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 The U.S. Army’s Tuition Assistance Program will continue to provide Soldiers with funds to assist in paying for voluntary higher education courses while the Army works to make improvements to its new tuition-assistance website. This will impact soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington State as well.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a training and mobilization center for all services and is the only Army power-projection platform west of the Rockies.  Its key geographic location provides rapid access to the deep-water ports of Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle for deploying equipment.  Units can be deployed from JBLM-McChord Field, and individuals and small groups can also use nearby Sea-Tac Airport.  The strategic location of the base provides Air Force units with the ability to conduct combat and humanitarian airlift to any location in the world.

As for the Tuition Assistance Program, “Soldiers will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses up to their authorized amount and will have a year to file their claims,” said Col. Charles Rambo, director of Army Credentialing and Continuing Education Services for Soldiers (ACCESS).

To ensure that Soldiers can continue to obtain tuition assistance benefits, the Army has established an exception to policy allowing them to sign up for educational programs through a manual process at Army education centers and offices. These exceptions to policy will bridge the gap while developers diagnose, correct, test and deploy updates to the Army IgnitED platform.

The Army will work with university finance offices to ensure they understand how to input Soldier data to receive correct payments. Army personnel will also maintain contact with the university provosts to explain the exception-to-policy process in order to resolve any issues Soldiers are experiencing.

“I own this problem and take responsibility for it,” said Lt. Gen. Ted Martin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. “I humbly apologize to the Soldiers who have had any financial hardship because of this.”

Martin made a commitment to respond quickly to all Soldier requests for assistance.

During fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 to September 2020), more than 110,000 Soldiers used the Tuition Assistance Program, and during the current fiscal year (beginning October 2020) more than 81,000 used it to enroll in over 255,000 courses.

“Leaders need to guide and help their Soldiers through this situation, and we need Soldiers to keep their leadership informed as they request TA for classes,” said Sgt. Major of the Army Michael Grinston.

Steps Soldiers can take for assistance include:

ACCESS will verify enrollment with the educational institutions and will reimburse them. No Soldier should be paying upfront, out-of-pocket costs associated with their education within the limits of the program.

For more information on ArmyIgnitedED, please contact Maj. Ashley Bain or Mr. Harry Sarles at Army University at ashley.m.bain.mil@mail.mil or harrison.l.sarles.civ@mail.mil.

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