NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE TUITION ASSISTANCE
If you are serving in the National Guard or Reserves, you might be wondering if there is a National Guard Tuition Assistance program or Reserve Tuition Assistance program available to you.
There are Tuition Assistance programs for all five branches of the military, with their own service-specific criteria. There are also TA programs for the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and some Reserves branches.
Army National Guard Tuition Assistance
- If you are serving in the Army National Guard you can receive FTA, Federal Tuition Assistance.
- You can qualify for FTA if you are currently serving in the National Guard, and as of August 5th, 2018, have completed AIT. Previously, you needed to wait a year after AIT to qualify.
- FTA will fund up to $250 per semester hour, up to 16 semester hours each fiscal year.
- The lifetime limits would be 130 for undergraduate semester hours, 39 for graduate semester hours, and 21 for certificate or diploma semester hours.
- The college or university that you go to must be regionally or nationally accredited and an ArmyIgnitED participant.
- Federal Tuition Assistance will pay for one credential at each level, which includes getting a certificate/diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or graduate level certificate. They will not pay for doctorate degrees.
- You also may not use FTA to achieve a lower level or lateral level degree or diploma. The purpose is to help you move forward in your education.
- FTA is for tuition only, not for fees or other expenses outside of the official degree plan.
- You will need to contact your state’s education services office to find out if you are eligible for Federal Tuition Assistance.
- If you are eligible for FTA, you would start your application process by creating an ArmyIgnitED. You will need to have this submitted and approved through the ArmyIgnitED site prior to the course start date.
- Your FTA request needs to be course by course, not just a blanket request for all of your classes.
- ArmyIgnitED will notify you whether your FTA is approved, if not they will advise you on what to do next.
Air National Guard
You can receive TA benefits through serving in the Air National Guard. Make sure to check out your state’s specific educational benefits to know what you would qualify for. You can also work towards your associate’s degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Tuition Assistance for the Reserves
The branches that offer Reserves TA do usually stay within these guidelines:
- Up to 100% coverage for tuition, up to $250 per semester hour, or $166 per quarter hour. Up to $4,500 per fiscal year.
- You will need to be a reservist in good standing.
- You will need to declare an educational goal by the 9th credit hour for the USAFR and by the 15th for the USAR.
- You will need to work towards an educational goal higher than what you already have.
- You will need to be able to complete your course under your current term of service or reenlist (for enlisted and warrant officers,) or have at least four years left of remaining service from the date of your course completion (for commissioned officers.)
The Navy Reserves and the Marine Corps Reserves do not have a tuition assistance program at this time. However, if you get called to active duty, you will fall under the Federal Tuition Assistance program of your active duty counterparts during your activation period.
The Army Reserve Tuition Assistance
For those going for a bachelor’s degree, the Reserve Tuition Assistance program will pay for 75% of tuition costs, up to $250 per semester hour, $166 per credit hour, with the $4,500 annual fiscal cap. To apply, you would need to submit your Tuition Assistance application online through ArmyIgnitED.
The Air Force Reserve Tuition Assistance
For undergraduates, they offer TA at the DOD guidelines. For master’s degrees, funding is limited to 75% of those guidelines. If you are interested in an associate’s degree and going through the Community College of the Air Force, you will be exempt from the progressive education level requirement. You can apply for TA by going to the Air Force Reserve Portal website.
The Coast Guard Reserve Tuition Assistance
In order to receive TA benefits through the Coast Guard, you will need to be a reservist on long term active duty orders of over 180 days. Back to back tours will not count. The Coast Guard also has an annual fiscal year cap of $2,250 which is lower than other branches.
If you are serving in the National Guard or the Reserves, make sure to find out if you qualify for Tuition Assistance. If you do, make sure to apply in a timely manner in order to receive TA for your education.