Big Changes To Army Tuition Assistance

On Monday, The Military Guide published a really informative article on anticipated changes to the Army’s Tuition Assistance program.  Usually, I would use such as an article as the basis for my own research, then write something similar.  However, I’m having some difficulty locating the author’s source for most of the information.  Therefore, I’m just going to send you there to read what’s been written:

Sweeping Changes to Army’s Tuition Assistance Program Beginning January 2014

While I usually wouldn’t publish things that I can’t verify myself, I absolutely trust Doug and the team at The Military Guide.  It is chock-full of useful information for servicemembers who want to build their income streams and perhaps choose not to work after leaving the military.  I encourage you take a look around the site and see what it has to offer you.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • guest

    I think the changes are common sense. Why invest money in soldiers that are new or at risk of getting kicked out? And for the advanced degrees at 10 years, that’s around the time soldiers need them for promotion. I’d think getting one before the 10 year mark would make someone more likely to seek employment in the civilian world

    • I cannot speak for everyone, but my husband would not have stayed in without the early education incentives. He is a firefighter, and scheduling for classes was always difficult. After 16 years he has gotten a Masters, 2 Bachelors, and 2 Associate degrees. Along with all his fire officer training. Just because the majority of new enlistments do not use the education benefits, or they choose to process out, does not mean those who want these benefits should not get them.

      • guest

        Yes, but why should the taxpayers be forced to pay for more than one degree? Kudos to him for getting an education but 5 degrees is a bit excessive for the taxpayers to have to pay for. One Bachelors, one Master, you want more then that then use your GI bill or foot the cost yourself.

        • Idmtmedic

          What is going to keep enlistments up for an all volunteer force? Love the argument until it’s time for a military intervention somewhere. God forbid you need experienced NCO’s and officers to do the job. Nope not according to ALOT of so called “experienced” stat pushers. Lmao you get what you pay for, so I will watch and wait until we have a paper tiger to fight with next time……….

          • guest

            What’s going to keep enlistments up? How about a bad economy, excellent medical benefits, decent pay, decent leave, the draw down of 2 wars, a full ride to college, subsidized food and entertainment, and camaraderie?

          • Robert

            How about ONE war? The Global War on Terrorism. It’s been going on since 11 September 2001 with TWO major Operations: Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). I have been deployed to both theaters and you don’t get TWO combat badges or TWO National Defense Service Medals, but you do get different CAMPAIGN MEDALS.
            Just because we have stupid politicians and ignorant Generals, Admirals, and Command Sergeants Major does not make it two separate wars. You can get the CORRECT information yourself simply using “Google”.

          • Selk

            Full ride to college? What? Which Army are you talking about, because last I checked, Tuition is the least expensive part of school, and when I was going through I had to fight tooth and nail every single semester to get the Army to uphold their end of the bargain.

            And no, enlistments are not going to go up, because as anyone who is actually in the service right now is fully aware, the higher ups are far more busy trying to kick people out and demote them over stupid bull shit to save themselves money. Sequestration is strangling the military right now, and there is no end to it in sight.

          • guest

            Both my husband and I got our degrees through the GI Bill. We chose public universities and our OOP costs were close to nil. Did we have to fight the bureaucracy, sure but yes, it was a free ride to college

          • Pete W.

            I totally agree. Who is going to fight the next “meaningful” war? It won’t be done with a fully volunteer military. Look at all the “civilian” groups that have to assist with the health and assistance with our wounded veterans now……..the VA and the current government is failing our active duty military AND VETERANS now! Will it be even worse in the future? My guess is that it will be. Look at how far behind the VA is now in claims and appeals.
            The people this Country relies on the most in time of need are not getting “squat” compared to the civilian counterparts and it is headed downhill. God Bless the Military and it’s Veterans.

        • Omar Locke

          how about being in a war torn area with the risk of getting your @ss blown off? I love the arm chair generals that are under the ridiculous impression that a soldiers education is expendable because they watch fox.

          Why is hollowing out the military appropriate? Why is the military the place they look to cut? why not corporate taxes? Why not subsidies for arm chair generals collecting a pension AND social security? What is good for hte military should be good for civilians. If you collect a retirement check you should NOT get social security. that is a great way to save some funds!

