I fear that the beginning of tuition assistance cutbacks is getting nearer. On 17 October 2011, the Marine Corps announced severely restricted Tuition Assistance rates for all future classes. Just as abruptly, on 26 October, the MARADMIN was canceled due to “administrative errors”. The cancellation announcement stated that a corrected MARADMIN will be released.
I don’t pretend to know where this is going, but I think that the anticipated tuition assistance cutbacks are likely to begin sooner rather than later. While no services are currently using reduced funding rates, and the Marine Corps announcement was the first such announcement and quickly canceled, cutbacks are pretty inevitable. The Department of Defense is facing unprecedented budget cuts and with the drawdown, there is less need to use tuition assistance as a recruiting tool. Historically, military educational benefits improve during times of high operational tempo and decrease, sometimes rapidly, when the high profile commitments end.
If you are a service member planning to use tuition assistance, you’d be wise to take as many classes as you can now, and not assume that the rates will remain the same. Planning to use your TA benefits in the future? You might want to see how soon you can start so that you can maximize your educational benefits before they get smaller.