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Tuition Assistance:
A Key Part of Your Total Education Package

- As of November 2019 -

One of the best educational benefits offered to Active Duty personnel is Tuition Assistance (TA). It allows service members to begin pursuing their degree programs while still on Active Duty and keep GI Bill funds intact for use after they leave the service.


Directed by the Department of Defense (DoD), tuition assistance provides funds to cover tuition expenses. Some basic requirements exist program-wide, but each branch can establish their own rules. For this reason, you’ll want to check with your branch for specific requirements through your local Education Office.


*Important Note*

All members of the armed forces that have been on active duty for more than 30 days are eligible to receive IN-STATE tuition at public universities in the state that you are permanently stationed.  This is also extended to your spouse and dependent children.

If the active duty member is reassigned, the in-state tuition rate will continue so long as the member is continuously enrolled

The fundamental points of tuition assistance are:


  • The institution or school must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and have agreed to the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding

  • TA pays for tuition only, not books or fees

  • Benefit can be for in-classroom or distance learning courses

  • TA pays $250 per semester hour, with an annual cap of $4,500 (except for the Coast Guard, see specific information below)

  • Service members must be in good standing to be eligible (for example: passing Physical Fitness scores, meet height and weight standards, etc.)

  • TA will pay for courses that are part of an approved degree plan (it won’t pay for courses that aren’t needed for your degree)

  • TA funds are approved for degrees up to and including master’s level (only one degree at each level)

  • Students must maintain passing grades or will be subject to paying back TA

    • C or higher and overall GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate courses

    • B or higher and overall GPA of 3.0 for graduate courses

  • Students who voluntarily withdraw from a course after the school’s established withdraw deadline will have to pay back funds issued for that course

  • Students with an Incomplete grade will also need to pay back TA


Top-Up Program


The Top-Up Program makes up the difference for tuition funds not covered by TA. Students who are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill can apply to the Top-Up Program when their tuition costs are higher than the $250 per semester hour/$4,500 annual rate. The VA will pay the difference, and that amount will be deducted from the student’s overall authorized GI Bill benefits amount. This benefit can be used for up to 36 months. 


Click HERE to learn more about the VA Tuition Assistance Top Up program

Branch Specific information for Tuition Assistance

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Army Active Duty officers will incur a service obligation of two years after their last class paid by tuition assistance. Reserve Component officers will have a four-year Reserve Duty Service Obligation.


Tuition Assistance will pay for a total of 130 semester hours for undergraduate studies and 39 semester hours for graduate studies.


To Apply: Visit the GoArmyEd site, read the detailed info, and look for the “New Students Create GoArmyEd Account section.

Air Force officers will have a two-year Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) after completion of their last class.

Note - Reserve component officers incur a Reserve duty Service Obligation of 4 years.


Tuition Assistance can be used for up to 124 semester hours for undergraduate studies and 42 semester hours for graduate studies.


If a student is inactive in their studies for one year, they must see an academic adviser for counseling before using TA again.

To Apply: log into the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC)


Here is a link to’s 6 step process

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Active Duty Navy officers will have a two-year service obligation. Reserve officers have a two-year Active Duty service obligation.


The Navy will pay a lifetime limit of 120 semester hours total.

To Apply: Log in and complete a TA Application in WebTA

A Marine must serve 24 months before being eligible for TA. This can be waived to 18 months by an O-5 for outstanding Marines. First-time applicants can only take one course unless they’ve already completed 60 credits or have an associate degree. Additionally, they must take the Marine Corps Institute Personal Finance Management Course prior to TA approval.


Marines cannot take more than two TA funded courses at a time.


Officers will have a two-year service obligation.


To Apply: Log in and complete a TA Application in WebTA

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The Coast Guard pays $250 per semester hour with a $2,250 annual cap. The lifetime amount is 130 semester hours for undergraduate studies and 40 semester hours for graduate studies. Reserve Coast Guardsmen on Active Duty orders of 180 days or more are eligible. Back-to-back orders do not count for eligibility. 


To Apply: Go to the Education and Training Quota Management Command (ETOC website)

For more great information we recommend checking out the Defense Activity Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) site.

*Written in Coordination with Heather, Retired Army Veteran*

We would love to hear from you!

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