While serving in the Air Force, you might be thinking about going to college. One way to pay for school is to use the Air Force Tuition Assistance program.
There are different ways to pay for your schooling while you are in the military, and Tuition Assistance (TA) is one of them.
Air Force Tuition Assistance Program
Each of the five branches of the military has a TA program with service-specific criteria. Here is what you need to know about Air Force Tuition Assistance.
Who Can Use the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program?
All enlisted Airmen can use Tuition Assistance. If you are an officer, you can use TA too but will incur a service obligation of one year following the completion of your course.
RELATED: Air Force Education Programs
What Can You Use Air Force Tuition Assistance For?
Tuition Assistance will pay for:
- Tuition, but not fees, books or other supplies
- Off-duty courses at schools who have been accredited and have signed the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU)
- Specific academic or technical degree programs
- Programs higher than the degree you already have only e.g. if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can not use TA for an associate’s degree.
- Associate’s degrees, even if you have an associate’s degree from CCAF. This is an exception that allows you to use TA for a civilian associate’s degree.
- Foreign language courses, but only if approved if they are part of a degree or if they are on the approved shortage list.
Tuition Assistance will not pay for:
- Fees, books or other supplies
- Multiple degrees at the same level. e.g. if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can not use TA for another bachelor’s degree
How Do You Request Tuition Assistance?
Applications can be done online through the Air Force Virtual Education Center.
It would also be a good idea to go to your base’s educational center to get more information about TA through the Air Force.
How Much is Tuition Assistance?
The Air Force Tuition Assistance program will pay 100% of your tuition, up to $250 per credit hour, $166 per quarter hour. Update: In the fall of 2020, the Air Force cut its Tuition Assistance cap from $4,500 per fiscal year to $3,750 per fiscal year.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Air Force Tuition Assistance?
Your Tuition Assistance funding request needs to be approved by supervisors through the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC).
This must be done within 45 calendar days before, and no later than seven days before the start of the term. If not approved in time, it will be auto-deleted.
If you have been inactive with your education for a year or more, you will need to receive follow-up counseling from your local education officer before being able to use the TA benefits.
You can use TA for no more than:
- 124 semester hours or 186 quarter hours for a bachelor’s degree
- 42 semester hours or 70 quarter hours for a graduate degree
TA will be denied for Airmen with:
- A failed PT test
- Referral EPR/OPRs
- If you are on a control roster
You will need to apply for TA in a timely manner and work closely with counselors to find the right classes to take for their degree programs.
You will be required to populate an e-Degree plan in the AFVEC with the help of counselors. This will help you figure out exactly what classes you need to take to achieve your educational goals.
If you are serving in the Air Force and would like to use Tuition Assistance to pay for all or part of your education, make sure that you qualify, and make plans to sign up if you do.
NEXT STEP: Find schools approved for TA funding. Search over 2,100 schools that accept Tuition Assistance in the CollegeRecon School Search tool.
- Military Tuition Assistance Overview
- Air Force Education Programs
- Schools Fully Covered by Tuition Assistance
- Scholarships for Air Force Service Members and Veterans
OTHER TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS:
- Army Tuition Assistance
- Navy Tuition Assistance
- Marine Corps Tuition Assistance
- Coast Guard Tuition Assistance
- National Guard Tuition Assistance
- Reserve Tuition Assistance
- Colleges Fully Covered by Military Tuition Assistance
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.