year. There is no lifetime limit, and soldiers may take advantage of this benefit for as long as they remain eligible. There is also no restriction on the mode of delivery of the instruction, meaning that Army TA can pay for online degree programs as well as traditional on-campus programs. To qualify for TA, the fees must be associated with individual classes and not institutional fees such as medical fees, transcript fees or matriculation fees.
There are a number of situations under which TA is not authorized. For example, Army TA cannot be used for courses that a servicemember previously took, even if a course has to be repeated because the credits aren't transferable. A complete list of exceptions can be found in Army Regulation 621.5-6.
How to Request Army Tuition Assistance
To request Army TA, soldiers must submit request through GoArmyEd. Requests must be submitted prior to the course's start date or before the end of late registration. Servicemembers requesting assistance must sign the Statement of Understanding for Use with Army Tuition Assistance, which the commanding officer signs and updates annually.
Servicemembers need to request TA each time they decide to take a course. After 9 semester hours of TA, soldiers must have a documented degree plan that notes the requirements to meet their educational goals. After completing 15 semester hours, soldiers enrolled in classes with Army TA must maintain a GPA of 2.0. If a class is dropped, the fees that were covered by TA must be repaid. If the withdrawal from the class is due to a deployment or other military reason, servicemembers must request a "Withdrawal for Military Reasons" via GoArmyEd in order to avoid having to repay the Tuition Assistance fees.