Army Tightens Access to Tuition Assistance

NGAUS Washington Report

(Dec. 10, 2013) The Army National Guard will lose part of a recruiting incentive when the Army tightens its tuition assistance (TA) program beginning Jan. 1.

The new rules require all Army personnel—active, Guard and Reserve—to complete a full year of service after they finish their initial entry training to qualify for the program.
This means the Guard may not be quite as attractive to potential recruits who are planning to attend or are already enrolled in college full time.

About 4,000 active-component soldiers, 3,000 Army Guard troops and 1,200 members of the Army Reserve have used TA money before serving one year, according to Army officials.

Soldiers will also be limited to 16 semester hours during each fiscal year, a change that, according to the Army, will affect about 20,000 active-component soldiers, and more than 18,000 Guard and Reserve members. Soldiers are currently allowed to take up to 18 credit hours.

In addition, soldiers using the program to receive their bachelor's degree will also be required to complete 10 years of service before they use it for a higher degree.

The amount paid per semester hour—set at $250—will not change, Army officials said.

Army officials said a motivating factor behind some of the changes to the TA program is the "fiscally constrained environment."