NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Air Force tuition assistance program changed its policies on Jan.3 to emphasize the importance of Airmen maintaining a 2.0 grade point average and a 3.0 for graduate level degrees.
“The tuition assistance program is set up to assist our Airmen in getting their degrees,” said Alice Patton, chief of education and training at Nellis Air Force Base. “With this program students will get $4,500 a year or up to $250 per semester hour.”
The new policies are set in place to ensure Airmen are focusing on school and are dedicated to further their education without misusing the program.
“The Air Force decided they were going to emphasize GPAs to help students maintain a C average,” said Patton. “Otherwise Airmen would just be wasting their time as well as Air Force funds.”
Policy changes include those pertaining to waivers, missing grades and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for undergraduates and a 3.0 for graduate levels.
“When they originally made the policy, waiver actions were common for people who had to withdraw from the class due to deployment, illness or failure,” Patton said. “For failure of a class the student would pay back the money for the class and the F would not be counted towards the GPA.”
“As of Jan. 3 the Air Force has reversed that policy and now we count all grades used with the TA program,” said Patton. “If any classes are failed for any reason the student must pay for those classes.”
“Students must also have all grades turned into the education office no later than 60 days after a class has ended to avoid paying out of pocket for the class,” added Patton.
Consequences for low GPAs and missing grades can be detrimental to an Airman’s education.
“Airmen must have a 2.0 GPA after 15 semester hours of coursework and continue to maintain it,” Patton said. “If it is not maintained, your records will be locked, tuition assistance will be denied and you will have to pay to take classes to bring your GPA up to a 2.0. After the GPA is brought back up, TA will be available to you again.”
Although these policy changes will be a new pace for Airmen trying to further their education, TA counselors are available to guide future students in the right direction.
“Apply early, get started in school and take the first class, because that’s the hardest part,” said Patton. “Come in to the education center and see us.”