|Army College Tuition Assistance Program|
Soldiers now have more money to pay for their education because of changes to the Department of Defense's tuition-assistance policy.
Beginning Oct. 1 (2002), the Army's Tuition Assistance program will pay up to the new cap of $250 per semester hour of credit and an annual ceiling of $4,500 to soldiers enrolled in a post-secondary school. The policy also covers textbooks if they are included in the school's tuition rates.
Under the old policy, the tuition-assistance grant was up to 75 percent of tuition, capped at $187.50 per semester hour and $3,500 a year.
"This policy offers greater opportunities for those who want to continue their education," said Janice Yoo, Tuition Assistance program manager at the Total Army Personnel Command, Alexandria, Va.
The increase was in response to changes made in law (10 USC 2007) two years ago. A revision to Army Regulation 621-5 is currently being staffed, officials said.
Yoo said the policy could not be implemented immediately when it was enacted.
"We couldn't snap our fingers and change it," Yoo said. "Additional funds had to be programmed to support the change."."
There is a misconception that the new tuition assistance will always cover 100 percent of tuition, Yoo said. However, the Army will pay 100 percent only if the institution's fees are $250 per semester hour or less. If the fees exceed $250, the Army will not pay more to cover the difference, she said.
"If you are really strapped for cash, federal grants are available. You can still apply for Pell grants," Yoo said.
Enrolled soldiers may also draw funds from their Montgomery GI Bill. Active-duty soldiers can receive up to $32,400 for 36 months or more of service effective Oct. 1.
Soldiers enrolled in the MGIB, and who have also been on active duty for at least two years, can elect to use part of their MGIB entitlement to cover tuition costs which exceed the Tuition Assistance cap. This add-on benefit is called "Top-Up".
The Tuition Assistance Program was introduced in 1947 to showcase the Army's commitment to educating its soldiers, officials said.