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TA Increase Accelerates Sailor College Degrees

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The June 1 increase in the Navy's Tuition Assistance (TA) funding cap has made an immediate difference in the academic lives of numerous Sailors seeking college degrees.

Announced in NAVADMIN 127/18, the Navy removed the fiscal year limit of 16 semester hours (or equivalent) and allowed Sailors to use TA up to the Department of Defense's (DoD) fiscal year funding cap of $4,500. For Sailors nearing or meeting the prior caps, this change represents a dramatic improvement.

"I was able to use the additional funding for the last class I needed to complete my bachelor's degree," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class David Yip, stationed at Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1 in Quantico, Virginia. "I've been working on my degree for nearly five years now, and really appreciate that the increase allowed me to finish my capstone class in business administration."

Another Sailor who benefited from the TA limit increase was Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class William Caldwell, hydraulics and low observable leading petty officer for Strike Fighter Squadron (VF) 147, based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

"I had tapped-out my TA for this fiscal year, and the extra $500 enabled me to complete a required science class that I might not have been able to afford otherwise," said Caldwell. "There's no doubt that my degree will help me both in the Navy and after I retire."

Under the new cap, TA will continue to be paid up to the current DoD limits of $250 per semester hour, $166.67 per quarter hour, or $16.67 per clock hour up to the total yearly cap of $4,500. Tuition costs that exceed those limits, in addition to course fees, books, and instructional materials, will remain the Sailor's responsibility. 

Chief Navy Counselor Kristie Freeman, Navy Voluntary Education (VOLED) enlisted advisor, recommends Sailors regularly review their education plan and take full advantage of the expanded TA authority.

"Education specialists from the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC) and overseas Navy College Offices are available to discuss the TA increase, and recommend other opportunities to earn college credit, such as College Level Exam Program (CLEP) and DSST® exams offered through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services (DANTES)," said Freeman. "There are numerous ways Sailors can stretch their TA dollars, and we're here to help."

For additional details and more information on TA, see NAVADMIN 127/18 at http://www.npc.navy.mil.

More information can be found by visiting the Navy College Program website: http://www.navycollege.navy.mil/index.htm including how to start the education process, complete required training, submit a Help Request through the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC), initiate a Live Chat session, or review knowledge management articles. The NCVEC can be reached toll free by calling 1-877-838-1659; DSN 492-4684, Monday-Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. EST.

An additional program -- Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (Navy COOL), provides information about licenses and certifications applicable to all Navy occupations, offering resources and funding to help Sailors gain appropriate civilian desired, and in many cases required, credentials.

For more information about Navy COOL, visit http://www.cool.navy.mil/ or call (850) 452-6683.

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