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National Guard Tuition Assistance Benefits

It’s not just the active duty guys that get tuition assistance benefits from their service. National Guard and Reserve members also qualify, in many cases. The National Guard frequently offers the sweeter educational package, however, since many states supplement federal benefits with additional educational benefits for members of their Air or Army National Guard. These benefits are over and above the federal benefits package, and are especially attractive in states with strong public university systems.

Every state’s benefit package is different, however. Information in this column is believed current at press time, but the benefits offered change from time to time. Also, these benefits are typically supported by limited pools of allocated funds. If you apply late in the fiscal year, you may find that funding has dried up, and you’ll have to wait until the following fiscal year for these benefits.

National Guard Tuition Assistance Benefits

  • The National Guard TA program provides up to 100 percent of tuition costs, up to a maximum of $250 per semester credit hour, or $167 per quarter credit hour.
  • There is a maximum tuition assistance cap of $4,500 per year per soldier or airman.
  • The Guard will pay up to $500 per term of eligible fees. Authorized fees covered by TA are mandatory fees that are associated with an individual course enrollment. Non-refundable fees and fees that are not linked to individual course enrollments (e.g., application fees, graduation fees) are not covered by TA.

The National Guard TA program covers costs, up to the maximums described above, for a high school diploma or GED, for professional licensing programs and certificates, for associates degree programs, bachelors’ degree programs, and for masters degree or professional degree programs. Doctoral programs are not covered by the TA program, though some states may offer state university tuition waivers for PhD students serving in that National Guard.

Eligible Individuals

The National Guard TA program is offered to enlisted ranks, noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers alike. Some states restrict or prioritize their state funding programs to lower ranking servicemembers, such as captains or below. However, officers who use the National Guard Tuition Assistance Program will incur an additional four year obligation upon completing the course of study. If the officer doesn’t complete the course, he or she may have to reimburse the government on a prorated basis.

ROTC cadets who are receiving scholarships under that program cannot simultaneously use TA benefits, though they may use Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

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