With full activation of the service’s new voluntary education portal (Army IgnitED) still running behind schedule, the Army has implemented a temporary measure that will allow soldiers to use their Tuition Assistance (TA) benefits for classes starting later this spring and in the early summer.
Late last week, the Army announced an Exception to Policy (ETP) that provides a work-around for the TA issue. With soldiers still unable to request those benefits in the new portal, they can still register for classes, provide required information to their school and receive TA to cover the cost.
“This is good news,” said Gary Pounder, Assistant Director for Veterans Recruiting, Retention and Advising at TNCC. “It gives soldiers a way to access their TA benefits while contractors fix the issues that have delayed activation of IgnitED.” Pounder said Thomas Nelson is prepared to assist any soldier who wants to take classes during the upcoming summer term, by collecting needed data and reporting it to the Army for payment.
The process, he explained, is fairly simple. Soldiers can enroll in summer classes on their own (using the TNCC portal) or with the assistance of an academic adviser. Once their enrollments are confirmed in the college registration system, they should provide the following data to the military team representative (firstname.lastname@example.org) or have their adviser report the information. Required data includes:
- Soldier’s full name (first, middle, and last) and rank
- Soldier’s School ID Number
- Class catalog acronym/number, class name (Example: CST 100, Principles of Public Speaking; BIO 141, Human Anatomy and Physiology I)
- Class start and end dates
- Total class cost (tuition only, no fees)
- Total Semester Hours
Information collected for summer enrollments by soldiers will be compiled by TNCC and submitted to the Army for processing and payment.
Pounder reminded soldiers—and other active-duty military students—to request a “Do Not Drop” hold be placed on their accounts after registration. That prevents students from being dropped from their classes if TA payments are not received from the Defense Department prior to the college payment deadline. He encouraged all students using TA to check with their academic advisers after registering for each term to ensure the hold is in place, since payments from the military often arrived after the TNCC deadline.
He also emphasized that the announced “Exception to Policy” only applies to Army personnel using TA. The other military branches have their own systems for requesting and approving tuition assistance and they are unaffected by the current Army situation. Members of the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard using TA for the summer session should follow normal procedures for accessing those benefits.
Once the tuition assistance function is active in Army IgnitED, soldiers will use that system to request their benefits and perform other education-related functions. However, no timetable has been released for when the new portal will be fully operational.
Soldiers with questions about registering for summer classes at Thomas Nelson should contact the military team at (757) 825-2938.