SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Dec. 13, 2013) -- Jan. 1, 2014, the Army's fiscal year 2014 Tuition Assistance (TA) program will change. These changes are supportive of the intent of the TA program -- to provide financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education in support of Soldiers' professional and personal self-development goals within a constrained budget environment. The new policy will allow Soldiers to use TA after successful completion of their first year of service after graduating from Advance Individual Training, Officer Candidate School, or Basic Officer Leader Course. Soldiers are eligible for up to 16 semester hours, per year, and they can use TA for a second, higher-level post-bachelor degree after completion of 10 years of service. Soldiers who are already in a graduate degree program may continue through the remainder of FY14. A second degree time-in-service requirement applies to movement from a bachelor's to a master's degree and not from an associate's to a bachelor's degree. Also, the 10-year requirement only applies if Army TA was used to pay for any portion of the undergraduate coursework. Soldiers will continue to receive up to $250, per semester hour, and the current policy limits of 130 semester hours for completion of a bachelor's degree, and up to 39 semester hours for a master's degree, remain in effect. Soldiers cannot use TA for a second equivalent degree, i.e., no second bachelor's or master's degree. All courses must be part of an approved degree plan. TA cannot be used for first professional degrees, e.g., a PhD, MD or JD. In addition to Department of the Army adverse action flags, the policy to not allow TA for Soldiers who are flagged for Army Physical Fitness Test/Army Weight Control Program will continue. The Army will honor TA requests approved by Dec. 31 for payment for Soldiers whose eligibility for TA will be affected by these policy changes. However, no further TA-funded enrollments will be authorized until they meet the new eligibility requirements. (Editor's note: Morris is the education services officer at DHR.)