Tuition Assistance Program
The Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) Program is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has authorized each service to pay up to 100 percent of the tuition expenses of its members.
Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process, and restrictions. TA money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.
Additionally, active-duty members may elect to use the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) "top-up" in addition to their service-provided TA to cover high-cost courses.
TA is not a loan; is money you have earned, just like your base pay.
Soldiers can request TA and enroll in courses online. This will assist in expediting the enrollment process and minimize wait times at Army Education Centers. Soldiers will request TA online through the ACES portal called GoArmyEd.
The maximum amount paid for tuition assistance: 100% Tuition and Fees
Not to exceed:
- $250 @ Semester Credit Hour, or
- $166 @ Quarter Credit Hour, and
- $4500 @ Fiscal Year
Ninety percent of servicemembers enter the armed forces for the educational benefits. However, only 50 percent actually use their educational benefits.
The Army offers active duty soldiers several programs to support their education goals including 100% Tuition Assistance for college courses taken during off-duty hours.
The program is open to all soldiers (officers, warrant officers, enlisted) on active duty, and Army National Guard and Army Reserve on active duty.
The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of a Soldier's professional and personal self-development goals. All Active Duty Soldiers (officers, warrant officers, enlisted) are authorized to participate in the TA program through the GoArmyEd portal (subject to qualifying criteria). This includes members of the Active Guard Reserve, as well as Reserve Component Soldiers who are activated under U.S. Code Title 10 or Title 32.
Tuition Assistance Provisions
The Department of Defense (DoD) has directed a uniform TA fiscal policy across the military services. Currently (Dec 05), the established semester hour cap is $250 and each Soldier has an annual ceiling of $4,500. The Army will pay 100 percent of the tuition and authorized fees charged by a college up to the established semester hour cap and annual ceiling.
Authorized fees covered by TA are mandatory fees that are associated with an individual course enrollment. Non-reimbursable fees and fees that are not linked to individual course enrollments (e.g., application fees, graduation fees) are not covered by TA. Further details on fees and the provisions of TA are found in AR 621-5. http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r621_5.pdf
Tuition Assistance Coverage
TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning. The courses must be offered by colleges that are accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A list of approved accrediting agencies may be found at www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html#NationallyRecognized.
In addition to degree programs, TA is available to Soldiers to complete a high school diploma and to complete certificate programs. However, TA will not be approved to complete credentials at the same or a lower educational level than that which the Soldier already holds. TA is not authorized for programs beyond the master’s degree.
Tuition Assistance Eligibility
Most Soldiers qualify for TA. Details of exceptions are found in AR 621-5.
By law, officers incur an Active Duty service obligation (ADSO) of two years when they use TA. The ADSO is calculated from the date of completion of the last course for which TA was used.
TA is available to all Army components. However, TA is funded separately for the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. Each of these components has its own procedures for obtaining TA. Activated Reserve Component Soldiers and the Active Guard Reserve receive TA and other education support from Regular Army (Active Duty) resources and should use the GoArmyEd portal to access TA. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers in drilling status do not access TA through the GoArmyEd portal and should refer to the following Web sites for information on obtaining TA:
The USAR WEBS site is: https://www.armyreserveeducation.com
The NGB iMARC site is: https://www.nationalguardbenefits.com
Non-Army servicemembers must obtain TA through their own Service. This policy has been mutually agreed upon by all Services.
Tuition Assistance Procedures - Initial
1. All TA for Active Duty Soldiers must be requested through the GoArmyEd portal. The first step is for the Soldier to obtain a username and password via the GoArmyEd public Web site: www.goarmyed.com.
2. The next step is to establish the educational goal. In order to obtain TA, the Soldier must declare a specific degree/credential as an educational goal and obtain a degree map. TA will only be approved for courses that are listed on the degree map or lead to the goal. Soldiers should review their personal goals and look at information available on the GoArmyEd portal.
3. We strongly recommend that Soldiers take the GoArmyEd training course, which is available on the portal.
4. The Soldier should print the TA Statement of Understanding (SOU) from the GoArmyEd portal, sign it, and obtain a signature from the Unit Commander. The TA SOU should be submitted to the Soldier’s Army Education Center. The Army Education Center can be identified via the "Points of Contact" link in GoArmyEd. The TA SOU will be uploaded into the Soldier’s eFile by the counselor. The Soldier may submit the TA SOU in person at the Education Center, by email, by regular mail, or by fax.
5. Soldiers must contact an Education Center counselor for validation of their chosen educational goal and activation of the Soldier’s access to the TA functionality of the GoArmyEd portal.
Tuition Assistance Procedures - Ongoing
1. Soldiers request TA through GoArmyEd, which is accessible from any computer with Internet access.
2. TA is requested on a course-by-course basis.
3. GoArmyEd will notify the Soldier whether the TA is approved or rejected. If the TA request is rejected, GoArmyEd will advise the Soldier of the reason and on next steps.
4. All withdrawals must take place through the GoArmyEd portal. Soldiers who receive an "F" grade will be required to repay TA. Soldiers who are unable to complete a course due to military duties must ensure that they withdraw from the course through GoArmyEd to ensure that they will not be charged.
