The Air Force has recently made some changes to their Tuition Assistance (TA) program that may affect some TA recipients in a big way. The main changes concern what actions are taken in the case of failing grades, and the process of getting TA requests approved.
Beginning with courses starting on or after January 5, 2015, members who receive a failing grade in a class that they received TA money for must repay all their TA funds in a lump sum. Students will no longer have the option of monthly payroll deduction. A failing grade is defined by the Air Force as anything below a "C" for undergraduate programs and anything below a "B" for graduate programs.
Also effective January 5, 2015 is the requirement that all TA requests must be approved by the student's supervisor prior the beginning of classes. Specifically, all classes must be approved prior to midnight of the term start date or they will be auto-disapproved by the Air Force Virtual Education Center within the Air Force Portal. This means that airmen now have to sign up for TA 7 to 45 days before the class begins to allow their request to be processed before the cutoff. Prior to this change, airmen could sign up for TA whenever they wanted to as long as the class had not yet started. This only affects the supervisor's approval, if the base education office has the final approval, the TA will not be auto deleted (as long as it was approved by the supervisor prior to the cutoff date). The student will be notified of the automated disapproval, and if they choose to remain in the class will be responsible for paying any charges themselves.
"Education is what keeps our Airmen and our Air Force at the leading edge of change," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, "This is a valuable benefit that Airmen have a responsibility to manage, whether it's keeping their GPA up or meeting all the deadlines for their applications."
Air Force Tuition Assistance is an important quality of life program that provides 100% tuition and fees for courses taken by active duty personnel. The program is one of the most frequent reasons given for enlisting and re-enlisting in the Air Force. The Tuition Assistance program provides up to $4,500 a year or up to $250 per semester hour for airmen pursuing a degree. Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and can be taken from 2 or 4 year institutions, on or off base, or via correspondence or virtual classroom settings. Tuition Assistance is not available for a degree equal to or lower than a member's current degree (second bachelor's degree), or for any degree higher than a Master's.