Oregon National Guardsmen can now have some university fees and book costs covered through an addition to the state’s tuition assistance program.
The Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program was established in 2018, with the new benefits taking effect Jan. 1.
"This opened up an opportunity to fill in the (tuition) gap, the amount not covered by federal tuition assistance every year," said Ann Browning, education services specialist for the Oregon Army National Guard. "And it also opened up a benefit to airmen that they didn’t have before, for funding college courses and degrees."
Browning said if a soldier attends a state university or certificate program, they can get the best bang for their buck by applying for the program.
Guardsmen would first use the federal tuition assistance available to them, and if eligible, state tuition assistance would help cover some fees and book costs associated with their education.
Airmen can apply for state tuition assistance, and depending on the degree or certificate program they choose, it could cover most of their tuition, fees and a book allowance.
To be eligible for the program, an applicant must:
- Complete military basic training;
- Be a member of the Oregon National Guard in good standing;
- Not have already received a bachelor’s degree or higher;
- Be currently drilling and attending all scheduled unit training;
- Not be in default on any federal Title IV loan or owe a refund on federal Title IV funds previously disbursed;
- Be enrolled and have a minimum 2.0 GPA in an eligible degree or certificate program.
Master Sgt. Jeremy A. Box, enlisted personnel manager for the Oregon Army National Guard, said that in addition to helping pay for civilian education, the military wants to award the work with administrative points that translate into promotion points. Those points, he said, are based on coursework.
He tells soldiers that the Army is putting even more of an emphasis on higher education, and how it can increase job performance.
"The promotion points are just icing on the cake," Box said.
Depending on the rank the soldier hopes to be promote to, Box said it can make a big difference.
"I mean if you have an opportunity to take care of 25% of your administrative points by way of civilian education, why not?" he said.
With the rollout of the new Integrated Personnel Pay System-Army, which now allows searches for specific skills or degrees, Box said a degree or certificate can make candidates stand out if a commander wants to use the system to look for a special skill set in filling a vacancy.
"It makes you more competitive, it keeps you leaning forward into your career and overall it makes for a successful mission as a whole," Box said.
The Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance program accepts applications per term, with the 2022 spring term application deadline on February 28.
For more information or to apply for tuition assistance, visit the Oregon student aid website.