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Department of the Air Force restores previous military tuition assistance cap and AF COOL funding

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Department of the Air Force restored military tuition assistance to $4,500 per fiscal year and Air Force Credentialing Opportunities Online preparatory course funding for fiscal year 2021, effective immediately.

The Air Force noted increased usage of tuition assistance since the start of COVID-19 and continuing into the new fiscal year.

“We are excited our members are taking advantage of their time under COVID(-19) to improve themselves and pursue education. The Department of the Air Force was able to reprioritize funding to encourage our service members to maximize their development through these educational benefits,” said Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “The Department of the Air Force is committed to education and to the continued professional and personal growth of our Airmen and Space Professionals in support of our nation's defense.”

As a result of the reinstatement, both programs will resume the same benefits as before. 

For military tuition assistance, Airmen and Space Professionals are eligible for up to $4,500 per fiscal year and a maximum of $250 per semester hour or quarter hour equivalent to cover tuition and allowable fees. For
AF COOL, funding for preparatory courses, also known as boot camps, is restored. AF COOL funding limits remain at $4,500 per life-time.

“Voluntary education and military tuition assistance programs continue to be important to the development of our force,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. “I’m glad we were able to take a look at the budget again and allow our Airmen to focus on self-improvement, especially during a time where our world has become increasingly virtual during COVID(-19).”

Additionally, Department of the Air Force officials noted comparing school costs, utilizing other resources such as Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support’s (DANTES) subject standardized tests (DSST), college-level examination programs (CLEP), pursuing Community College of the Air Force degrees and other funding sources, such as scholarships and grants, all help maximize education benefits.

"I am thankful for great leaders who put service members first," said Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, senior enlisted advisor of the United States Space Force. "I couldn't be happier to see us enable the best growth, education, and development possible.”

For more information, consult Air Force Instruction 36-2670, “Total Force Development."

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