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What the Recruiter Never Told You

Part 8 -- Education Benefits and Enlisted College/Commissioning Programs

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Active Duty Tuition Assistance

All of the services offer 100 percent Tuition Assistance for courses taken while on active duty. However, there are limitations. All of the Services limit TA to $4,500 per year, per individual. Additionally, there are limits on the amount of TA available per semester hour.

Guard/Reserve Tuition Assistance

Both the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard offer Tuition Assistance. The Army National Guard allows 100% tuition assistance not to exceed $250 per semester hour, up to $4,500 annually.

The Air National Guard offers 100% tuition assistance not to exceed $250.00 per semester hour, or $166 per quarter hour, up to $1,000 annually.

Additionally, many states offer additional education benefits for members of their National Guard (National Guard is controlled --for the most part--by the individual States, not the Federal Government, so benefits can vary widely from state-to-state).

The Air Force Reserves give 100% Tuition Assistance for undergraduate degree programs. TA is limited to $250 per semester hour, or $166.67 per quarter hour, up to $4,500 annually. For graduate degree programs, the Air Force Reserves offer 75% TA, limited to $187.50 per semester hour, or $125 per quarter hour, with a $3,500 annual maximum.

The Army Reserves offers 100% TA for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. TA cannot exceed $250 per semester hour, or $166.67 per quarter hour, up to $4,500 annually.

The Coast Guard Reserves offer TA for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. TA cannot exceed $250 per semester hour, or $166.67 per quarter hour up to $4,500 annually.

The Navy and Marine Corps Reserves do not offer a Tuition Assistance Program, at present. However, (for all of the reserve service), military members who are called to active duty under Title 10 -- Federal Call up -- get the same TA benefits as their active duty counterparts. That means, for example, that a Reserve Marine, called to active duty, would be eligible for the Marine Corps Active Duty Tuition Assistance Program.

College Degrees and Commissioning Programs

The Air Force is the only service that actually issues college credits and college degrees. The Air Force does this through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), which is a fully accredited community college (The largest community college in the World). The CCAF does not itself offer college courses. CCAF issues fully accredited college transcripts, and awards Associate of Science Degrees to Air Force Members in educational areas of their military specialties, using a combination of credits for off-duty college courses, military schools, and military experience.

The other services do not issue college degrees, nor do they actually award college credits. However, the American Council on Education (ACE) has recommendations for college credits for almost all military schools/jobs for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, and most colleges and universities in the United States accept those recommendations for current/former military members enrolled in degree programs in their institutions.

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