Be prepared: Tuition Assistance changes coming soon
August 11, 2014
Over the past few months important changes have been taking place for those who receive or are hoping to receive tuition assistance, or TA, from the Army.
According to ALARACT 317/13 -- FY14 Tuition Assistance Policy, as of Jan. 1, Soldiers eligible for TA must have successfully completed one year of service following graduation from Advanced Individual Training, or AIT.
This is a significant change for the Army Tuition Assistance Program, according to Sharon Lewis, chief of the Education Services Division, Fort Huachuca Education Center.
"Before, a Soldier would finish AIT and be immediately eligible for tuition assistance," Lewis explained. "But they instituted the one-year wait after they finish AIT with the theory that they could go and learn their job first and then start taking classes."
Also, Soldiers currently pursuing a graduate degree, but who do not have 10 years of service, may continue to receive TA for graduate classes through the end of fiscal year 14, which is Sept. 30. Beginning in FY15, all Soldiers will be subject to the 10-year service requirement for graduate TA, if any portion of their undergraduate degree was paid through TA.
Additionally, the $4,500 limit per semester has been changed to a 16 semester-hour limit per semester.
On March 29, GoArmyEd released updates that included a new Course Planner Degree Planning Tool that is required for all Soldiers seeking TA for non-fully-developed degree programs. Also, Military Withdrawal Holds will now stay on hold until an Army Education Center counselor approves or denies the removal.
GoArmyEd recently made the change that service member and commander signatures are no longer required on an annual Statement of Understanding. All Soldiers must now agree to the terms of the current TA Statement of Understanding once each quarter if they wish to request TA during the fiscal quarter.
Significant changes have been made to Department of Defense Instruction 1322.25. All schools are now required to review these changes and sign the new DoD Memorandum of Understanding or they will be suspended in GoArmyEd effective Sept. 5. Soldiers won't be allowed to register for any classes with these schools after that date and should speak with the Education Center personnel to check if their school is on this list.
Included in these changes, beginning Oct. 1, the Army will no longer pay fees such as laboratory and course fees. Also, TA requests must be submitted and approved before the start date of the class, without exception.
An important change to note is that for courses starting Sept. 6 or later, reimbursement will be required from the service member if a successful course completion is not obtained. For undergraduate courses, a successful course completion is defined as a grade of "C" or higher, and for graduate courses, a "B" or higher is required.
Fort Huachuca Education Center personnel inform every Soldier of these changes via the GoArmyEd portal as the changes are released.
"The monthly newsletter that [the Education Center] puts out goes to all the commanders, command sergeants major, first sergeants, and training NCOs, which should then filter down to all," Lewis said. "We send updates out to all GoArmyEd participants that are assigned to us, which includes all of Arizona, through the portal. Of course, we can brief units upon request as well."
Those with questions about these changes should call 520.533.3010, or visit the Education Center, Building 52104, on the corner of Arizona and Cardinal, to speak with an education services specialist.