Tuition Assistance (TA) Alternatives During Suspension

Updated: March 17, 2021

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    Due to sequestration Tuition Assistance (TA) has been suspended.  However, even though Tuition Assistance has been suspended education goals can still become a reality through alternative methods.  Here are some alternative options toward continuing an education as well as other options that are being pursued to provide relief to those impacted by TA suspension.

    tuition assistance alternatives

    Photo by Lance Cpl. Michelle Brinn

    Tuition Assistance Covered by Colleges and Universities – Some schools, such as Capella University, are covering Tuition Assistance (TA) for existing military students.  Many colleges and universities extended varying types of relief and others are currently considering.  Check with your school to see if they are offering any TA relief.

    Military Discounts & Scholarships – Many colleges and universities offer military discounts and scholarships in addition to the education benefits funded by the DoD.  Discounts can be as high as 50% off tuition but vary greatly by school.

    Pell Grants – Pell Grants are needs based grants to low-income undergraduate students.  Grants are determined by the U.S. Department of Education.  Other grants are also available.

    Scholarships – Both the federal government and nonprofit organizations offer money for college to active duty personnel.  Criteria varies and CareerOneStop provides a scholarship search tool.

    Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) – Dante’s provides education alternatives to service members who cannot attend classes or schools due to work schedules, duty locations that do not permit class attendance.  High school, college, technical, or vocational courses are all available via methods such as textbooks, video, audio tapes, internet, email or TV.  Tuition assistance is subject to specific service policies but can be 100% funded for tuition and fees. There is also the DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) which can earn a service member college credit.

    College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) – The CLEP, Credit by examination, program allows people to earn college credit by taking exams on any 38 college level introductory subject examinations.  Exams are funded through DANTES and could save thousands of dollars towards a degree.

    Post 9/11 GI Bill® – Active-Duty military can utilize these benefits while still on active duty, once qualified.

    State and Local Financial Aid – Check with state and local governments for financial aid provide to active duty military personnel.

    Visit your local education services center to find out more about available options.

    Pending Legislation to Protect Tuition Assistance

    Federal Legislation – Both Democrats and Republicans have joined forces to propose legislation to force the DoD to fund tuition assistance programs.

    State and Local Legislation – State and local governments have proposed and considering options to help service members.  For instance, New York has proposed the Commitment to Military Education Act which would provide tuition reductions for eligible service members attending SUNY and CUNY schools affected by the TA suspension.

    Sequester Talks – There is also the possibility that the federal government will come to an agreement on the sequester as it becomes more punitive the longer it’s in effect.  This potentially would lift the tuition assistance suspension and reinstate TA benefits to all.

    See this video for more on TA alternatives.



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    Written by MilitaryBenefits

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