The program of Air Force tuition assistance is still available in 2020, and in fact, it is among the best methods to pay for your expenses relevant to higher education. You should visualize this program as the opposite of the loan forgiveness program of the Air Force. While the student loan forgiveness program of the Air Force is designed to cancel your already accumulated debt, Air Force TA pays for your higher education expenses before they become a debt.
You can use Air Force TA for personal and professional education costs only. Yet, not everyone can benefit from it. Likewise, it does not cover all types of educational expenses.
You will be able to cover up to 100% of tuition and charges for courses through TA. That being said, it does not come without a drawback. The number of credit hours is the decisive factor in the allocation of TA payments for your studies. At the same time, the program will pay for a limited number of credit hours every year. It is worth mentioning that there will be a fiscal year amount that you will receive from this program.
In case you are eligible for TA, the program will fund your tuition and charges until certain limits. To be more precise, it is $4,500 for a fiscal year, $250 for an hour in a semester, and $166.67 for an hour per quarter.
Further, keep in mind that you will only qualify to obtain around $4,500 for the whole fiscal year. And that period happens to be between 1 October and 30 September. In accordance with this information, I advise you to be careful with your planning. Just keep in mind that you will have to spend it in a way that it is enough till you get the next payment.
That being said, I should also remind you that you can leverage TA finance for tuition and other related costs necessary for enrollment in your courses.
Lastly, do not forget that you will not receive the TA funding in the form of cash. In other words, you will be unable to use it for paying the above-mentioned expenses. It will be sent directly to the school you study at.
As mentioned above, Air Force tuition assistance is designed to cover only tuition fees and other related fees. However, you can cover some additional expenses through this source. The list that TA will cover includes tuition, computer charges, enrollment charges, lab charges, and other necessary fees.
The answer to this question heavily depends on the school you choose to go to. In general, it is quite likely that this amount would not be enough to manage all your expenses for a year. What I suggest you do in such a case is to apply for other educational funding programs. More precisely, there is Yellow Ribbon, the Top-Up program for tuition assistance, and more scholarships to get some more financing.
To be frank, I do not see a reason for you to spend your own money for this purpose. Military people can benefit from numerous funding programs relevant to education.
Both officers and recruited military personnel can benefit from the tuition assistance Air Force. Yet, there are specific criteria to be eligible to access them. Speaking of recruited military personnel, they have to possess a service commitment that goes beyond the finish date of all courses financed by this program. Officers, on the other hand, have to possess a full-time military service that continues for a minimum of two years from the end date of the final course that TA finances.
When applying for this assistance program, one nuance you should keep in your mind is about the schools that are eligible. Note that not all educational institutions are available for the assistance program of the Air Force. That said, the majority of universities and colleges owning a national or regional accreditation will do the job. At the same time, most technical schools and vocational ones will be eligible, as well.
The rule regarding this part of the program is the institution you select to use the funding at, has to have an accreditation from an entity that the Education Department recognizes.
But there is no need to check the list of the schools with a qualifying accreditation. When you fill out the form on the site of Air Force, you will have the chance to know whether your institution is eligible for Air Force tuition assistance.
So, when you fill out the form, you will be required to select the school from a list. Obviously, you may not come across the name of the school you are looking for. In this case, the application process may become a little complicated. Thus, you will have to implement it by yourself in your military base.
Still, my personal recommendation is different in this regard. Do not forget that any institution that does not appear in that menu does not have accreditation. And that means this school is pretty much behind the times. That is why, I advise you to apply to another school if such a situation occurs.
You need to be aware of the programs that are eligible for Air Force tuition assistance. Well, bear in mind that all the high school programs, equivalency programs, and General Education Diploma programs are eligible for it. Nevertheless, higher education programs are the ones that are chosen by most of the personnel to leverage their Air Force tuition assistance funding.
Also, I have got good news for you here. All degree programs, certification programs, and college-level curriculums are eligible for TA financing. The only requirement here is they have to be provided by an eligible institution.
Another positive side of this funding program is the way you take the classes does not make any difference. So, you can take fully online courses. Particular provisions allow distant schooling possible for students. Likewise, it is possible to be enrolled in a traditional classroom course.
One of the best aspects of Air Force teaching assistance is the possibility to complete the whole application process online. All you have to do is to go to the Air Force Virtual Education Center. I will explain all these steps you should complete after that.
First, you have to generate a username and password. If you have already signed up, you just need to use your current credentials.
Next, you have to go to the application for the tuition assistance program. Here, you have to line up the motives for which you want to use this funding. For instance, you may say you want to acquire new skills which will be useful in your current work. Or you can say something that will be beneficial to the military in general. So, try to write something rational.
Afterward, you will have to select the school you want to use this financing. That specific institution may not be available in the list provided. In this case, what you will have to do is to go to the education office of the military base you serve at. There you will have to fill out the printed version of the application manually.
In the next step of applying for Air Force tuition assistance, you will have to note the start and finish date of the course term for which you want to leverage the tuition assistance. Bear in mind that it should not be the beginning and finish date of the course. It has to be the course term. The reason why I emphasize this nuance is in some cases, these may differ from each other.
As the next step, you will have to write about the course information based on the pre-provided curriculum list. You will have to write them manually in case they are unavailable there: these data feature date, course number, and more.
You will have to add courses until reaching the point when you see all of them you are planning to take on the list. Also, you may want to take classes from several institutions. In this case, you will have to fill out another application form containing those courses.
In the next step of tuition assistance Air Force, you have to select your registration charges from the provided list. Later, you need to confirm all the data you have provided correctly. Once you confirm it, you can now submit the application form. As soon as you do it, an email will come to your address, stating that they have received it.
Your request may or may not be approved. In case it is approved, you will receive a form where you will notice the digital signature of the person approving it alongside your digital signature. Once you receive it, make sure you send it to your educational institution. Here you almost complete the procedure. Still, when everything is done, ensure you are in touch with the education office of your base. By this, you will be aware of any modifications regarding your education. For example, a course you take may be canceled. Or you may want to drop a class. In any of such cases, you will have to closely interact with them to ensure all the processes are done accordingly. If you do not act carefully enough, you may be required to refund the finance you have been provided as the Air Force will think you have wasted it.
One of the nuances that you must be aware of before applying for the Air Force tuition assistance program is about grades. So, you will be required to finish all the classes that are financed with the TA program in a successful way. Here, success means a minimum of C for undergraduate classes. For graduate classes, this grade has to be B.
As you understand, you will be demanded to return the finance to the Air Force if you get C, D, or F in graduate classes. The same case will apply if you receive D or F in undergraduate classes.
Moreover, you will have to report your grades within 90 days once the term finishes. Otherwise, the office of central tuition assistance will start the refund process due to missing marks. And when the refund process starts, it cannot be ceased.
In a nutshell, as you know, you will have to sign the application form for tuition assistance. This form will authorize the Air Force to deduct the reimbursement amount from your military salary in such a case. More precisely, failure to finish a course, receiving unsatisfactory marks, and failing to report scores will lead there.
Air Force tuition assistance is still one of the best methods for military people to pay for their higher education expenses. But as you see, there are a lot of nuts and bolts of this program. To sum up, ensure that $4,500 will suffice for your entire year of studies. If it does not, make sure you look for other programs for financial support so that you do not use your own money. Also, make sure you get familiar with eligibility requirements attentively. Do not forget to choose a program and a school that qualifies for tuition assistance Air Force. Lastly, keep in mind that lower grades may force you to reimburse the funding you have received. And it is the last thing you want to happen with this program.
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