Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) is a huge Guard advantage in an age of student debt. If you have completed Initial Entry Training (IET), Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC) or Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC), you could be eligible.
For eligible Soldiers, FTA funds up to $250 per semester hour for up to 16 semester hours each fiscal year-all towards tuition to advance your education. Here's a look at the FTA lifetime limits of the program:
130 undergraduate semester hours
39 graduate semester hours
21 certificate/diploma semester hours
To be eligible, your college or university must be regionally or nationally accredited-and a GoArmyEd participant. FTA will pay toward one credential at each of the postsecondary levels: certificate/diploma, associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, graduate-level certificate. (Doctor's degrees do not apply.) Tuition assistance is for advancing your postsecondary education, so it may not be used to achieve a lower or lateral diploma or degree.
Exceptions: Initial state teacher certifications, chaplain certification or prerequisites for the Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) may be eligible after receiving a master's degree.
Remember, FTA is tuition assistance, which means it is for tuition only. It does not cover fees, examinations, e-Learning or other expenses that are outside of an official degree plan.
Contact your state education services office to find out if you're eligible. Additional information may also be available at your state education home page.
If you're eligible, start the application process by creating a GoArmyEd account under Student and filling out all the required data. Once you have set up an FTA account, you can begin requesting tuition assistance. Here's a look at that process:
1. Enrollment requests must be submitted and approved through GoArmyEd.com prior to the course start date. Any enrollments requested on or after the class start date will be approved as Soldier-funded.
2. TA is requested on a course-by-course basis, and each course must be part of an approved degree program.
3. GoArmyEd will notify the Soldier whether the TA is approved or not. If the TA request is not approved, GoArmyEd will advise the Soldier of the reason and next steps.
4. All drops/withdrawals must take place through GoArmyEd. Soldiers who do not successfully complete a class will be required to repay the TA. Soldiers who are unable to successfully complete a class due to military reasons must request a Withdrawal for Military Reasons through GoArmyEd and complete all required steps to ensure that they will not be charged.
5. If the Soldier wishes to take a class with a school that does not participate in the electronic GoArmyEd class schedule, a TA Request Authorization form must be completed in GoArmyEd. The TA Request Authorization will be routed to an Army Education Counselor to be reviewed and approved. Soldiers should allow extra time for this. If the TA Request Authorization is approved, the Soldier will be notified by email. Soldiers must print the approved TA Request Authorization form in GoArmyEd, provide it to the school and enroll directly with the school.
6. Soldiers must acknowledge and electronically sign the TA Statement of Understanding (TA SOU) each quarter they wish to use TA.
FTA can be a huge help in driving down the cost of your education, but also be sure to ask your state education office for other benefits and programs they provide National Guard Soldiers-some include full in-state tuition.