5. If the Soldier wishes to use TA to take a class with a college that does not participate in the electronic course upload, registration, invoicing, and grade submission processes of GoArmyEd, the TA requests must be made using the Reimbursement Request Process. A reimbursement request form must be completed in GoArmyEd. It will be routed to an Army Education Counselor to be manually reviewed and approved. Soldiers should allow extra time for this. If approved for TA, the Soldier will be notified by email. Soldiers must print the approved TA Reimbursement Form from GoArmyEd and enroll in the class directly with the college. The Soldier will self-pay for the class. Reimbursement for these courses will be made directly to the Soldier, rather than the college. Soldiers must ensure that the college submits grades to the Army for the class to recieve TA reimbursement from the Army.
6. Soldiers must submit a new, signed TA SOU annually. No further TA will be approved until an Army Education Counselor has verified the receipt of the TA SOU.
7. Further details regarding TA procedures are outlined in the GoArmyEd Training which is accessible by clicking the Training link from the GoArmyEd homepage after logging into the portal.
The Army Continuing Education System has launched a new automated tuition assistance project. The TA automation will allow active duty soldiers to request TA and enroll in courses online. This will speed up the enrollment process and minimize wait times at Army Education Centers. Active Duty soldiers are now able to request TA online through GoArmyEd.
The New Online Application Process
The following key points and GoArmyEd procedures are now in effect:
- If you were enrolled in the eArmyU program and have maintained the minimum standard Army TA grade point average of 2.0 you will automatically have access to the new system.
- If you have received tuition assistance with a passing grade since 1 October, 2004 you will receive an invitation in your Army Knowledge Online email account to obtain a login/password for the new website.
- In order for you to obtain TA for classes starting 1 May, 2006 and beyond, you must register on the GoArmyEd website – register for a login/password as soon as possible.
- If you are not in eArmyU, or you have not received an invitation through your AKO email, you must request a GoArmyEd login by choosing the “New Users” tab in the public view of GoArmyEd.com before requesting TA. The “New Users” tab will guide you through the processes necessary to obtain a login and establish an account.
- Obtaining a login/password does not obligate you to take eArmyU or any other college courses.
- You will choose your degree/certificate program and request TA online through www.GoArmyEd.com.
- Your record of previous courses and degree plan will be accessible online.
- TA eligibility checks will be automated. If TA is approved, a request for enrollment will be passed electronically to the school.
- If the TA request is disapproved, you will be notified about the stes you will need to take. Education Center personnel will be available to assist with resolving TA issues.
- You will need to get your Commander’s signature on a TA Statement of Understanding (SOU) each year. Sergeants First Class (SFC) and above may sign for themselves in place of the Commander. Each term you will need to recertify the TA SOU online.
- If you need to withdraw from class, the withdrawal must be done online through www.GoArmyEd.com. The withdrawal will be forwarded to the school.
- If you withdraw for personal reasons, the new system will initiate TA repayment procedures. Personal withdrawal reasons require you to repay the TA. Repayment will take place through an automated feed between the Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).
- If you withdraw for military reasons, you Unit Commander information will be required with the military reason for withdrawal. The request is subject to verification. If the military reason is approved, TA repayment will be waived.
- Remember that fraudulent requests for military reasons are subject to disciplinary action or criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
- All schools that have processed TA in the past with the Army will be listed in new system. Soldiers who choose to attend a school with courses listed in GoArmyEd will receive up front TA.
- If you choose to attend a school that does not have any courses available in the new system, you need to pay tuition directly to the school and request reimbursement. Authorized TA reimbursement will be paid through DFAS directly to your bank account after receipt of successful grade.
- A listing of schools that provide upfront TA are listed on the GoArmyEd website under the “Earn A Degree” link. Click on “Schools and Programs”.
Military-Friendly Online Education
Although the GI Bill provides money for education after you leave the service, you still can pursue your education while serving in the armed forces.
Credit for your Military Experience
Your military service likely has earned you college credit. Many schools and colleges award military students credit toward a degree based on training, coursework, and occupational specialty.
Military-Friendly Online Education
Officers' Benefits for Education
Junior officers and enlisted technicians with master's degrees are some of the most sought-after employees by corporate America. Over a lifetime, individuals with master's degrees earn 41 percent more than those with undergraduate degrees.
The Army Tuition Assistance (TA) Program provides financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of a soldier's professional and personal self-development goals. The program is open to all soldiers (officers, warrant officers, enlisted) on active duty, and Army National Guard and Army Reserve on active duty.
Here are some compelling reasons why military personnel should seriously consider continuing their education:
Those people with high school diplomas have a median annual income of $27,915; those with bachelor's degrees earn $51,206. A college graduate earns 45 percent more than a high school graduate.
Your military experience may have earned you college credit. The American Council on Education (ACE) has established guidelines for evaluating military credit. It is important that you find out if the college you want to attend will award military credit. (See below.)
Continuing education is more flexible than ever. Thirty years ago going to college part time was the exception today it is the rule. More than 60 percent of today's college students are part-time students, and 10 percent of all college students take online courses. Online education is becoming the wave of the future. A survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. revealed that 54 percent of working adults believe that college courses offered via the Internet are the future of higher education.