Free Tuition for National Guard by State

Updated: December 24, 2022
In this Article

    As a member of your state’s National Guard, you may be eligible for free tuition! In addition to other great Veteran’s benefits, many state National Guard units offer educational benefits that supplement federal GI Bill benefits or even grant tuition waivers for members of the guard who want to get their college degree. Read on to find out if your service in the National Guard can get you free tuition.


    Members of Alaska National Guard may receive up to 100% tuition assistance at any school in the University of Alaska system. If you qualify, undergraduate tuition and fees are waived while attending school in the University of Alaska system.

    How to Apply

    To find out more about tuition waivers, contact the National Guard Education Office at 907.428.6663

    Alaska Veterans Benefits


    Arizona Tuition Waiver Scholarship, aka Arizona Purple Heart Tuition Waiver, provides qualifying Post 9/11 Veterans with tuition-free education at any public state university or community college.

    To qualify, you must be:

    • a member of the Arizona National Guard who received a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001; or
    • a former member of the Arizona National Guard who was medically discharged from service due to an injury or disability suffered during status under Title 10, USC, in weekend training/annual training status, or in response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.
    • accepted to the school you would like to attend.

    How to Apply

    To apply, complete the Tuition Waiver and Verification Form and email it [email protected].

    Arizona Veterans Benefits


    The California Military Department GI Bill Award Program issues financial awards to qualifying members of the California Army or Air National Guard and State Military Reserve. This state grant can pay for up to 100% of the tuition and fees at the Universities of California, California State Universities, and California Community Colleges.

    How to Apply

    To apply, complete the CNGEAAP application, download and print the Statement of Understanding, and have it signed by your Commander.

    California Veterans Benefits


    Members of the Colorado National Guard may be eligible for up to 100% state tuition assistance at selected schools. The tuition assistance is capped at $4,250 per semester and is good for 132 semester hours or 8 years total use, whichever comes first.

    How to Apply

    To apply, gather all required documents and go to the State TA Website for application instructions and the login site.

    Colorado Veterans Benefits


    Active members of the Delaware National Guard may qualify for education benefits that may cover post-secondary tuition and fees at accredited public or private schools. Qualifying members must serve at least 6 years with the Delaware National Guard and have 10 years to use the program. Members are eligible to receive one Associate, one Bachelor’s Degree, or one approved Certificate. Masters Degrees are reimbursed if funding exists after all undergraduates have been paid.

    How to Apply

    To apply, your must file DNG Form 600-4 Reimbursement Claim Form with your official bill, payment receipts, and official sealed transcript within 45 days after the classes end, or you forfeit the right to your benefit.

    Delaware Veterans Benefits


    The Hawaii National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) offers tuition waivers for eligible members who have completed both Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. The waiver covers 100% of community college tuition and 50% of four-year university tuition.

    To be eligible for STAP, you must be:

    • pursuing an undergraduate degree
    • enrolled in courses pertaining to that undergraduate degree, and
    • a satisfactory performer in your assigned Hawaii National Guard unit

    You can use STAP in conjunction with Federal GI Bill and Tuition Assistance benefits.

    How to Apply

    To apply, contact the Education Office at the Hawaii Army National Guard Recruiting & Retention Battalion at (808) 844-6027.

    Hawaii Veterans Benefits


    The Illinois National Guard Grant is available to any qualifying enlisted, Lieutenants, and Captains of the National Guard, who have served at least one year of service. This grant provides the student with 8 semesters or 12 quarters of full-time/part-time undergrad coursework at any state-supported college.

    How to Apply

    To apply, go to the online National Guard Grant Application page and follow the application instructions.

    Illinois Veterans Benefits


    The Louisiana State Tuition Exemption Program (STEP) provides free tuition at all public colleges and universities for resident National Guard members. The exemption is good for 5 separate academic years or until the receipt of a degree at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, or professional level, whichever occurs first.

    You qualify for the STEP program if you are:

    • a drilling member of the Louisiana National Guard in good standing
    • a resident of Louisiana, and
    • working toward an Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree

    You must also remain in good academic standing and pay all fees applied to your bill except tuition.

    How to Apply

    Institutions should receive a list of all eligible students, and the benefit should be automatically applied to your account. If you are eligible and do not receive the credit, contact the Financial Aid Office at your college or university.

    Louisiana Veterans Benefits


    Maine’s National Guard offers members a 100% tuition waiver to attend all of the schools in the University of Maine and Maine Community College Systems, as well as Maine Maritime Academy.

    How to Apply

    To find out more about tuition waivers, contact your unit’s Education Office.

    Maine Veterans Benefits


    The Massachusetts National Guard Education Assistance Program provides a 100% tuition and fee waiver for active members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard attending a state college, university, or community college. Assistance can continue until the member has reached 130 semester hours.

    How to Apply

    To apply, you must request a Certificate of Eligibility (TAGMA Form 621-3) every 30 credits from the Massachusetts National Guard Education Office. You may request one by calling the office at 508-968-5889.

    Massachusetts Veterans Benefits


    Students who are members of the Montana National Guard are eligible for a tuition waiver. Waivers for qualifying students will be applied as last-dollar awards, up to the total annual cost of in-state tuition only. The final tuition waiver amounts will vary depending on the amount of federal grants and scholarships students receive.

