Military Tuition Assistance & VA Education Benefits
If you’re looking for military tuition assistance information, you’ve come to the right place! The Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Program is one of several financial aid programs that may be available to qualifying military members—including some active duty, national guard and eligible reservists. If you qualify, TA could be an invaluable tool to help you fund your education.
Before we get into the specifics of the benefits and requirements for each military branch, let’s take a look at some common questions about military tuition assistance.
What’s the Difference Between Military TA and VA Education Benefits?
Tuition Assistance is a federal program offered by the different military service branches, while the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers a variety of different education benefit programs to qualifying servicemembers. Some programs, such as Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty (MGIB-AD) benefits or the Post-9/11 GI Bill ® can be used to supplement fees not covered by TA. While military TA is only offered to active duty military members, Post-9/11 GI Bill ® Funds are available to eligible veterans.
What kinds of degrees or certificates can I pursue with military TA benefits?
Different military branches maintain different guidelines (which you can find below) but generally speaking, you may apply TA benefits towards vocational/technical programs, undergraduate programs, some graduate programs, independent study and distance learning programs. The institution that you study at should be accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education.
Will I need to complete a service obligation if I use TA?
In order to qualify for TA, you must have enough time remaining in service to compete the course that you are applying for. Once you’ve completed the course, you must also fulfill an active duty service obligation that runs parallel with (but not in addition to) any existing service obligation you have.
Is there a limit as to how many courses I can take at once?
Yes. Your base's education officer can limit your course load. Also, keep in mind that TA is approved on a course-by-course basis. Each class you plan to take must be approved, even if taken during the same semester.
For more general information on military tuition assistance, visit: militaryonesource.mil/voluntary-education-service-members?content_id=268274
Army TA Information
The Army’s tuition assistance program was developed to provide financial assistance to active duty soldiers who are interested in furthering their professional and personal goals.
- TA is applicable towards degree programs, high school diplomas and certificate programs, but is not authorized for doctorate degrees
- Students may study approved courses online or on-campus
- The army will pay 100% of tuition and authorized fees costs, up to $250 per semester and $4,500 per fiscal year
- Soldiers must apply at GoArmyEd.com prior to the course start date or before the school’s late registration period to qualify
For more information on eligibility, visit: goarmyed.com/public/public_money_for_college-tuition_assistance.aspx
Air Force TA Information
The Air Force Tuition Assistance program is designed to help active-duty personnel pursue voluntary, off-duty educational endeavors.
- Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical
- Eligible students may attend two- or four-year institutions
- Both online and on-campus study is permitted
- Air Force TA currently pays 100% (up to $250 per semester hour) of the cost of tuition, with a cap of $4,500 per fiscal year
For more information on Navy benefits, visit: airforce.com/benefits/enlisted-education/
Marine TA Information
Marine Tuition Assistance is available to eligible active duty and active reserve marines who are looking to further their education.
- Recipients are eligible for up to $4,500 per fiscal year, with a cap of $250 per semester hour, $166.67 per quarter hour and $16.67 per clock hour
- TA only covers fees that are published, mandatory, charged for course enrollment, and reimbursable if you must withdraw from the course
- Students must attend institutions that are accredited by an accredited board recognized by the Department of Education
- TA authorization is required prior to enrolling in any course
For more information on qualifications, visit: marforres.marines.mil/GeneralSpecialStaff/MarineCorpsCommunityServices/MarineFamilyServices/LifelongLearingCenter/TuitionAssistance.aspx
Coast Guard TA Information
Tuition assistance is currently available to a select group of active duty Coast Guard Personnel
- The credit you earn for a course must be required for your degree program at a nationally or regionally accredited institution in order to qualify
- TA money goes directly to the institution, and must be requested before you pay tuition
- TA may only be applied toward undergrad courses, for up to six semester credits
- A maximum of $4,500 per fiscal year, $250 by semester hour or $166.67 per quarter cab be awarded.
- Click here to review the application process
For more information on qualifications, visit: uscg.mil/hq/capemay/education/ta.asp
Tuition Assistance Top-Up Program
Tuition Assistance Top-Up was developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help cover the difference for tuition and fees for high-cost courses that are not covered fully by TA funds.
To qualify for Top-Up, you must be approved for federal tuition assistance by your military branch, and you must also be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) benefits or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The combined amount of the benefit from TA and Top-Up cannot exceed the total cost of the course.
Click here to apply for Top-Up or other VA benefits.
For more information on the Top-Up Program, visit: gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/programs/tuition_assistance_top_up.html
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