The change, which will affect both Air Force and Space Force members, is meant to conserve limited funding for the popular program.
The annual maximum tuition assistance reimbursement will drop from $4,500 to $3,750 for all classes that begin on or after Oct. 1, 2020. The maximum credit hour reimbursement rates will remain unchanged at $250 per semester hour and $166.66 per quarter hour.
"While usage by our Airmen and Space Professionals is fantastic and we're encouraged by the number working on their degrees, we need to make sure the benefit is accessible to as many of our service members as possible each year," said Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. "In 2013, under sequestration, tuition assistance was suspended for some time, and our service members were negatively impacted. As we go forward and budgets get tight, we want to prevent that from happening again, and we made hard decisions in order to keep this program viable and accessible to our force."
Air Force tuition assistance is available to all service members except those with Unfavorable Information Files, failed PT tests or referral Enlisted Performance Reports/Officer Performance Reports, or who are on a Control Roster. It will reimburse a service member for tuition, lab and computer fees, as well as other mandatory fees related to college enrollment. Recipients must pay for their own books.
Service members may be eligible for waivers of the new $3,750 limit in some cases. For example, those whose degree program requires a lab class exceeding the $3,750 limit by one semester hour or two quarter hours, or those working on a unique degree deadline, may apply for a waiver.
Every branch of the military, including the Reserve and National Guard, are eligible for some form of tuition assistance; the rules may differ for each branch. Check out specific details for all branches.
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