Making the most of down time - Tuition assistance helps service members further their education

May 16, 2003

5/16/2003 By Cpl. Anthony D. Pike, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego 

For Marines and sailors wanting to further their education, the military has made it very possible.  Service members can use 100 percent tuition assistance to help cover the costs of college. 

Service members need only choose a school that offers courses the individual is interested in studying or needing to take for professional advancement to benefit from 100 percent tuition assistance and education resources on base.

There are a few requirements for applying for tuition assistance, according to Sam Bagwell, education officer. First, the school must be accredited, either regionally or nationally, which can be verified through Bagwell.

Tuition assistance does not cover any additional costs related to the classes a service member is taking such as books and administrative costs. Additionally, service members can only receive up to $4,500 dollars in tuition assistance per fiscal year.

Tuition assistance is only authorized for study that leads to a certification or degree that is an academic level higher than that already held by a service member, according to Marine Corps Order 1560.25c. For instance, if a Marine has a bachelor's degree, tuition assistance will only pay for courses that lead to a master's degree, not another bachelor's degree.

Service members are required to maintain certain academic standards while receiving tuition assistance.

"Under the tuition assistance policy Marines can be forced to return the money," said Bagwell.

"Withdrawals from classes, getting Ds or lower and courses that are not completed are all reasons a Marine can be forced to pay back the money," added Bagwell.

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