Tuition assistance provides no-cost college degrees to Airmen

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- While at Edwards, Airmen are encouraged to use tuition assistance to further their education during their enlistment and commission. 

Through tuition assistance, active-duty Airmen are eligible to use tuition assistance to support 100 percent coverage for tuition and fees for courses taken during off-duty hours. 

"Tuition assistance will cover up to $4,500 per fiscal year, and $250 per semester hour," said Michael Frye, 95th Mission Support and Services Squadron chief of education and training. 

Tuition assistance also allows Airmen to obtain their associate's, bachelor's, master's degree or a vocational license. Airmen can also apply for a second associate's with the Community College of the Air Force if it is in a foreign language or area study. 

If an Airman decides to exceed $250 per semester hour, they will to have to pay, out of their pocket, the remaining cost or use Tuition Assistance Top-Up, Mr. Frye said. Airmen must adjust and limit themselves to stay within the spending limit. 

For Airmen who exceed the spending limit, the TA Top-Up allows them to use the Montgomery GI Bill to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by tuition assistance, Mr. Frye said. The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of TA paid by the military. 

"Using Top-Up is great if you plan to use tuition assistance to complete a degree program while on active duty," said Cynthia Morse, 95th Mission Support and Services Squadron education counselor. 

Per quarter on Edwards, between 500 and 800 active-duty members have taken advantage of educational opportunities this year using tuition assistance, Mr. Frye said. 

For more information or to apply, visit the Air Force Virtual Education Center at www.my.af.mil.