By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 30, 2009) -- Life should get a bit easier for Soldiers attending accredited colleges who have previously paid tuition out-of-pocket and then were reimbursed through the tuition assistance program.
Beginning Oct. 1, active and Reserve Soldiers won't need to put money up front for tuition. Educational institutions listed at www.GoArmyEd.com will receive the tuition money directly from Army Human Resources Command.
HRC Education Program Manager Geraldine Hicks said the Army made the change because Soldiers often had excessively long waits to receive their reimbursements, which sometimes caused financial stress.
"This is a way to relieve that burden, meaning Soldiers won't have to pay out of pocket, $750, $1,000 or more," she said. "They don't have to worry about putting up-front funding for the courses they want to sign up for."
The Army sent letters to school representatives in June advising them of changes to the TA program. All education institutions at which Soldiers use their TA benefits will be required to submit electronic invoices to the Army through the Human Resources Command and to post course grades via the above Web site.
Soldiers will still need to pay their portion of tuition. Tuition assistance is capped at $250 per semester hour or $750 per course and an annual cap of $4,500 according to Hicks. Any tuition charges beyond those figures are between the Soldier and the institution.
Hicks said the only action Solders need to take to ensure the Army's portion of their tuition is made directly to their institution is to register and apply for TA through the www.GoArmyEd.com portal. If Soldiers aren't registered, payment direct to their educational institutions will not be made.
As a side note, in July, all states that receive federal funds now grant in-state tuition for Soldiers and their families assigned to those states irrespective of where a Soldier keeps home-of-record for payroll purposes.
The Army's Continuing Education System sponsors education centers at installations worldwide and provide education counseling services free of charge to Soldiers and their families.