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Navy Tuition Assistance (TA)

The more a soldier knows, the greater his or her value to the servicemen and women in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and other military branches. Navy Tuition Assistance is an education assistance program that upholds the belief that every sailor should have the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

Navy TA helps active-duty sailors work toward a higher education by providing funding for tuition, while the sailor studies on his or her off-duty hours. Navy Tuition Assistance can provide funding for 100 percent of the tuition of accredited college courses. There are a few limits to Navy TA coverage, however:

  • A maximum of 16 semester hours, or 25 quarter hours, may be pursued annually
  • Cost maximums are $250.00 per semester hour or $166.67 per quarter hour
  • Total tuition may not exceed more than $4,500 per year
  • Mandatory fees for courses are covered, although optional fees are not

If Navy Tuition Assistance benefits are used toward completing a high school diploma or its equivalent, these financial limits do not apply. The Navy-TA program covers the entire cost.

If Navy TA does not cover an institution's entire tuition, eligible sailors may elect to use portions of their GI Bill, through the "Top-Up" program. Navy tuition assistance does not cover books or other study materials.

What Types of Schools and Courses Will Navy TA Cover?

Sailors can take traditional classroom courses at local or on-base colleges, or they can enroll in online or distance learning courses. Courses can be of any length. Previous regulations preventing sailors from taking distance learning courses of greater than 24 weeks in length no longer apply. Navy TA will only fund courses which apply to an educational plan filed with the Navy by the student. It will not cover the same course twice.

Who Is Eligible for Navy Tuition Assistance?

Both enlisted sailors and officers are eligible to apply for Navy Tuition Assistance. Enlisted sailors do not incur any additional obligation. Officers must serve at least 2 years following the completion of a course of study, or repay any tuition assistance used during the 2 years prior to leaving the U.S. Navy.

In order to enroll in Naval Tuition Assistance, sailors must apply at their base Navy College Office or Marine Corps Education Center for mandatory educational counseling. This counseling covers the details of tuition assistance, including determining whether a CLEP/DSST test could substitute for a given course. These tests are free-of-charge to active duty personnel, and are accepted for college credit by most universities.

The college office or education center will provide an application form, which must be filled out and returned to the office. Once authorized, the student receives a voucher to provide to the school for payment of the courses. The Navy is currently transitioning to make the entire process electronic. Contact the college office or education center to find out more about the process.

Navy TA: Repayments and Expiration Dates

If a student needs to drop or change a course funded by tuition assistance, it is important to do so before the school's "add/drop" date. Failure to drop a course after the add/drop date means the student will be required to repay the funds for that course, quarter, or semester. To avoid the repayment requirement, all withdrawals must be officially completed through the school the sailor was scheduled to attend. The student must also reimburse the government for the cost of any courses he fails to pass, or for which he receives an incomplete. Withdrawals due to medical emergencies or military duties usually do not require reimbursement.

It is important for sailors to know they must apply for Navy Tuition Assistance before the start date of the course. Have all of the information for a course available when applying for Navy tuition assistance. Students will also need to show transcripts for all previous TA-funded college courses, when applying for new ones.

Contact the Navy College Office or Marine Corps Education Center on your military base with any additional questions you have about Navy TA. Pursue higher education now, reap the career rewards for life.

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