In order to get National Guard tuition assistance, a person must be in the United States National Guard. Tuition assistance for National Guard members may be available via both U.S. federal and state programs. The benefits available and application process depend on whether the person is in the Army National Guard (ARNG) or the Air National Guard (ANG), as well as the state in which he serves. Typically, a National Guard member starts by seeking tuition assistance from the federal government and then moves on to check for state-sponsored financial aid programs.
The ARNG tuition assistance program is available to men and women who serve in the ARNG part time. To receive this type of financial aid, a serviceman must have active ARNG drilling status, which means he meets with his unit one weekend per month and two weeks during the summer. All servicemen must enroll in an accredited educational institution. Enlisted servicemen must stay in the ARNG for the entire time they are taking classes paid for with National Guard tuition assistance. Officers have to remain on active duty for four years after finishing their course of study.
ARNG members are eligible for federal educational aid as soon as they join the ARNG. They may be eligible for tuition help even before they've begun basic training. If they are activated, these service members become eligible for the Army’s tuition assistance programs.
ANG tuition assistance is available for Air Guard members who enlist for a six-year period. To be eligible, a member must first finish his term of basic training and technical school. He must also be in active drilling status, serving one weekend of every month. If the serviceman is called to active duty, he would then become eligible for the Air Force Tuition Assistance program.
Members of the National Guard may seek state-level tuition assistance as well. Each state has the right to set a different level of National Guard tuition assistance and create specific requirements for those who receive it. The amount of money a state offers for tuition assistance may change at any time, and funding can run out. It is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
A person can learn about the various National Guard tuition assistance programs and requirements in his state by contacting his local National Guard agency. Many states also have official Web sites that provide details about education assistance and other types of benefits. A National Guard member can usually apply for tuition assistance online.