Air Force Military Tuition Assistance: A Historical Analysis
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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Historically, the purpose and intent of Air Force AF military tuition assistance Mil TA, has reflected the environmental context and has adjusted to meet AF needs accordingly. Congressional interest combined with the current environment of prolonged conflict and economic crisis requires a re-evaluation and subsequent update to AF Mil TA policy. A historical examination of AF Mil TA intent and policy within their wartime, economic, and cultural contexts demonstrated that Mil TA has most often been tied to AF requirements however, this emphasis has decreased over time with recruiting, retention, and Airmen freedom of choice becoming prominent. In addition, program costs have risen exponentially, not only with increasing tuition rates, but also with changes in legislation. Lastly, the GI Bill has also focused on recruiting and retention, thereby providing duplicate efforts between the Services and the Veterans Administration. Recommendations to reduce tuition assistance reimbursement percentages and return to requirements driven Mil TA program may help control costs, while ensuring quality education for Airmen all while meeting more AF requirements.