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    Federal Tuition Assistance Explained: How you can use your tuition assistance education benefits



    Story by Spc. Danielle Gregory 

    123rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    PHOENIX - The GI Bill can provide a lot of money for college, but it doesn’t cover everything. Fortunately, the military has come up with another resource for service members to cover what the GI Bill doesn’t. This resource is the military’s Federal Tuition Assistance.

    However, many service members do not know tuition assistance exists. Even if they do, getting the military to pay for tuition can be a complicated process.

    Here are some questions and answers about how tuition assistance works and how military members can utilize their tuition assistance benefits to help obtain their college degrees:

    QUESTION: What is tuition assistance?

    ANSWER: Tuition assistance is money that the military pays accredited institutions for the cost of tuition towards a degree or certificate. Tuition assistance is an additional education benefit separate from and on top of the GI Bill.

    Q: Who gets tuition assistance?

    A: Any military member who is active duty, or in the Reserves or National Guard. All branches of military are approved to get tuition assistance. Student must have and maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

    Q: What does TA require of a student?

    A: Unless the student is an officer they do not incur any service obligation. They are only required to keep the minimum 2.0 GPA and pass the classes that tuition assistance pays for.
    If the student is an officer, on the other hand, they have an obligation of two years for active duty members and four years for National Guard or Reserve members.

    Q: How much do students get?

    A: Each military member gets $4,500 per fiscal year to spend on tuition only; it goes directly to the school. The per-semester hour cap is $250 per credit hour.

    For universities such as Arizona State, where the tuition is the same above nine credit hours, students can find the cost of their credits by dividing the cost of their tuition by the number of credits they are taking, said Brenda Lee, an Arizona National Guard education counselor in Phoenix.

    For example, if the veteran’s tuition is $5,000 and they are taking 15 credits they can divide $5,000 by 15 to get the cost. In this case it would be $333 per credit; Tuition Assistance will cover the first $250, but the rest is up to the student.

    Q: When is the fiscal year?

    A: The military’s fiscal year is from Oct. 1 until Sept. 30 each year.

    Q: What does Federal Tuition Assistance cover?

    A: Tuition assistance covers up to 12 credit hours of tuition per semester, and classes must be a part of an official degree or certificate. If service members are taking more than 12 credit hours they can call or email their education counselor to get an override fairly easily, said Lee.

    Q: What do service members need to apply?

    A: Their official degree plan. Proof of charges due in the form of a screen shot. Proof of enrollment in the form of a screen shot of the student’s class schedule.

    Q: When can students apply?

    A: Up to 90 days prior and no later than a school’s late registration date.

    Q: Where do students apply?

    A: for Army branches of the military.

    Q: How do students apply?

    A: For each branch of the military there is a different website to apply, but the process is generally the same.

    For Army members, they must first create a username and password at and sign in. Then fill out the common application with their basic education information and do the tuition assistance training, which is a video explaining how tuition assistance works and what is required of students.

    Next, most colleges have a veterans center that requires military members to fill out a form to notify the institution they will be using their tuition assistance benefits. To find out the specifics for each university students can talk to someone in their veterans center.

    Arizona State University has a simple form that includes GI Bill benefits and tuition assistance on one sheet. Once students submit this form to ASU the university can put the student’s charges on hold if requested so that they will have more time to get tuition funds from the military, according to ASU’s Veterans Services website.

    Then students must submit their Annual TA Statement of Understanding on the GoArmyEd website, which is a PDF form that can be downloaded on the website. If service members are under the grade of E-7, a sergeant first class, they must have their commander sign the statement of understanding. This must be done before students can get any classes approved.

    Next students must sign up for all of their classes at the college or university they are attending and get screen shots of the required documents: charges due, class enrollment and degree plan.

    Then students can click the “Request TA” link at the top of the page on their GoArmyEd account and apply for all their classes; attaching the necessary documents with each class.

    If military members don’t submit all the required documents their account will go on hold and it will take much longer to have their classes approved.

    Once they apply for all their classes, they will be approved in anywhere between a few days and a month.

    Students should make sure to check their accounts and emails often to make sure their account is not on hold, Lee said. They will be notified of approval by email.

    Q: What if students have a hold on their account?

    A: Any time students have a hold on their account and do not know why, the GoArmyEd Helpdesk can answer any questions and open a case on the student’s behalf. Erma Revera, a GoArmyEd Helpdesk representative, said that if there’s anything a service member ever needs that they can always depend on her and all the GoArmyEd staff.

    Students can call 1-800-817-9990 at any time for help or step-by-step instructions.

    Q: What do service members do once their tuition assistance is approved?

    A: Once classes are approved students need to print out or download their approval forms by going into the “Request TA” tab at the top of the page on their GoArmyEd account; clicking on the “View Historical TA Request Authorization Forms” link; clicking “Search”; clicking on the approved class they desire to print; selecting the class’s check box; and then clicking the “Print TA Form” button to view a link that opens the PDF.

    They will need to submit the PDFs, in person or by email, for all of their approved classes to the billing department of their institution; which will then bill the military. As soon as this form is processed by the school the charges should be taken off of the student’s account.

    Q: What happens if a student fails or drops a class?

    A: Each school has its own refund schedule. Based on how much each institution refunds when students drop a course students may owe the remainder.

    If a student drops a class after the start date because of personal issues, military orders or health reasons they may be eligible for a tuition assistance recoupment wavier, Revera said. If the waiver is approved they won’t have to pay back the tuition.

    “But in general, when students enroll it’s important for them to make sure they have the time available and don’t enroll in too many classes so that they do not owe money later,” Revera said.

    If a student fails the course they will also be responsible for the costs of the tuition.

    “If you know you’re going to receive a failing grade in your class, and your professor is unable to work with you, it’s always a good idea to withdrawal so that it doesn’t hurt you’re GPA,” Revera said.

    Q: Why do some have a hard time with the tuition assistance application process?:

    Revera said that the military requires a lot of documentation from the soldier to protect the military and its members from abuses of tuition assistance.

    “The military wants to confirm the amount you entered on your application is what the school is indicating when it bills the military,” Revera said.



    Date Taken: 12.10.2012
    Date Posted: 12.10.2012 14:01
    Story ID: 99039
    Location: PHOENIX, AZ, US 

    Web Views: 2,081
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