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Personnel boss: TA 'not going to be touched'

Dec. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Tuition assistance will not be altered by the Navy anytime soon, according to Vice Adm. Bill Moran .
Tuition assistance will not be altered by the Navy anytime soon, according to Vice Adm. Bill Moran . (Navy)

Sailors worried about losing tuition assistance as part of belt-tightening need not fear — at least for the foreseeable future.

That’s the word from your chief of naval personnel, who has fielded a number of TA-related questions in recent visits to the fleet.

“TA is not going to be touched or changed anytime soon,” said Vice Adm. Bill Moran in a message to sailors issued Dec. 19.

And if you’re hoping to start taking classes early next year, you can start applying for TA now. Anticipating high interest, the Navy has opened up eligibility a few weeks early for next quarter.

While the other services tried (and failed) to cut their education-aid programs early this year — the Air Force and Army tightened up eligibility rules, as did the Marines, although new Marine Corps rules are similar to what sailors face today — Moran said simply, “We don’t plan to cut it.”

His steadfast support of the current program comes after Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said in November the Navy could consider a return to the 75-25 cost-sharing plan — not for 2014, but as a possibility in 2015.

Early registration

The second quarter of the fiscal year, Jan. 1 to March 31, is when the Navy sees the greatest interest in TA funds. To better accommodate requests, the Navy opened applications Dec. 17 instead of waiting until the start of the quarter. Moran said he hopes the extra time “will allow as many sailors as possible to use TA.”

But remember, the TA pot does have a bottom: There’s about $23 million available this quarter, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Sailors and officers and can apply for $250 per credit hour for up to 16 credits per year — a maximum annual benefit of $4,000. For more information, you can talk to an adviser at the Virtual Education Center within the Center for Personal and Professional Development. Call 877-838-1659 or email VEC@navy.mil.

The second quarter early sign-up is a bit of an experiment for the Navy. “We will look closely at how well the early authorization is utilized and how well you like the idea,” Moran said. “If feedback is positive, we will look to do it again in the future.”

One more important reminder: Up to 1,000 sailors may have opted to pay their own way for classes in October, when the government shutdown prevented TA approvals. The Navy is committed to repaying the cost to these sailors, but claims are due by Jan. 31 via email to TA.waiver.voled@navy.mil.

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