Marines

Education options still available after tuition assistance stops

31 May 2013 | Lance Cpl. Joshua Grant

Providing a maximum of $4,500 per fiscal year, tuition assistance has helped thousands of Marines to further their education, but due to budget cuts, the program for Marines and the Marine Corps Community Services education assistance is on hold until funding is available.

The hold on tuition assistance applies for future enrollment in college courses. All service members currently enrolled in a course will continue to receive tuition assistance until the course ends.

In fiscal year 2013, the Marine Corps’ budget was cut by $1.4 billion and tuition assistance felt the impact.

More than 29,000 Marines enrolled in tuition assistance in 2012 and 271 earned a degree, certificate or licensure. To date in 2013, 14,280 Marines have enrolled in tuition assistance.

With tuition assistance put on hold, Marines can still pursue a higher education with many options. Education centers aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River offer many possibilities for Marines.

“The centers have counselors to help Marines understand all the possibilities at their disposal,” said Gery Boucher, personal and professional development program, education assistance branch manager, MCCS. “We offer workshops to prepare and assist Marines with any question or need concerning their educations.”

Marines can also apply for tuition money using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA offers grants and federal student loans to individuals who qualify for the program.

The United Service Military Apprenticeship Program helps service members be recognized by civilian employers on trade skills learned while serving. Two hundred and fifty seven military occupation specialties are covered under the program, covering 167 occupations. More than 8,000 Marines enrolled in the program in 2012.

The Montgomery GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill allow Marines to receive educational assistance after minimum service enlistments have ended.

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support provides programs for education and certification that are nationally recognized. It also assists with undergraduate admission tests as well as College Level Exam Program tests that count for college credit.

Service members interested in attending college and do not want to use GI Bills can qualify for grants, scholarships and loans.

For more information on educational assistance possibilities go to http://www.mccslejeune.com/edu/index.html