        • 11B/35D/6070

          Do you really think the IRS will charge you less tax if soldiers spend less on TA? The money will just be shifted to some other program and your taxes will stay the same.

          • Phillip

            Love this thread, two sides neither in reality. College is too expensive for the product received. Period.

            This is *because* a legion of Americans are going there’re bill footed with funny money. If this is wobbly loans, tuition assistance, the GI bill, or just money hot off the press doesn’t matter in the least. You still walk away with some sheep skin that says you are great at doing math problems or filing liberal complaints.

            The idea that any of this helps anyone but professors collect huge pay checks to write on a chalk board is absurd. 40 years ago these guys (who now hold these these positions and/or positions in the government) went to school with 3k of debt and worked a part time job.

            What is the difference between the and now?

            Their degrees actually mean something!

            Massive overhaul is needed no doubt. If there is a complaint here, it is that this certainly won’t do enough.

        • mic

          well, misinformed. Military DOES NOT pay for multiple degrees on the same level or getting a lesser degree if you already have one using TA. I.e. No education. You can get an associates, bachelor’s, and an advanced degree under 45 hours paid for with TA. You cannot backtrack nor get another degree. If you already have a bachelor’s paid by you, you can’t use TA to get another.

  • Guest

    Saying all of the changes are common sense shows lack of understanding for the Army Reserve and Army National Guard–especially when the Guard is cheaper than its Active Duty component by a landslide.

    One of the largest reasons National Guard soldiers not only enlist, but stay in and keep experts retained is by educational incentive. Not apply for TA until after a year from AIT? Sounds okay. Not get a master’s until 10 years later? Why stay after your 6-8 year contract then?

    Remember, National Guardsmen ARE civilians during the week until drill. This comment about ‘seeking employment’ is an underhanded slap to the citizen-soldier who has been seeking and now has their TA being cut further…and the will to continue in the military.

    • Justin

      Totally agree… same on the reserve side… I lose about 1K a year right now as a traditional reservist… taking away more and more incentives makes it hard for me to stay in on principle alone… I would rather eat than serve those who slap me in the face.

    • guest

      If the educational benefit is so important then go active duty and use the GI bill

    • Selk

      Not only that, but heaven forbid you are already IN school when you enlist, and therefor have to go the split training route (if that’s even available anymore…). Say you enlist in Feb like I did, go to basic in the summer, go to AIT the next summer, then you have to wait another year before you can use your TA benefit? You’ll be in your Senior year of college and three years into the military before you get anything to show for it.

      • Robert

        That’s exactly what happened to me… Split trainer. One semester before my bachelors and this new rule has taken place and put a hold on all my accounts until I fulfill my one year obligation. Go army Ed makes no exceptions. It is almost laughable that they can change terms like that on a whim. It’d be like me deciding tomorrow that I only want to serve 2 years instead of 8

    • retsgm

      For the NG, many states will cover your tuition free at state universities so you don’t even have to use TA.

      • Karen

        SOME states. although my daughter is in the Indiana Nat Guard because she attends college at Indiana State University. She wanted to continue her education while still serving in the military. Of course she was “promised” money for school when she enlisted. We live in Illinois, so the Nat Guard grant does not apply. She was turned down because she is not a resident of Indiana. She went to BCT all last summer and then back to school.Split op and is also an ROTC cadet while in school.She was told she did not have to attend AIT because of the ROTC committment. Now they have put her small TA on hold although they said if you had requested before Jan 2014 (which she did and it was approved) you would still get it. The army does a great job with soldier training, but the hoops you have to jump through are ridiculous. Her TA was also put on hold last year with the sequester. Frustrating!

  • Thanks, Kate!

    Curtez (the new owner of the blog) is an active-duty Army soldier who’s tied into the recruiter’s network very tightly. The quotes are coming from Army sources but are not readily publicly available… yet.

    As for commonsense: all of the services are cutting their “nice to have” programs in order to buy fuel & ammo for operational training. During the biggest drawdown in over 20 years, there’s probably a sentiment that if TA is the only thing keeping a servicemember on active duty, then it’s time for them to consider a transition. Apparently the Army feels that they have enough people who are willing to attend service schools or pay for their own degrees. Of course plenty of mistakes were made during the last drawdown, too.

