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Good News for Tuition Assistance

January 20, 2012

Last year was tough for a lot of military families. Tuition assistance became one of the most debatable problems for our Congress. There was a lot of uncertainty towards whether or not Marine Corps would receive tuition assistance. In fact, there was talk of drastically reducing the tuition assistance for active duty Marines. It was thought that tuition assistance was unnecessary while students were still on duty. However, many military men and women participate in online degree programs and distance learning courses while still in the military on active duty. They are trying to earn a career for after military life. For that reason, tuition assistance is a major issue among many military professionals.

The official message was released on October 26th, 2011. However, the message set future expectations for 2012 Tuition Assistance. Active duty Marines were especially interested in the cost per course and the limits on the financial assistance.

The plan that almost became real would have dropped the individual annual financial assistance cap from $4,500 to $875. However, many Marines were relieved when this plan did not become a reality as it would have severely impacted their lives and education. Many men and women are still right in the middle of their education while on active duty. A drastic reduction in financial aid would have ended their degree plans. In many cases, the changes would have meant covering an additional $225 per course.

The restoration of the old payment rates were like a gift, just in time for the birthday of Marine Corps. The reverted Marine MARADMIN message also showed that the DoD was planning to take down the TA rate to $175 per credit hour. However, Defense officials recently announced that there would be no changes to the Tuition Assistance policy or payment rates in 2012. It would remain $250 per credit hour and $4,500 a year.

To many Marines, the news was a gift after much debate and argument over whether there were going to budget cuts concerning their education. Without a degree, many Marines would have been stuck after their active duty was over. They would have had to return to civilian life without any education or degree. That’s unacceptable when trying to earn a living and get into a career.

“I feel like the VA does a lot to help Marines and other men and women in the military, but this would have just devastated so many Marines. It wouldn’t been fair after all the work that we’ve done,” said David Michelson, a Marine in his junior year.

Since Tuition Assistance will continue untouched throughout 2012, there are many who question the budget for the 2013 program, for those who are only in their freshman and sophomore years of military school. For that reason, Marines may add more classes to their schedules, including online programs and courses to help finish their degrees sooner. Some are hoping that adding these credits will be enough to finish before further decisions are made to cut or completely remove tuition assistance for active duty Marines.

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