By serving your country in a Reserve capacity you qualify for all kinds of benefits. What you qualify for exactly differs by branch. The Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard currently have Tuition Assistance (TA) programs for their Selected Reserve Personnel.
For the Navy and Marine Corps, there are not dedicated TA benefits for reservists UNLESS you are activated, then you are eligible for the same TA benefits as your Active Duty counterparts. Note: If you are working full time for your Reserve Unit, you are eligible. Navy and USMC are INELIGBLE if you’re solely a drilling Reservist or IRR after you finish your military contract.
Learn more about applying for:
The following sections discuss the specific TA benefits for the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Army Reserve TA Benefits
You must be a drilling Reservist to qualify for TA. If that is you, then the following applies:
- You must be in good standing with your command
- Have a goal for your studies (i.e. earning a degree higher than the level of education that you currently have)
- Have enough time remaining in your contract to finish said program
- Follow all Reserve procedures required by your unit including the Independent Study Course (Warrant Officers, this includes you)
- Enlisted members are eligible for the same as Active Duty Army, which is 100% tuition assistance, up to $250 per semester hour, or $166 per quarter hour, not to exceed $4,500 annually.
- Must be in good standing with your command
- Have a goal for your studies
- Have at least four years left in your contract from the date of your degree completion
- Commissioned Officers eligibility amount differs from Active Duty. You qualify for: 75% tuition assistance, up to $250 per semester hour, $166 per quarter hour, and $4,500 per fiscal year for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree. You may pursue a master’s degree as well but check with your individual drilling unit’s education office for current rates and rules.
To apply, go to GoArmyEd and register using your AKO login and password. Just like for Active Duty, utilizing this benefit is at the will of your Command and the needs of the US Army. Find out how to apply for Army Tuition Assistance.
Additional Army Reserve Education Benefits
We have included this section because it can get confusing when looking at the different Army Reserve education benefits. Many are labeled tuition assistance, so here are a few notes to clarify:
- The Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) is an almost $40,000 educational credit for Reservists serving after 9/11 who have been on at least 90 days of Active Duty service. In order to use this benefit, you must select it and forfeit the GI Bill. You may not use it in conjunction with other education benefits other than the College Fund Kicker.
- You are eligible by joining the Reserve for the Reserve GI Bill– if you do not have enough accumulated Active Duty time you do not qualify for the Active Duty GI Bill. Please note that these are different.
- As a Reservist you are eligible for several Army scholarships and loan repayment programs to use with you TA. Ask your unit’s education office for more information.
Air Force Reserve TA Benefits
The TA benefits for both Reserve Commissioned Officers and Enlisted are in line with Active Duty Air Force policies. Here is an overview:
- The Reservist must be in good standing with their Command
- Enlisted Airmen must have an ETS past the end date of the TA program they have been approved for
- For Commissioned Officers to utilize TA, they must have four years of service still on their contract past the completion date of their TA approved program
- Officers must extend their enlistment each time they enroll in a TA degree level program
- Enlisted Airmen and Commissioned Officers receive 100% for undergraduate or graduate study up to $250 per semester hour or $166.66 per quarter hour up to $4,500 per fiscal year
- This off-duty benefit can be used for academic or technical programs and in-person or via correspondence
The Air Force prioritizes education for both Active Duty and Reservists. Find out how to apply for Air Force TA.
Coast Guard Reserve TA Benefits
As a Coast Guard Reservist, you are eligible for TA, but just like Active Duty Coast Guard, the benefit amount is less than your service counterparts. The following is some basic amounts regarding eligibility and TA amounts:
- To qualify you must be on “long-term” Active Duty orders of 180 days or more
- The annual cap is $2,250 for TA utilization
- To apply, the process is the same as Active Duty and is at the discretion of your Command
- Find out how to apply for Coast Guard TA
As a Coast Guard Reservist you may be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve benefit. This is separate from Tuition Assistance but will come up when you look at education benefits as part of the Coast Guard Reserve. What is important to note is all education benefits are based on type of service and length of service. Always read the fine print and find out what works best for you and your career goals.
Tia Christopher is a proud US Navy Veteran. Christopher’s writing has focused on explaining military benefits in plain language and helping fellow service members transition from the military. Christopher was recognized in 2013 by the White House as a Woman Veteran Champion of Change.
|Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Programs||Navy Tuition Assistance Program|
|Marine Corps Tuition Assistance Program||National Guard Tuition Assistance|
|Army Tuition Assistance Program||Air Force Tuition Assistance Program|