Financial aid is available to Soldiers who may have exceeded or are ineligible for Uniformed Services Tuition Assistance (TA) or require extra funds for books and application fees. Guidance counselors can provide several options to fund your education. Some options include Post-9/11 GI Bill, MyCAA, and FAFSA.
Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program
The Post-9/11 GI Bill also includes a provision to help students avoid some or all of the out-of-pocket tuition and fees associated with education programs that may exceed the Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition benefit. The Yellow Ribbon Program is not automatic, schools must enter into an agreement with the VA to share the expense. Website link is here: https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/yellow_ribbon.a...
Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
Workforce development program for spouses of Servicemembers on active duty in pay grades E1 to E5, W1 to W2, and O1 to O2. Pays up to $4,000 of tuition assistance to eligible military spouses. Website Link is here: https://militarybenefits.info/military-spouse-care...
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA is a form completed by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Many students are eligible for some form of financial aid. Students who are not eligible for need-based aid may still be eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan regardless of income or circumstances. Website Link is here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
A student who can meet the following criteria may be eligible for aid:
1. Has registered with the Selective Service System (for Conscription in the United States) between the ages of 18 and 25, if required to do so (females are excluded from this requirement);
2. Has maintained a Satisfactory Academic Progress;
3. Is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen;
4. Has a valid Social Security number;
5. Has a high school diploma or GED;
6. Has signed the certification statement stating that: 1) not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant and 2) federal student aid will only be used for educational purposes;
7. Has not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs while federal aid was being received.
Students who are military veterans and active duty servicemembers may apply for financial aid by filing a FAFSA even if they also apply for education benefits offered by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and its accompanying Yellow Ribbon program.
Montgomery GI Bill / Post 9/11 GI Bill
Area IV Guidance Counselors provide counseling services to active duty Soldiers and their family members on several Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefit programs. Spouses and family members may also be eligible for education and training assistance. These programs include Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill, VA Yellow Ribbon Program, and VA Top-Up Program.
The education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are extremely important to Soldiers who have either exceeded their tuition assistance for the fiscal year, attending a school which exceeds the $250 per credit limit, or will retire/separation to attend school as a civilian after service. Some might find they're eligible for more than one benefit or that one program is more suited to certain education and training goals than another.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers higher education and training benefits to Veterans, Service members, and their families who served after Sept. 10, 2001.
The Montgomery GI Bill assists active duty and Reservists with the pursuit of higher education degrees, certificates, and other education and training.
The VA Yellow Ribbon Program is aligned under the Post-9/11GI Bill which pays all resident tuition & fees for a public school and the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the national maximum per academic year for a private school. Your actual tuition & fees costs may exceed these amounts if you are attending a private school or are attending a public school as a nonresident student.
Institutions of Higher Learning (Degree Granting Institutions) may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Degree-granting institutions of higher learning participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program agree to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. These institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution.
To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program you must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This includes:
•Those who served 36 months (may be aggregate) on active duty
•Purple Heart recipients with an honorable discharge and any amount of service
•Those discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001
•Children using transferred benefits
•Children using transferred benefits if their Servicemember transferor is at the 100 percent level (36 months served)
•Effective August 1, 2022, Servicemembers at the 100percent level and transferee spouses whose transferor is at the 100 percent level
•Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
•Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals, as stated in their participation agreement
•Your school must certify your enrollment to VA and provide Yellow Ribbon Program information
At last, the Tuition Assistance Top Up is available through the VA education benefits program. Using Top-Up benefits may be an option if you plan to use TA to complete a degree program while on active duty, and don't plan to continue your education after service. Top-up can also be helpful for just taking a few courses with TA while on active duty; then you can save most of your GI Bill benefits for after service to complete your education program.
Area IV Guidance Counselors can assist you in understanding your GI Bill benefits through counseling services. While DoD Guidance Counselor cannot be the final determining authority for all of your VA educational benefits, they can assist in general information and placing you in contact the other professional VA counselors. The Department of veterans Affairs has a comprehensive website containing a great amount of information link here: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/education_progr...
Uniformed Services Tuition Assistance
All active duty Soldiers are potentially eligible for the Uniformed Services Tuition Assistance (TA) Program to fund academic programs such as: Certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree. TA may not be used for a lower or lateral degree program from the one the Soldier currently possesses. In addition to degree programs, TA is available to Soldiers to complete a high school diploma and certificate programs. TA is not authorized for programs of study beyond a master's degree. There may be instances when Soldiers do not qualify due to certain types of administrative account flags related to their military careers. Soldiers can inquire into the status of eligibility by visiting with an Education Center Guidance Counselor.
The courses must be offered by schools that are registered in ArmyIgnitED, are accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and are signatories to the current Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DOD MOU).
The Area IV Education Centers’ guidance counselors can assist eligible Soldiers to request TA through the ArmyIgnitED Portal. By law, officers who use TA incurs a service obligation. Active Duty officers incur an Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) of two years, and Reserve Component officers incur a Reserve Duty Service Obligation (RDSO) of four years. The ADSO/RDSO is calculated from the date of completion of the last course for which TA was used.
Soldiers’ TA enrollment requests must be submitted and approved through www.armyignited.com prior to the course start date; any enrollments requested on or after the class start date will be approved as Soldier funded. TA is requested on a course-by-course basis, and each course must be part of an approved degree program. The ArmyIgnitED will notify the Soldier, whether the TA is approved or not. If the TA request is not approved, ArmyIgnitED will advise the Soldier of the reason and next steps.
All drops/withdrawals must take place through ArmyIgnitED. 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 ArmyIgnitED and complete all required steps to ensure that they will not be charged.
If the Soldier wishes to take a class with a school that does not participate in the electronic ArmyIgnitED class schedule, a TA Request Authorization form must be completed in ArmyIgnitED. 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 ArmyIgnitED, provide it to the school and enroll directly with the school.
For assistance in using Tuition Assistance, GI bill benefits or other financial aid options, contact the Area IV Camp Henry Education Center.