Changes to tuition assistance include requiring supervisor approval for tuition assistance applications, and some increased restrictions on the types of degrees available for tuition assistance. The fundamental financial benefits of TA are unchanged. (David Vergun / Army)
Tuition assistance is back for fiscal 2014, but under new rules you will need permission from your supervisor to take classes.
The rules are effective Oct. 1, according to the Air Force, which is the first service to announce its tuition assistance plan for next fiscal year.
Requiring approval of tuition assistance requests allows supervisors to talk to airmen about their educational goals and let them know if the time is not right to take classes because of mission needs, said Kimberly Yates, chief of Air Force voluntary education.
“We also want to make sure that our airmen can be successful in the courses that they take,” Yates said. “We don’t want them to get involved in courses they may not be able to finish because the mission is going to take so much of their time.”
For clarity’s sake, the term “supervisor” refers to whomever rates you, said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Erika Yepsen.
There have been no changes to how much you will get in tuition assistance, which classes you can take and who is eligible for the program, but airmen who are on a “control roster” for substandard performance, such as receiving a referral or failing a physical fitness test, cannot take classes until the action against them has been resolved, officials said.
“Airmen may be in a situation where it’s just not right for them to take a class because of other constraints on them, so in order to manage better, the management controls were put on,” Yates said.
In other changes, airmen cannot pursue two of the same type of degree, so if you already have a bachelor’s, you can’t get another one, Yates said.
And if you are taking a language class, the Air Force strongly encourages you to learn a language for which the Air Force needs speakers.
Read more about this in Monday’s Air Force Times.