Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard
How to Use the Military Tuition Assistance Program
The Military Tuition Assistance (TA) program is available to active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Component service members. TA can cover tuition expenses up to $250 per credit hour.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is an accredited institution recognized by the Department of Education. Your service branch pays your tuition directly to the school. Service members need to first check with an education counselor for the specifics involving TA by visiting their local installation education office or by going online to a virtual education center.
It is HIGHLY recommended that you have your TA Authorizations approved and submitted at least 14 days prior to the start of the term. Approved TA Authorizations MUST be in the Academic Portal PRIOR to the start of the semester. Email [email protected] before the term begins, if you are not sure.
Use the VA Certification Request Form to report to the university that you plan to use TA, MiNGSTAP, and/or VA Benefits.
- Tuition assistance may be used for the following programs:
- Vocational/technical programs
- Undergraduate programs
- Graduate programs
- Independent study
- Distance-learning programs
All four service branches and the U.S. Coast Guard offer financial assistance for voluntary, off-duty education programs in support of service members’ personal and professional goals. The program is open to officers, warrant officers, and enlisted active-duty service personnel. In addition, members of the National Guard and Reserve Components may be eligible for TA based on their service eligibility. To be eligible for TA, an enlisted service member must have enough time remaining in service to complete the course for which he or she has applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with, not in addition to, any existing service obligation.
Coverage amounts and monetary limits
- The Tuition Assistance Program may fund college tuition and certain fees with the following limits;
- Not to exceed $250 per semester credit hour or $166 per quarter credit hour
- Not to exceed $4,500 per fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30
Tuition assistance versus the Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits
While the TA program is offered by the services, the Department of Veterans Affairs administers a variety of education benefit programs. Some of the VA programs, such as the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, can work well with the TA program, as it can supplement fees not covered by TA. In addition, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® funds are available to you after you leave the military. If your service ended before Jan. 1, 2013, you have 15 years to use this benefit. If your service ended on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the benefit will not expire. The TA program is a benefit that is available only while you are in the service.
Tuition assistance benefits and restrictions
- Tuition assistance will cover the following expenses:
- Course-specific fees such as laboratory fee or online course fee
NOTE: All fees must directly relate to the specific course enrollment of the service member.
- Tuition assistance will not cover the following expenses:
- Books and course materials
- Flight training fees
- Taking the same course twice
- Continuing education units, or CEUs
- Keep in mind that TA will not fund your college courses, and you will have to reimburse any funds already paid if any of the following situations occur:
- Leaving the service before the course ends
- Quitting the course for reasons other than personal illness, military transfer, or mission requirements
- Failing the course
Each military branch has its own TA application form and procedures. To find out how to get started, visit your local installation education center, go online to a virtual education center or click on the following links for each service branch:
- Soldiers can use up to $4,000 to pay for up to 16 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework per fiscal year.
- The Army TA program has a total cap of 130 semester hours of undergraduate credit, or the completion of a bachelor’s degree, and a separate cap of 39 hours of graduate credit, or the completion of a master’s degree.
- The Army created this CHECKLIST to help guide soldiers through the process.
- Marine Corps
- Marines must have completed 24 months of service to use TA benefits. TA is also available to reservists on continuous active duty, enlisted reservists ordered to active duty 120 days or longer, and to reserve officers ordered to active duty for two years or longer.
- The fiscal year 2021 limit on Marine Corps TA benefits is $4,500.
- Sailors must complete two years of active duty before using TA benefits, and also must have completed one year at their first permanent duty station, with waivers available at the CO/OIC level.
- The Navy has a cap of $3,000 for the fiscal year 2021. After running out of money in May 2019, this cap was reduced to the current level and lifetime TA for sailors is limited to 120 credit hours.
- Air Force
- Due to funding constraints, the Air Force has limited the total benefit per airman to $3,750 for the 2021 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. Previously, airmen could receive $4,500 annually.
- Air Force TA is limited to 124 undergraduate and 42 graduate hours total
- Coast Guard
- The Coast Guard screens members for TA eligibility based on satisfactory progress towards qualifications and craft proficiency and requires a positive conduct record. Selected Reservists must also be making satisfactory progress towards participation standards.
- Coast Guard members have an annual fiscal year cap of $2,250 for TA payments, equaling nine credit hours. Coast Guard TA is limited to 130 undergraduate and 40 graduate hours.
- Space Force
- Currently, Space Force uses the same TA rules as the Air Force. For the fiscal year 2021, space professionals may use up to $3,750.
- These guidelines and rules are not comprehensive and are subject to change at any time. If you’re planning to use TA, check with your installation or branch education office to get the most accurate and complete information for your situation, and reach out to your school’s VA advisors. They are a vital resource in helping you work through the process.