    You qualify for the tuition waiver if you:

    • are a bona fide member of the Montana National Guard at the start of the semester
    • are in good standing
    • don’t have a baccalaureate degree or higher, and
    • meet all admission requirements of the institution

    How to Apply

    To apply, complete the application and submit it electronically using the secure email portal or mail it to the Montana University System, Scholarship Department.

    Montana Veterans Benefits

    New Hampshire

    Members of the New Hampshire National Guard may take courses tuition-free at state-supported post-secondary institutions. Both in-state or out-of-state New Hampshire residents are eligible for the waiver.

    To qualify for a tuition waiver, you must be:

    • enrolled in any vocational or technical school which falls under the authority of the commissioner of regional community-technical colleges,
    • enrolled in a state-supported public college or university, and
    • an active service member in the New Hampshire National Guard, who has completed advanced individual training or who has been commissioned.

    Tuition waivers are granted on a space-available basis and are granted after other federal educational entitlements are applied. This excludes Montgomery GI benefits and National Guard scholarship grants.

    How to Apply

    To apply, complete the TAGNH 621-1 Tuition Waiver Application Form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office at your institution.

    New Hampshire Veterans Benefits


    The Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program allows Ohio National Guard members with qualifying time-in-service to apply for undergraduate scholarships to Ohio schools on the approved list to get 100% paid tuition. Those who choose other institutions may receive 100% of the “average tuition charges of all Ohio public universities.”

    How to Apply

    To apply, you must apply each term you intend to attend by the appropriate deadline. To apply online, create or go to your ONGSP Account.

    Ohio Veterans Benefits


    The Oklahoma State National Guard Tuition Waiver offers qualifying resident guard members a 100% waiver on in-state tuition costs. The course of study must lead to a degree. Up to 18 hours of tuition may be waived each semester. The waiver can’t be used for continuing education, certificate courses, or other programs that do not count toward a degree.

    To qualify for the tuition waiver, you must

    • be a National Guard member in good standing
    • be an Oklahoma resident
    • not have a baccalaureate or graduate degree, and
    • meet the admission requirements of the school

    How to Apply

    To apply, you must request the tuition waiver by the deadline dates each semester through your Commander or the Commander’s designee.

    Oklahoma Veterans Benefits


    The Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance (ONGSTA) program provides 100% funding for tuition at no more than the state residency rate to eligible Oregon Army and Air National Guard members at Oregon public universities and Oregon community colleges.

    How to Apply

    To apply, create a Student Profile and complete the ONGSTA Application. Once you create your OSAC Student Profile, you will complete an Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program application on the “Grants” application section.

    • Army National Guard members: Follow the instructions in this link.
    • Air Active Guard Reserve (AGR) members: Contact your Wing’s Training Office to validate eligibility for the Military Tuition Assistance (MilTA) Program and submit a MilTA request.

    The Voyager Tuition Assistance Program is available to members of the National Guard or Reservists who served on active duty in a combat zone on or after Sept. 11, 2001. The program is a “last-dollar award” meant to ensure that these service members do not pay tuition costs if other federal military education benefits fall short. This benefit is available to those earning a bachelor’s degree.

    How to Apply

    To apply, Contact your campus Financial Services Office.

    Oregon Veterans Benefits

    Rhode Island

    The RI National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) provides a tuition waiver for current National Guard members at state public colleges and universities. Qualifying members can receive up to 5 tuition-free classes per semester, excluding books and fees. The waiver can be used in conjunction with GI Bill.

    How to Apply

    To apply, contact the R.I. National Guard Education Office for details.

    Rhode Island Veterans Benefits


    Eligible members of the Vermont National Guard who are in good standing can get free tuition at Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, and Vermont Private Colleges (up to the Northern Vermont University rate). Awards amounts vary by college.

    The total benefits are for:

    • one completed Bachelor’s Degree
    • two certificate programs per term, or
    • up to four certificate programs per year

    How to Apply

    To apply, contact the Vermont National Guard Educational Services Office at (802) 338-3378.

    Vermont Veterans Benefits


    Washington State colleges establish their own waiver programs for eligible resident Veterans. Washington State law allows a waiver for qualified guard members up to the full amount of tuition and fees and participating schools. To qualify, you must be a member of the Washington National Guard called to active duty serving in active federal service (under either Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code) in a war or conflict fought overseas.

    How to Apply

    Each college or university establishes and operates its own Veteran’s waiver program, so it is best to get in touch with the college or university you plan to attend for details on their program.

    Washington Veterans Benefits


    The Wyoming National Guard 100% State Educational Assistance Plan offers eligible National Guard members a 100% tuition and mandatory fees waiver while attending Wyoming community colleges or the University of Wyoming. The plan also covers some tuition and fees for Guard members who attend VA-approved private schools in Wyoming. Guard members may use this waiver to complete one degree or certificate program and may be used along with the GI Bill.

    How to Apply

    To apply, read the program guidelines and instructions and then complete the application online at the Educational Assistance page.

    Wyoming Veterans Benefits

    Written by Team