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Military Tuition Assistance Program

Benefit overview

If you’ve thought about going to college but didn’t know if you could afford it, then the Military Tuition Assistance program may be just the benefit you need. Pursuing a degree can be difficult personally and financially, but TA can lessen those concerns considerably.

How this benefit helps

TA pays up to 100% of tuition expenses for semester credit hours costing $250 or less per credit hour, or $166 per quarter hour, if your institution follows a quarter system. Degrees and programs of study covered include undergraduate and graduate programs, vocational/technical, distance learning and independent studies. An accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education must accredit the institution.

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Use tuition assistance to meet your educational and career goals

Continuing your education can help you achieve your career goals, both inside and outside the military.

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Use tuition assistance to save money while continuing your education

Military tuition assistance can save you thousands of dollars per year. Let the military help pay for your college!

How to access this benefit

Service members need to first check with an education counselor for the specifics involving TA by visiting their local installation education office or by going online to a virtual education center. Additionally, each service branch has its own application form and procedures. To find out how to get started, visit your local installation education center, go online to a virtual education center or click on the following links for each service branch:

Prior to your course enrollment, you may be required to develop an education plan or complete TA orientation. Be sure to keep the following important information in mind when you apply:

Military tuition assistance may only be used to pursue degree programs at colleges and universities in the United States that are regionally or nationally accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S Department of Education. A quick way to check the accreditation of a school is by visiting the Department of Education.

Your service’s education center must approve your military tuition assistance before you enroll in a course.

Frequently asked questions

Read below to find out more about TA eligibility, financial amounts, program restrictions and more.

All four service branches and the U.S. Coast Guard offer financial assistance for voluntary, off-duty education programs in support of service members’ personal and professional goals. The program is open to officers, warrant officers and enlisted active-duty service personnel. In addition, members of the National Guard and Reserve Components may be eligible for TA based on their service eligibility.

The TA program is a benefit that is available only while you’re in the service. To be eligible for TA, an enlisted service member must have enough time remaining in service to complete the course for which he or she has applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with – not in addition to – any existing service obligation.

The TA program may fund up to 100% of your college tuition and certain fees with the following limits:

  • Not to exceed $250 per semester credit hour or $166 per quarter credit hour
  • Not to exceed $4,500 per fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

While the TA program is offered by the services, the Department of Veterans Affairs administers a variety of education benefit programs. Some of the VA programs, such as the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, can work well with the TA program, as it can supplement fees not covered by TA.

The TA program is a benefit that is available only while you’re in the service. However, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® funds are available to you after you leave the military.

  • If your service ended before Jan. 1, 2013, you have 15 years to use this benefit.
  • If your service ended on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the benefit won’t expire.

Tuition assistance will cover the following expenses:

  • Tuition
  • Course-specific fees such as laboratory fee or online course fee

NOTE: All fees must directly relate to the specific course enrollment of the service member.

Tuition assistance does not cover the following expenses:

  • Books and course materials
  • Flight training fees
  • Taking the same course twice
  • Continuing education units, or CEUs

You will have to reimburse any TA funds already paid if any of the following situations occur:

  • Leaving the service before the course ends
  • Quitting the course for reasons other than personal illness, military transfer or mission requirements
  • Failing the course

The Tuition Assistance Top-Up program allows funds from the Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty or the Post-9/11 GI Bill® to be used for tuition and fees for high-cost courses that are not fully covered by TA funds.

  • Eligibility: To use the TA top-up, your service branch must approve you for TA. You also must be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® or the Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty.
  • Application: First apply for TA in accordance with procedures of your service branch. After you have applied for TA, you will need to complete VA Form 22-1990 to apply for Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits. The form is available online from the VA. Make sure you specify “top-up” on the application and mail it to one of the education processing offices listed on the form.

Aside from using the Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill® for items such as tuition and fees not covered by TA, there are other federal and state financial aid opportunities available to service members. The federal government provides $150 billion per year in grants, work-study programs and federal loans to college students.

This aid comes in several forms, including:

  • Need-based programs such as Pell grants, subsidized Stafford Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants and federal work/study programs
  • Low-interest loans through the federal government.

Visit Federal Student Aid to find out more or complete the online FAFSA® application at no cost to you. Updates to the FAFSA© form expand eligibility and streamline the application process.

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