I have some FYI-type information that I thought I’d pass along here. If your spouse is planning on working on a degree while he/she is still active duty, this might apply to you.
My husband started working on his MBA about a year ago through Oklahoma State University. He started the program following the same procedures everyone else does: getting the tuition assistance form, sending it off to OSU, then paying the small balance the Army didn’t cover. But this spring/summer when the Army tuition assistance system went online at GoArmyEd, things changed, and no one was really sure how the new system would work.
What we have learned in the past few months is that, since my husband chose to go to OSU, and since it’s not a school that has a partnership with the military (such as University of Maryland or Embry-Riddle), the rules have changed for him. The Army will no longer pay his tuition assistance at the beginning of the semester; now they pay at the end when the grades have been posted. This is information that would’ve been important to know early on, you know, before we realized we had to pay both summer and fall tuition out of our own pockets. Luckily we were able to make this happen, but I couldn’t help but be a little miffed that no one was able to tell us for months that the system had changed. My husband just kept waiting for the Army to pay OSU! And I thought about how someone could really get into a pickle this way: My husband had to extend his time in service in order to start receiving tuition assistance, and so if we hadn’t had the money to start paying for it out of pocket, he would’ve extended his time for no good reason.
So my reason for writing this post is simply to warn any families that might be considering a school that’s not represented in the local education center to do some research first! You might have to pay for the classes up front and get reimbursed, which isn’t always fun when we’re talking $1500 chunks of change. Just keep this in mind as you make education decisions.