By Cheryl Phillips
88th Readiness Division
If you’re searching for a way to fund your college studies, don’t overlook Tuition Assistance. It’s one of many ways the Army will help you advance your education goals along with your military and civilian careers.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Autumn Schumacker, a human resources technician with the 86th Training Division here, talked to the post’s education center education services specialists to learn about ways to pay for her college education. “They pointed me in the direction of tuition assistance and my GI Bill,” she said.
Schumacker has been using TA for about eight years with a few breaks, and has “never had any issues. I reached out for assistance when I first set up my degree program, and the education center and my university offered lots of help. Now when I sign up for classes it’s just a matter of clicking a few buttons and maybe 10 minutes of my time” to apply for TA, she explained.
For Schumacker, the benefits of TA are great.
“I’m paying minimal costs out of pocket for my college education. I have had 100 percent of my tuition costs fully paid for through this program. My college offers a grant to pay for all military members’ books and will not go over the rate tuition assistance will cover for a semester hour, so the only thing I pay out of pocket is a technology fee,” she said.
Now Schumacker can boast the completion of a bachelor’s degree, and she’s halfway through her master’s degree. Both are in Business Administration.
“It’s always been a personal goal of mine to complete my master’s degree. But it will also help me move forward with my career on the civilian and military side,” she said.
The 88th Readiness Division education services specialists provided a lot of support to Schumacker as she worked to achieve her educational goals. “The 88th RD Education Services Specialists have been with me every step of the way with my education goals. I came to them about nine years ago for assistance in understanding which options are available to help cover tuition costs for my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “Once I received my bachelor’s degree, I then went to them for assistance in helping me study for the AFCT [Armed Forces Classification Test] to raise my Army GT [General Technical] score to become a warrant officer, and now I am working with them to get my master’s degree.”
Schumacker offers her recommendation to other Army Reserve Soldiers who are considering using TA to further their education.
“I would advise all Soldiers to reach out to their education center and just ask about options available and what resources they have out there. The education center doesn’t just cover degree programs but they will also assist in many other areas of education and your career,” she said.
"Prior to returning to school, Soldiers should contact their education services specialist at their local education center,” said Connie Schauer, education services specialist with the 88th RD. “Their education services specialist can help them identify their educational goals, select a school, explore by credit-by-exam options, and review their Joint Service Transcript."
Currently, when an educational institution's tuition and fees are $250 or less per semester hour or equivalent, the Army will pay 100 percent of the amount charged by the institution for up to 16 semester hours of TA funded courses per fiscal year. When an institution's tuition and fees exceed $250 per semester hour, the Army will only pay $250 per semester hour (or equivalent) of credit. The annual ceiling is $4,500.
Before obtaining TA, Soldiers must contact their education services specialist or visit an education center to declare an educational goal and create an educational plan.
For more information on the TA program, visit: https://www.armyignited.com/app/