by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
4/10/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force has officially restarted military tuition assistance, effective immediately.
The service restarted the program as a result of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, where Congress called for the MTA program to continue in the current fiscal year.
As a result of the restart, the program will resume the same benefits as before. Airmen are eligible for up to $4,500 per fiscal year and a maximum of $250 per semester hour or quarter hour equivalent to cover tuition and allowable fees. Military tuition assistance is not available retroactively to cover courses taken and paid for using any other funding source during the suspension of military tuition assistance.
"Military tuition assistance will be the same program Airmen are used to," said Russell Frasz, the director of Force Development. "The same policies and procedures will be in place."
With this change, current and future Airmen will be given another tool to develop professionally through advanced education, Frasz said.
"Voluntary education and military tuition assistance programs continue to be integral to the recruiting, retention and readiness of Airmen and contribute to institutional competencies," said Kim Yates, the Air Force Voluntary Education chief. "In the long term, the Air Force will still be able to leverage the learning achieved by Airmen to ensure a dynamic, flexible force able to work in uncertain environments around the world. The will have the ability to think critically."
Looking to the future, Frasz notes that they are trying to maintain the balance of the military tuition assistance benefits while also ensuring the force is ready and equipped for operations.
"We are working with senior leaders to develop a way ahead for fiscal year 2014 that takes into account both the value of the (military tuition assistance) program as well maintaining the financial health of the program within funding constraints."
Though times may seem uncertain, Frasz wants to reassure Airmen of senior leaders' commitment to Airmen and their education.
The Air Force continues to value education as a force multiplier and Airmen should take advantage of educational opportunities making them more proficient in their profession, setting them up for success in their career.
Like all organizations going through sequestration and budgetary struggles, Frasz is committed to fighting for the best Air Force possible.
"Fiscal constraints create a challenge that Air Force leadership continues to work through," he said. "We strive to meet the needs of Airmen and the Air Force."