September 25, 2013
By Cpl. Charles Clark
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Changes to tuition assistance via Marine Corps administrative message 456/13 are slated to be implemented Oct. 1.
The changes ensure Marines are focused on their military occupational specialty and primary Marine Corps mission during their first two years in service, before starting classes.
“Marine Corps leaders, mentors and peers are dedicated to providing every Marine the training, experience and opportunities they need to develop,” said Gerald M. Boucher, the education branch manager at the Education Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp lejeune. “TA is intended to support personal and professional goals of individual Marines.”
The Marine Corps TA funding budget will be divided into fiscal quarters.
Once quarterly funds are exhausted, TA approvals will be deferred until the following quarter. When TA funds are available, approvals will be contingent upon the Marine meeting all eligibility requirements and will be limited to classes beginning during that quarter.
“Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine and Family Programs Division, along with education service officers at each installation, are responsible for the safeguarding of TA funds and ensuring obligation in accordance with established controls,” said Boucher. “As a result, the changes to TA are intended to better manage budgeted fiscal year funds.”
TA requests can now only be submitted within 30 days of the start date of the class.
First-time active-duty applicants are required to have a minimum of 24 months in service and must be eligible for promotion.
Only one class is authorized for first-time applicants, unless the Marine has an associates degree or 60 academic credits and a minimum grade point average of 2.5.
Enlisted Marines must also have an end of active service date 60 days or more after the completion date of the course to be approved for TA.
In addition to the requirements for officers, reserve component officers on active duty orders or mobilization must have an EAS date of two years after the completion date of the requested class in order to be approved for TA.
“In this era of limited funds, these changes help make sure Marines are set up for success by meeting the minimum guidelines for TA usage,” said Richard W. McCormac, an education specialist. “These regulations help ensure Marines get off to a good start in their educational endeavors, while also making sure funds are spent in the most prudent manner for the benefit of all Marines.”
Other requirements for all first-time applicants are to complete the Marine Corps Institute “Leadership” and “Personal Financial Management” courses.
“Education Assistance Branch staff will continue to be dedicated to serving Marines, sailors and family members in their pursuit of an education,” Boucher said. “Education counselors are available to assist individuals with their education choices including providing information about education programs.”
Any open issues in Marine TA accounts, including incomplete courses, reimbursement issues and waivers, must be resolved and posted to the student’s record prior to approval of future TA requests.
Marines are encouraged to participate in all appropriate personal and professional development programs, such as the United States Military Apprenticeship Program and College Level Examination.
“Individual Marines with questions should consult their Education Service Officer. ESOs and the other academic advisors can provide individualized academic advisement,” Boucher said. “Marines will be informed of the full breadth of tuition funding sources and how they can advance their degree plans and academic achievement with appropriate courses and institution selections.”
For more information about TA or other personal and professional development programs, call the education center at 451-3091 or 451-9127.