Tuition assistance changes to take effect for 2014
Beginning Jan. 1, there will be a cap on the number of semester hours that can be taken using Tuition Assistance, and tighter TA eligibility rules.
Soldiers will be able to use TA one year after graduating from initial entry training, known as IET, said Brig. Gen. David. K. MacEwen, adjutant general of the Army, Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky.
Also, Soldiers can take up to 16 semester hours per fiscal year. And, he continued, TA can be used for a post-baccalaureate degree after completing 10 years of military service. If a Soldier earned a BA degree without using TA, then they do not need to wait 10 years to use TA for a post-baccalaureate degree.
This policy affects all Soldiers in the active and Reserve components.
Based on current participation rates, Dr. Pamela
L. Raymer, director, Army Continuing Education System, forecasted the number of Soldiers impacted as follows:
Those who would have used TA with less than one year’s service after IET: 4,030 active, 3,017 Army National Guard and 1,216 Army Reserve. Soldiers who would normally have taken more than 16 semester hours per year: 20,271 active, 6,206 Guard and 12,007 Reserve. Soldiers with less than 10 years’ service pursuing postbaccalaureate degrees: 1,315 active, 220 Guard and 367 Reserve.
Other TA policy from 2013 will remain in effect next year, she said, including allowing Soldiers to use up to $250 per semester hour.
The cap of 130 semester hours for baccalaureate degree completion and 39 semester hours for a master’s degree remains in effect. This course- work must be from the Soldier’s approved degree plan in GoArmyEd, a plan Soldiers develop with their education counselor and their home school, she said.
Also remaining in effect, Raymer said, is that TA cannot be used for a second, equivalent degree. For instance, if a Soldier has a master’s degree, he or she can’t use TA for a second master’s degree.
Soldiers still cannot use TA for their “first professional degree.” Such degrees include Ph.D, MD and JD. The Department of Education categorizes these degrees as “firstprofessional” degrees. Army has fully-funded education programs that support these degree programs.
Soldiers who have been flagged for adverse action or failure of the Army physical fitness test or weight standards will not be able to use TA, she continued.
Soldiers may also continue using TA for non- degree language courses published on the Defense Department’s Strategic Language List as “immediate investment” or “emerging” languages. TA cannot be used for “enduring languages.” To see this list of languages, see a unit education advisor.
Finally, TA is authorized for one post-secondary certificate or diploma such as welding or computer certification. And, TA can continue to be used for courses leading to initial teacher certification programs.
Soldiers who are precluded from using TA or limited by the number of semester hours they’re eligible to take can, nonetheless, use their GI Bill education benefits.