In light of the passage of an amendment that prohibits the armed services from cutting funding for TA programs, military service branches have gradually restored tuition assistance (TA) programs for servicemembers. Tuition assistance had previously been suspended in an attempt to meet the provisions of the Budget Control Act.
The Navy was the first to formally announce the reinstatement of the tuition assistance program, followed by the Army and Air Force. Recently, the Marine Corps announced that its TA program has also been reinstated (as of April 8, 2013) and will remain in effect until further notice. The program is now accepting new enrollments, but tuition assistance will not be approved retroactively for courses that were taken prior to April 8.
Tuition Assistance Application Process
There have been no changes to the application process for Marines requesting tuition assistance. In order to receive tuition assistance, Marines must apply for and receive written authorization through the appropriate education office prior to enrollment by submitting a completed NETPDTC 1560 form. First-time students must also complete a TA orientation class.
Marines who plan to use TA will need to submit an application for each individual class, which must be approved by the education center before the start of the course. This is the same process that was in place prior to the TA suspension.
Additional Requirements for Reimbursement
Tuition assistance is not available for courses leading to a lateral or lower level degree than the Marine already possesses, such as earning an associate's degree if they already have a bachelor's degree or earning a second bachelor’s degree. After enrolling in TA, Marines must submit a degree plan before exceeding 12 semester hours. In addition, officers must agree to remain on active duty for two years following the completion of courses reimbursed by TA.
Marines are now required to apply for and use TA at their current duty station education center since funding is now allocated for Marines at each base. In addition, Marines who use TA must complete all classes before they reach an end of active service or permanent change of station status since TA funds are not authorized for courses that end after a Marine's EAS or change of station status date.
The maximum amount paid for tuition assistance is 100 percent of institution charges for tuition, instructional fees, laboratory fees, computer fees and mandatory enrollment fees combined. Mandatory course enrollment fees are refundable fees charged by the institution that are directly related to the enrollment in a course offered by that institution. TA is not authorized for books.