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Tuition Assistance: Air Force reduces caps, options can help fill gaps

The Air Force announced recently announced that effective Oct. 1, the military tuition assistance program will be capped at $3,750 per fiscal year, which is down from $4,500 in previous years. The Education Office suggests these tips.

The Air Force announced recently announced that effective Oct. 1, the military tuition assistance program will be capped at $3,750 per fiscal year, which is down from $4,500 in previous years. The Education Office suggests these tips.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – The Air Force recently announced that effective Oct. 1, the military tuition assistance program will be capped at $3,750 per fiscal year, which is down from $4,500 in previous years.

“Increases in participation rates and numbers of courses taken are the driving force behind the change,” said Ladonna Livingston, 375th Force Support Squadron chief of education training. “At Scott last year we had 3,336 enrollments, and 3,640 this year, an 8% increase.”

In a public release, Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services said that the change is to help make the benefit accessible to as many Airmen as possible each year. Last year’s funding ran out in August and it needed an injection of emergency funding to cover the rest of FY 2020’s requests.

Maddie Hartung, 375th FSS installation education and training center manager, said that they can help Airmen do some research into available colleges that are available to maximize the TA benefit.

“There may be multiple schools out there that do not charge up the $250 per semester hour cap, so finding a school with a lower tuition rate helps to maximize the TA benefit,” she said.

In addition to TA, the education center suggests looking into filing the Federal Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA, as soon as possible so that federal grants and student loan options are also available to assist in paying for school. The window for filing the newest FAFSA opened Oct. 1.

Livingston also suggested to look into testing programs, such as CLEP or DANTES, to help cover some of the classes that they may not be able to have covered via the TA program after the reduction. Those programs allow a servicemember to take a test for free the first try to attempt to get the credit for classes to transfer to an intuition of their choice.

For more information, contact the Scott AFB education office at 256-3327.