The Navy announced changes to Tuition Assistance (TA) program May 21 in NAVADMIN 127/18 that are scheduled to come into effect June 1, 2018, increasing the limit of 16 semester hours (or equivalent) and allowing Sailors to use TA up to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) fiscal year funding cap of $4,500.

Sailors aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) will be able to utilize these changes following the completion of their regularly scheduled deployment as part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

“The changes are designed to expand Sailors’ professional development opportunities and enhance their degree completion timeline,” said Chief Personnel Specialist Carlos Rivas, the education service officer aboard the Iwo Jima. “They support Sailor 2025 initiatives to retain the best and brightest talent.”

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. Tuition exceeding these limits, in addition to fees, books, and instructional materials, will continue to be the Sailor’s responsibility.

“Lifting the fiscal year limit of 16 semester hours and allowing Sailors to use TA up to the Department of Defense’s fiscal year funding cap of $4,500 allows the Sailor to possibly increase the educational load they are able to complete,” said Rivas. “If they pursue education at a more affordable school, the $4,500 allows for more possible classes.”

Sailors must continue to attain a “C” or better for undergraduate courses and a “B” or better for graduate courses to remain qualified for the TA program. Reimbursement will be required from those not attaining these grades.

“With being a member of the military, you need to have a high level of self-discipline to hold yourself accountable for your grades,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Ivory, assigned to Iwo Jima. “You learn that self-discipline in other aspects throughout your career and if you apply that to your education you will succeed.”

Sailors are encouraged to review their education plans to take full advantage of this expanded TA authority as well as other opportunities to earn college credit, such as College Level Exam Program (CLEP) and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST®) offered through DANTES, which can further stretch their TA dollars.

Iwo Jima is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

The Iwo Jima ARG embarks the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and includes Iwo Jima, the transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team 4 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.