The Coast News Group

Corps restores tuition assistance for Marines heading to class

CAMP PENDLETON — The Marine Corps has restored the tuition assistance allowance to fiscal year 2011, rescinding proposed cuts allotted to higher education.
Up to 100 percent of tuition and fees has been reauthorized for Marines wishing to improve their education, according to Marine Administrative Message 639/11, released Oct. 27.
“There has been no commensurate increase to tuition assistance funding allocated for FY12,” stated the MARADMIN. “Therefore, all Marines are encouraged to wisely utilize tuition assistance to maximize Marine Corps financial resources and to ensure the most effective academic experience.”
The initial TA policy change restricted Marines utilizing TA to $875 per year, or up to five accredited hours. With the TA allowance back to FY 2011’s provisions, Marines can now attend school as a full time student during their off-duty hours.
Last year’s allowance granted Marines up to $4,500, and no more than $250 per credit hour per year. These provisions are now in place for the Marine Corps’ tuition assistance program, effective immediately.
Commanders are encouraged to appropriately review TA request to ensure fiscal discipline. It is likely that next fiscal year’s tuition funds will be exhausted before the end September 2012, according to the MARADMIN.
Marines can still seek and obtain financial aid and grants to help fund their education during active-duty service, in addition to using their TA benefits.
“We are working to add a financial aid workshop to our array of programs offered,” said Pat Jeffress, branch manager for Camp Pendleton’s JEC. “We also have other works in progress to help Marines fund their education process.”
Approved requests should be supported with academic goals and evidence of informed selection of educational opportunities, according to the MARADMIN. Marines currently enrolled in classes and affected by the changes are now eligible for TA authorizations for any cost that would have been paid by TA prior to the change.
Those who did pay out of pocket prior to the current MARADMIN release can now re-submit their TA applications to the JEC, Jeffress said.
More information about financial assistance and TA are available at the JEC locations on Mainside, School of Infantry and South Mesa Club. The JEC also provides free counseling for service members thinking about attending school, in addition to other educational information.