CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – The Marine Corps offers an array of opportunities for Marines to take advantage of, including tuition assistance for college and certifications.
TA becomes available to Marines after completing 24 months of active duty.
“TA is funding that is available for service members to pay for college level classes that are going towards college level degrees,” said Evan Carpenter, the lead education services specialist with Marine and Family Team Building, Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa.
TA can be used by Marines for undergraduate studies and up to a master’s degree. Students receive $4,500 per fiscal year. TA funding renews every fiscal year which starts Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30.
“There are five terms out here on Okinawa because the classes are eight week courses, so students can take up to 10 classes a year if taking two courses a term.” said Carpenter. “First time TA users can only take one class. Since the classes are condensed instead of the traditional 16 week classes, we tell Marines to take one course to figure out if it corresponds with their work schedule.”
For first time TA users, five requirements must be completed. The first is the completion of the Joint Knowledge Online Higher Education Prep course. It can be found at https://jkodirect.jten.mil. Secondly, the Marine are highly recommended to attend a Marine Corp Tuition Assistance overview or meet with an education center staff member. They must have a general technical score of 100 or complete the test of adult basic education. The Marine can then enroll in a college, request a degree plan and select their first class. After these steps, they must submit an electronic TA application at https://myeducation.netc.navy.mil/webta.
“The process was easy to do,” said Cpl. Erick Loarca, a combat production specialist with Marine Corp Installation Pacific, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “The website has step-by-step instructions for what you need to do and who to submit it to. After that, it’s just a quick waiting period.”
The process is free but Marines have to maintain a 2.0 grade point average or above to use TA. If they fail to maintain their GPA, they lose the TA and would have to pay for courses through other means to raise their GPA. They must get their GPA back up to standards before TA can be reapplied for.
“Anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this program is wasting a lot of time to build their future,” said Loarca. “This is one of the best benefits that the Marine Corps offers us.”
For more information, schedule an appointment with an education services specialist at a base education center.