Tuition Assistance (TA) is a Department of Defense (DoD) program. VA does not administer TA. TA varies by branch of service and can even vary between components within the branches depending on whether the service member is Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard.
If a student qualifies to receive both VA and TA a duplication of benefits may be an issue. The issue might involve VA regulations, DoD regulations, military branch specific regulations or all three. Potential duplication issues are outlined as follows:
DoD has established a policy that Federal Tuition Assistance will not be authorized for classes for which a member is also receiving benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve program (chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code), Reserve Educational Assistance Program (chapter 1607 of title 10, United States Code), or any other GI Bill program other than the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty program (chapter 30 of title 38, United States Code) or the Post-9/11 GI Bill program (chapter 33 of title 38, United States Code).
Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Service Member Status Definitions
Active Duty Title 10 Service member
Service members who are full-time members of a military branch, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy.
Active Guard and Reserve (AGR)
AGR soldiers are full-time military members of the National Guard or Reserve who support the National Guard and Reserves, even when the units are not mobilized. They are on Title 32 Active duty orders. AGRs are transferred from Title 32 Active duty status to Title 10 Active duty status when Federally mobilized.
Traditional Drilling Status - Title 32 National Guard and Reserve Service Member (M-day service member)
A traditional Title 32 M-Day service member is an individual who serves in the National Guard or Reserves part-time. Their typical obligation is to drill one weekend a month and participate in 15 days Annual Training (AT) each year. An M-day Guardsman or Reservist is placed in a Title 10 Active duty status when Federally mobilized.
Drilling Status - National Guard and Reserve Technicians (MilTechs)
National Guard and Reserve MilTechs are Federal civilian employees where a condition of their employment is that they must also be members of the National Guard or Reserves. National Guard MilTechs are required to wear their uniform at work but Reserve MilTechs are not. Both have the same obligation as the traditional Title 32 M-day soldier to drill one weekend a month and participate in 15 days Annual Training (AT) each year. MilTech are not on Active duty unless they are placed on Federal orders. They are placed in Title 10 status when Federally mobilized.
Chapter 33 Recipients
Active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members may receive Chapter 33 benefits for the same courses for which they receive TA from the military. Depending on their mobilization time, National Guard and Reserve service members may have varying percentages of Chapter 33 benefits ranging from 40 to 100%. Schools must deduct TA benefits from the net tuition and fees submitted to VA, and Chapter 33 is used to pay toward the remaining out-of-pocket costs.
Chapter 30 Recipients
Active duty service members and National Guard and Reserve AGRs may not receive standard Chapter 30 benefits for the same courses for which they receive TA from the military (with the exception of Top-up). If a student takes several courses, the student cannot receive Chapter 30 benefits for the courses for which TA is paid, but the student can receive Chapter 30 benefits for the courses for which TA isn’t paid.
Former Active duty service member, who earned Chapter 30 benefits while on Active duty and are currently M-day members of the National Guard or Reserve, may receive standard Chapter 30 benefits for the same courses for which they receive TA from the military National Guard and Reserve (AGRs cannot).
Chapter 30 and “Top-up”
Service members and former service members who are eligible for Chapters 30 and approved for TA are eligible for Top-up. What is Top-up? Top-up allows VA to pay the difference between what TA pays and the cost of the course. The law prohibits Active duty students from receiving regular Chapter 30 benefits and TA for the same course; however, VA students, to include National Guard and Reserve service members who earned Chapter 30 benefits while on Active duty, in receipt of TA may receive the Chapter 30 Top-up benefit. Service members, current or separated, apply for Top-up by sending a TA authorization form directly to VA. SCOs should not certify courses for which an Active duty service member will receive TA under Chapter 30, however they should certify courses for which a National Guard or Reserve service member will receive TA under Chapter 30 as long as they are in M-Day status and not AGR status. Detailed information about Tuition Assistance Top-up and about applying for Top-up is available on the GI Bill website (http://gibill.va.gov/documents/pamphlets/tuition-assistance-top-up.pdf).
Chapter 1606 and 1607 Recipients
As noted in the beginning of this section, DoD will not authorize Federal Tuition Assistance for classes for which a member is also receiving benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve program (chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code), or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (chapter 1607 of title 10, United States Code). National Guard and Reserve M-day service members can receive Federal TA for some classes, and receive Chapter 1606 or 1607 benefits for other classes (for which Federal TA isn't paid) during the same term. Also, students may receive Chapter 1606 or 1607 benefits and State TA simultaneously.
For more information on Tuition Assistance please visit the GI Bill website at, http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/
To apply for Tuition Assistance you must go through GoArmyEd at https://www.goarmyed.com/
There are requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for Tuition Assistance. Please visit GoArmyEd for all the details.