    I don’t like that these choices have to be made, but I’d cut TA before I’d cut training hours. And if I was planning to use TA then I’d jump on it now.

    • Hope
      • tommy perry
        • guest

          No, why would you think the VA loan is something you can sell?

      • retsgm


        With TA, active duty still pays for their own books, but I agree that we could go with paying 25% of cost. I was actually still paying about 15% when I finished my Master’s because the cost for a graduate degree was above the MAX per hour.

    • TA is not a “nice to have” program it is an entitlement designed to enable service members to further their education and make themselves more competitive in the job market be it civilian or military. It is not being cut by the service but by our current administration in an effort to lower the national budget. Same as their cutting our BAH and for those collecting SDAP. If you must blame someone, blame the national budget or lack thereof and the people that are not doing their jobs in DC. I agree with the guest who is speaking about the National guard and add the Reserves to that equation. Some of the changes are good while others are not so good like having to wait 10 years to get TA to pay for a graduate degree.

  • Carl Forkner

    I think the direction the Army is going here is correct, but leadership needs to stay away from sweeping generalizations in the process of making changes. For example, limiting TA to only courses that are part of a degree program actually may hurt the Army in some instances, such as soldiers who want to take courses that expand on the skill sets in their MOS to keep current with professional standards progressing outside the military.
    As for TA/GI Bill vs. budget cuts, we have far too much civilian administrative overhead across all of DoD that needs to be cut before cutting uniformed personnel and benefits. For example, merging all services under SECDEF and CJCS, making the current service secretaries deputy SECDEFs for their services, and eliminating the redundant executive civilian high-paid administrative overhead in all the individual services. We were mandeated to be joint in the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, and yet joint gets far more lip service than actual doctrinal change.

    • Idmtmedic

      One of the changes HAS to be a consolidated medical service for the military. Make it a seperate service. USMS. UNITED STATES MEDICAL SERVICE! Trained for all services. Consolidate it, seperate uniforms under a central command would save millions.

    • Omar Locke

      Wrong! Have you noticed those high paying cushy jobs are ALL former military? Too bad you want to ignore that.

      We can all be sure you’ll take your full retirement benees and head for the hills! What a hypocrite! And if you’re not or never were in the military or working along side them, keep your keyboard on ice.

    • retsgm


      Actually, that part of the requirement was already in place; if you read the article carefully you will see that. I had to have a paper from an academic advisor saying all my classes fit into my degree plan for my entire graduate degree…

  • shadetree417

    There just looking in my opinion for a way to cut people out of benefits with out having to change there lifestyles, many will accept this and see it as no problem, but it is.. they need to leave well alone, if they want to cut they should start with there pay and benefits since after all they do work for us i demand it. leave our military and family alone and American people. as i states there just looking for a way to cut corners without imposing any changes on there lifestyles.

    • None

      Please use your TA.

  • JimHommon

    I spent 8years in the Army and have used my GIbill to buy a home and now I am trying to go to school here in NC so I can get a Refrigeration contracters lic that way I can pull permits to do the work any one know what and where Ineed to start I have a refrigerationContracters lic from Ohioand I attended classes at Penn State for ref ac and heating ,also some electrical,any help I can use

    • KateKashman

      Mr. Hommon, I’d like to help but I’m not sure what you are asking. Are you asking about GI Bill benefits? Or are you asking about getting a refrigeration contractor’s license? More information, please, and we’d be glad to answer your questions!

  • winslow dupree

    Yeah, ha ha, ‘big changes com’in’…and soon to disappear.

  • John

    I think limiting the TA to onlyt 16 credit hours per fiscal year is retarded. For example, I currently have 15 credit hours completed this fiscal year and still have money left in my TA to complete one more course and the new rules states I cannot take an additional 3 CH class because it would put me past 16 CH. There is so much unclaimed TA in the Army, I’m quite sure they could afford to let a Soldier go past 16 credit hours. Whoever made that rule is an idiot.