No Near-term Changes to DOD Tuition Assistance Policy

WASHINGTON — Although no changes to the tuition assis­tance pol­i­cy will be made in the near term, defense offi­cials stat­ed the tuition assis­tance pro­gram will be con­sid­ered as part of the holis­tic review of the mil­i­tary com­pen­sa­tion pack­age.

Cur­rent pol­i­cy pro­vides eli­gi­ble ser­vice mem­bers up to $4,500 in tuition assis­tance. The Defense Depart­ment will pay up to $250 per semes­ter hour for both under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate studies. 

“The depart­ment, in con­sul­ta­tion with the mil­i­tary ser­vice depart­ments, is doing a thor­ough review of all the ben­e­fits includ­ed in the mil­i­tary com­pen­sa­tion pack­age,” said Jo Ann Rooney, prin­ci­pal deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense, per­son­nel and readiness. 

“Our goal is that any announce­ments about changes to exist­ing poli­cies affect­ing ser­vice mem­bers’ ben­e­fits and com­pen­sa­tion will be made after the com­pre­hen­sive review,” she said. 

All mil­i­tary ser­vices are pro­vid­ing input to the DOD review, offi­cials said. If any changes are made to the tuition assis­tance pol­i­cy, they will be insti­tut­ed in a delib­er­ate, thought­ful man­ner main­tain the integri­ty of a joint uni­form pol­i­cy for all ser­vice members. 

Tuition assis­tance is a pop­u­lar ben­e­fit for mil­i­tary mem­bers, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of the ris­ing costs of post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion cours­es. How­ev­er, due to cur­rent fis­cal con­straints, the ser­vices con­sid­er these costs unsus­tain­able, offi­cials said. Even if adjust­ments are made to the pro­gram, they empha­sized that the depart­ment will con­tin­ue to sup­port its mem­bers’ high­er edu­ca­tion goals. 

“Oppor­tu­ni­ties for per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al growth have long been a part of mil­i­tary life, and the Depart­ment of Defense is com­mit­ted to help­ing ser­vice mem­bers pur­sue civil­ian edu­ca­tion while in uni­form,” said Robert L. Gor­don III, the deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly policy. 

Among edu­ca­tion­al offer­ings at mil­i­tary instal­la­tions is access to edu­ca­tion coun­selors who pro­vide face-to-face guid­ance to ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies, offi­cials said. 

In addi­tion, the Vol­un­tary Edu­ca­tion Pro­gram por­tal address­es a full range of edu­ca­tion­al issues from tuition assis­tance and finan­cial aid to infor­ma­tion on more than 1,800 col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. The por­tal may be found at

DOD’s off-duty, vol­un­tary edu­ca­tion pro­grams rep­re­sent one of the world’s largest con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion pro­grams, offi­cials said. About 300,000 ser­vice mem­bers enroll in post-sec­ondary cours­es each year, lead­ing to asso­ciate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doc­tor­ate degrees. 

Col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties deliv­er class­room instruc­tion through an exten­sive net­work to hun­dreds of mil­i­tary instal­la­tions around the world. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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