Reserve Tuition Assistance (TA)
Some service branches offer the Reserve Tuition Assistance program to their traditional servicemembers. Because each Armed Forces branch may choose how to administer its own Reserve TA program, each program is slightly different from the others.
The Armed Forces Reserve includes branches of the:
- Army Reserve (USAR)
- Navy Reserve (USNR)
- Marine Reserve (USMCR)
- Air Force Reserve (USAFR)
- Coast Guard Reserve (USCGR)
The reserve branches offering tuition assistance generally stay with the DoD guidelines of:
- Up to 100 percent coverage for tuition up to $250 per semester hour, or $166 per quarter hour
- $4,500 maximum annual fiscal year (1 October-30 September) cap per reserve member
Reserve members authorized to use the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the Post-9/11 GI Bill can also use the Tuition Top-Up program to pay for tuition costs exceeding what tuition assistance will pay.
The dollar amount paid using Top-Up is converted to months and days by the VA and that amount is deducted from the servicemember's GI Bill entitlements. The Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) however, is not available for use by the Top-Up program.
Reserve Tuition Assistance Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for Reserve TA funding, members must:
- be a drilling reservist in good standing.
- declare an educational goal by the 9th credit hour for USAFR and 15th credit hour for USAR.
- pursue an educational goal higher than current credential level.
- be able to complete the course under their current term of service or reenlist (for enlisted and warrant officers).
- have at least four years of remaining service obligation from the date of course completion (for commissioned officers).
Army Reserve (USAR)
The Army Reserve offers tuition assistance to its servicemembers because helping further reservists' post-secondary education both enhances promotional opportunities for soldiers and in the end, makes for a stronger and more relevant Army Reserve force. Voluntary education enhances professional and personal development and differs from military education, which enhances a soldiers' Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).
For USAR officers pursuing a bachelor's degree, the Reserve Tuition Assistance program will pay 75 percent of tuition costs up to $250 per credit semester hour or $166 per credit quarter hour, with a $4,500 annual fiscal year cap.
Interested Army Reservists may submit tuition assistance applications by going online and using their AKO login and password.
Navy Reserve (USNR)/Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR)
Both the Navy and Marine Corps Reserves do not currently offer their traditional servicemembers tuition assistance. However, once called to active duty, Marines and sailors fall under the Federal Tuition Assistance program of their active duty counterparts for the duration of the activation.
Air Force Reserve (USAFR)
The Air Force Reserve offers its service members several voluntary education programs to support the professional and personal goals of its members.
For undergraduate degrees, the USAFR offers Reserve Tuition Assistance at the DoD guidelines, however for master's degrees, funding is limited to a maximum of 75 percent of the DoD guidelines. Airmen pursuing an associate's degree in their primary Air Force job, through the Community College of the Air Force, are exempt from the progressive education level requirement.
Reserve airman can apply for tuition assistance by going to the Air Force Reserve Portal, clicking on the "tuition assistance" link, and following the on-screen instructions.
Coast Guard Reserve (USCGR)
The active duty Coast Guard integrated with its reserve branch under "Team Coast Guard" so Coast Guard Reservists access their educational programs the same as their active duty brethren--through the Coast Guard Institute. To apply for tuition assistance, all Coast Guard members go to the Coast Guard Institute website and click on:
- CGI Form;
- Tuition Assistance;
- CG Form 4147, and follow the instructions for the filling out the form.
Even though the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, they use the same DoD guidelines as the other reserve branches offering Reserve TA.
Reserve Tuition Assistance funding is dependent on having money in the budget. Once the money is depleted for the fiscal year, TA funding stops until money becomes available again.