- Be sure to keep the following important information in mind when you apply:
- Prior to your course enrollment, you will be required to develop an education plan or complete TA orientation.
- Your service’s education center/portal must approve your military tuition assistance before you enroll in a course.
- TA is requested on a course-by-course basis, and each course must be part of an approved educational plan. Courses must be in pursuit of approved degree programs provided by accredited schools that have signed the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding.
The Top-up program allows funds from the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty or the Post-9/11 GI Bill to be used for tuition and fees for high-cost courses that are not fully covered by TA funds.
- Eligibility. To use Top-up, your service branch must approve you for TA. You also must be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty.
- Application. First, apply for TA in accordance with the procedures of your service branch. After you have applied for TA, you will need to complete VA Form 22-1990 to apply for Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits. Apply online directly from the VA. Make sure you specify “Top-up” on the application and mail it to one of the education processing offices listed on the form.
We recommend you start this process at least eight weeks prior to your semester start date.
- Apply for admission to the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
- Schedule an orientation and placement exam(s) as required
- Register for courses; military services require registration prior to approval.
- Meet with your unit Education Services Officer (ESO) for a briefing on TA.
- Request required TA forms through your ESO or branch education portal for each course of study (University of Michigan-Dearborn’s school code is 002326).
- Army students will need to use the ArmyIgnitED portal to request TA. You will apply for tuition assistance through the portal and an authorization will be sent electronically to UM-Dearborn for processing.
- Air and Space Force students will utilize an online system for requesting Air Force tuition assistance through the Air Force Virtual Education Center. You will apply for tuition assistance through the portal and it will be sent electronically to UM-Dearborn for processing.
- Navy, Marine Corps., and Coast Guard students will submit an application through the Navy College Office’s virtual WebTA portal.
- Disclose all sources of aid: Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you plan to use multiple sources of aid, such as FSA or other scholarships.
- Upload a copy of your Tuition Assistance Authorization form, and;
- The Veteran Affairs Certification Request Form to [email protected].
Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded. To comply with the Department of Defense (DoD) policy, UM-Dearborn is required to return unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through the 60 completion portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending.
In instances when a service member stops attending due to a military service obligation, UM-Dearborn will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion.
In accordance with the DoD policy, UM-Dearborn will return any unearned TA funds through 60% of the semester on a prorated basis. The amount of unearned TA that is returned is based on the date of withdrawal from the course. After 60% of the semester has passed, TA will not be evaluated for a return to the DOD.
Schedule for returning unearned TA:
- Full Term Course Drop or Withdrawal
- Before or during weeks 1 -2 100% return
- During weeks 3 – 6 50% return
- During week 7 – 9 40% return
- After week 9 No TA funds will be returned
- Half Term Course Drop or Withdrawal
- Before or during week 1 100% return
- During weeks 2– 3 50% return
- During week 4 40% return
- After week 4 No TA funds will be returned
Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MiNGSTAP)
The Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP) provides tuition assistance to members of the Michigan National Guard who are attending any public or private college, university, vocational school, technical school, or trade school located in Michigan who are in pursuit of;
- Vocational Training
- Technical Training
- Associate’s Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Masters or First Professional Degree.
This program is available to members of the Michigan National Guard who;
- Are active in the National Guard (including the traditional service of one weekend/month and two weeks/year)
- Are in Good Standing (not absent without leave or under UCMJ charges) and
- Meet the additional criteria established by The Adjutant General, consistent with the guard's recruiting and retention requirements.
MINGSTAP can be used along with Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) and students are required to first apply for FTA funds prior to submitting an application for MINGSTAP. GI Bill programs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill-Selective Reserve (Chapter 1606) may be used concurrently with MINGSTAP.
MINGSTAP is a reimbursement program. To utilize the reimbursement program through the National Guard, students submit an application online. To register or submit an application visit: mingstapapp.state.mi.us
Note: MINGSTAP applications must be submitted to the State no later than 14 days following the start date of a course in order for that course to be considered for MINGSTAP reimbursement. Additionally, students must submit their grades to the Michigan National Guard no later than 30 days after a course ends. MINGSTAP reimburses classes passed with a C or better.
MINGSTAP reimburses tuition charges up to $600 per semester credit hour, up to $14,400 per year. At UM-Dearborn, the program also reimburses certain fees and premium tuition rates. It will not cover book/supplies charges.
The full policy dated: 11/30/20 can be located here.
To use the benefit, MINGSTAP students must complete a Michigan National Guard Self Certification and complete the VA Certification Request Form at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This form is required regardless of the student's enrollment in the reimbursement program with the Michigan National Guard. The university uses the form to ensure MINGSTAP students receive the support they need to complete the reimbursement process with the state.