The Army has made some changes regarding the army tuition assistance program. With new updates, they aim to make sure that the Army is more focused on training and military readiness rather than college classes. The qualification criteria became stricter than it was before. Of course, military personnel still have a chance to get aid and pursue his/her educational goals—however, this time, their knowledge will be deeply tested for eligibility. The most recent update was published in June, 2018. It seems that significant changes are coming in the following years regarding the Army Tuition assistance program. Not everyone is happy with the objective of these new changes, though the Army states that military readiness is far more critical than some college education. So, let’s dive into what the Tuition assistance army offers and analyze qualifications while giving you some tips about the application process.
The Following rates that you can find below are for the 2019 fall semester. For now, it can be said that there are no changes regarding the rates or limits from FY.
The Department of Defense is working on new campaigns to help military personnel get educational benefits. For now, rates can be different for each branch of the Army. However, a standard feature for all of them is the total price of the tuition aid, which is $4500 per year at maximum. How are the rates calculated? In general, the Army grants $250 for one credit hour, and military personnel have the chance to get up to 16 credit hours per semester. In some of the branches such as the Air Force, servicers have slightly more generous benefits rather than Army soldiers, etc.
Army TA offers several benefits to military personnel and grants over thousands of dollars to eligible candidates. As long as the personnel are on active duty, they will have a chance to apply for this program. The profession of the personnel does not matter for this case. For instance, whether you are an Army National Guard Officer, Warrant Officer, or Enlisted Personnel, you can still use the Army reserve tuition assistance. It can be confusing sometimes, so let’s highlight the differences between Army TA and SLRP. The Army TA pays for the credit hours and college subjects that you haven’t taken yet, while Student Loan Forgiveness Program covers the courses and credits that you have already taken. To get the maximum benefit while you are on active duty, it is recommended to apply for both programs and use the available offers.
There are some speculations about the cancellation of the Army TA. Though, they are not valid (at least for this year). It would be better if you applied for the program as soon as possible because who knows, maybe next semester, Army tuition benefits would not be available. Those speculations rooted in the speech of Sgt. Mayor of the Army -Raymond Chandler. He stated that the program (Army TA) is costly to handle, and that is why there should be some updates regarding the case. The likelihood of availability of the Army TA is in question, as it can be either canceled, or the eligibility criteria may get harsher. One thing is for sure though; as you wait for submitting the application, your chances of getting an advantage from this program will slowly decline.
Unless it is authorized by the Department of Defense Instruction 1322.25, the tuition assistance program will not pay specific fees. Which ones? For example, the Army TA will not cover expenses regarding:
One of the most significant changes regarding the Army TA was the eligibility criteria. The old rules for the soldiers were:
Students (soldiers) should complete one year AIT (Advanced Individual Training) by the time they apply for army TA.
Students could use this program for Graduate level education unless they used it for a bachelor’s degree. If they studied a 4year bachelor’s degree with Army TA benefits, then those soldiers need to wait until they have at least ten years of experience in active duty service.
New updates on the case removed the time in Service as an eligibility rule. Though, they added another one regarding the PME. The soldier could be eligible to apply to Army tuition assistance only if he/she completed the Professional Military Education prior to the submission time. Why? As we mentioned before, the Army is more concerned about the military readiness of the soldier rather than their academic life. So, by attending Professional Military Education courses, students will be able to meet the military readiness rule. There are two different criteria for eligibility- tier 1 and tier 2.
Tier 1 soldiers: this segment applies to those services who are trying to study their first bachelor’s degree or the ones that studied their first bachelor’s degree without Army tuition assistance and now want to pursue a Master’s Degree.
This segment applies to those soldiers who studied their bachelor’s degree with an Army reserve tuition assistance army and now want to pursue a Master’s Degree.
The following passage applies to all the soldiers who want to pursue a bachelor/master’s degree.
There are other programs from which students can get the aid for acquiring these degrees; that is why Army TA is not offering that option.
