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No Near-term Changes to DOD Tuition Assistance Policy

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2011 – Although no changes to the tuition assistance policy will be made in the near term, defense officials stated the tuition assistance program will be considered as part of the holistic review of the military compensation package.

Current policy provides eligible service members up to $4,500 in tuition assistance. The Defense Department will pay up to $250 per semester hour for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

"The department, in consultation with the military service departments, is doing a thorough review of all the benefits included in the military compensation package,” said Jo Ann Rooney, principal deputy undersecretary of defense, personnel and readiness.

"Our goal is that any announcements about changes to existing policies affecting service members' benefits and compensation will be made after the comprehensive review,” she said.

All military services are providing input to the DOD review, officials said. If any changes are made to the tuition assistance policy, they will be instituted in a deliberate, thoughtful manner maintain the integrity of a joint uniform policy for all service members.

Tuition assistance is a popular benefit for military members, particularly in light of the rising costs of post-secondary education courses. However, due to current fiscal constraints, the services consider these costs unsustainable, officials said. Even if adjustments are made to the program, they emphasized that the department will continue to support its members' higher education goals.

"Opportunities for personal and professional growth have long been a part of military life, and the Department of Defense is committed to helping service members pursue civilian education while in uniform," said Robert L. Gordon III, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Among educational offerings at military installations is access to education counselors who provide face-to-face guidance to service members and their families, officials said.

In addition, the Voluntary Education Program portal addresses a full range of educational issues from tuition assistance and financial aid to information on more than 1,800 colleges and universities. The portal may be found at http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/voled.

DOD's off-duty, voluntary education programs represent one of the world's largest continuing education programs, officials said. About 300,000 service members enroll in post-secondary courses each year, leading to associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees.

Colleges and universities deliver classroom instruction through an extensive network to hundreds of military installations around the world.

 

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

12/1/2011 3:29:37 PM
It is too bad TA does not apply to PhD work. Too many have to use their MGIB benefits or pay out of pocket past the Master's degree.
- HS, US

11/15/2011 10:14:03 PM
I used TA and I achieved from an AA to a MA, and I was able to become an Officer. I hope that our leadership does not allow this benefit to be reduced. Furthermore, with the advances on online education more and more troops are able to attend school, even from the combat zones, proving that this benefit is essential in our military careers. We always want the best of the best to serve in this profession and TA is one of the tools to make the service members the best of the best.
- Jean F. Rivera, Camp Humphreys-Korea

11/3/2011 2:30:04 PM
As usual, wealthy DOD officals cutting the legs off the lower mam/woman on the pole. You can believe the higher ups "care" but, really.....
- Concern member, NM

10/28/2011 10:47:26 PM
I used this benefit when I was in the Army. I was able to acquire an Associates Degree and start on my Bachloer's Degree because of this program. I hope the Government doesn't alter this in a major way.
- Shawn McFadden, USNS Patuxent

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