The soldiers should be ready for reimbursement in case they fail to complete a course successfully.
The time in service is another requirement that soldiers should meet. For instance, if a soldier decides to leave the Army in 2 years, and he did not have enough time left on his service contact, he cannot use this program. You have a service obligation with the Army, if you decide to use the Tuition Assistance.
Active Duty Soldiers sign ADSO (active duty service obligation) minimum for two year
Reserve Component soldiers sign RDSO (Reserve Duty Service Obligation) minimum of 4 years
So, that means whether it is ADSO or RDSO, the soldier should work for (2/4 years for respective obligation) after completing their degree.
As we already mentioned, Tuition assistance provides soldiers with $4000 per year. You can get 250 dollars per SH and $166 per Quarter CH. 130 bachelor and 39 graduate SH can be included in your program. In order not to spend much from your pocket money, we recommend you to choose wisely when it comes to colleges. It is better to attend public colleges because their tuition fee is considerably lower than in private schools.
The very aim of the Army TA is to assist soldiers in pursuing educational goals by prioritizing attending voluntary off-duty self-development. What does it mean?
That means, if a soldier wants to attend schools for a bachelor’s, master’s degree, and build his career post-military, the Army helps them to cover the costs partially. It only covers the mandatory fees regarding the individual course enrollment. Other than that, you will not be able to use Army TA for other purposes. The excellent news for soldiers is the availability of tuition assistance for both in-person and online courses. So, you can enroll in classes and remotely complete your degree as well.
The process is not that hard to understand. If you want to study in college, which participates in the Army TA program, it is pretty easy to go through the process.
First, you need to send a request to the Army regarding the case. You can go to the www.GoArmyEd.com to notify them. You need to do this prior to the time when the semester starts. Do not be late because regardless of the excuse, you will not be able to get Army TA. So, the first part is very crucial.
Teaching Assistance requests should include the course by course details. You need to choose the courses and mention them on the application. Try to write it carefully because if there would be any error regarding the course code or name, you will not be able to get the benefit.
From the same website, you can check whether or not you get the approval. Go Army Ed will also send you emails regarding the results. Besides that, they will provide you with detailed analysis of why your application is approved/denied and give advice regarding the corrections for the next time.
In these types of cases, soldiers need to go to the GoArmyEd website and do all the necessary procedures from there. In that case, the soldier is responsible for paying the required amount by him/herself. The only exception for withdrawal and drop of the class can be Military reasons. If you have legitimate military purposes, and that is why you are withdrawing from course, you need to submit another request regarding that. You need to complete all the steps that GoArmyEd suggests. Otherwise, you will be charged for the tuition fee for that particular semester. The process can take some time and resources. That is why it is better to enroll in those courses which you can complete.
It is another subject that you need to be aware of about army Tuition assistance. If you would like to attend another school, it is fine, but you need to meet the eligibility criteria and apply through the GoArmyEd specifying the issue. You need to find an application form regarding that matter, fill it, and submit to the Army website. After that, your application will go to the Army Education Counselor, where they will assess the case and decide whether or not it is possible. You will get an email regarding the updates on the case. If you can get approval, you need to print it out and head to the school where you want to enroll and give that document to the registered office.
Student soldiers are obliged to submit a signed copy of the Tuition assistant application every year. If your rank is below E7, then you need to approach your commander so that he can sign it. Though, if your military rank is higher than E7, then there is no need for the signature of the commander. Besides that, you need to continually check your emails regarding the updates because the signed application needs to be submitted to the GoArmyEd before 90 days left until the deadline.
For the army soldiers who are not eligible for Army tuition assistance, other programs are available. The Department of Defense provides soldiers with credit examination tests that they can use to get enrolled in some colleges. Other than that, you can find education benefits programs such as Military scholarship, Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, and more. There are various possibilities. So, do not lose hope in cases where you do not qualify for a particular program and search for available options.