Sailors’ feedback prompts change in Navy’s tuition assistance policy
ARLINGTON, Va. — Sailors spoke and the Navy listened.
Now sailors with less than a year left in the Navy can once again get tuition assistance for higher education courses.
The move reverses one of the belt-tightening measures announced last year when the Navy restricted eligibility for its tuition assistance program, which provides sailors with up to $250 per credit hour for up to $4,500 per year.
At the time, the program had gone way over budget after the Navy increased the number of semester hours per fiscal year for which sailors could receive money from 12 to 16.
One of the changes was that sailors with less than 19 years of service and less than a year left before leaving the Navy could no longer receive tuition assistance.
But then the Navy got an earful from sailors.
From August 2007 to January 2008, the Navy’s Task Force Life/Work conducted a series of “road shows” at which the task force talked to sailors about how they balance work with life, said Lt. E. Hope Brill.
Tuition assistance was one issue that came up at the road shows, said Brill, of the Office of Women’s Policy, part of the Chief of Naval Personnel Diversity Directorate.
One sailor from Oceana, Va., said tuition assistance should be for available to sailors for their entire careers, Brill said.
Another sailor from Kaneohe, Hawaii, said it was unfair to take away tuition assistance from sailors with less than a year left in the Navy, she said.
And a sailor from Kingsbay, Ga., said the change made it impossible to get a degree before retiring, Brill said.
“After listening to the direct feedback from the Fleet, senior Navy leadership decided to revise the policy to allow use within one year of EAOS [End of Active Obligated Service],” Brill said in an e-mail Friday.
In a Feb. 12 Navywide message, the Navy announced sailors with less than a year remaining before leaving the Navy could use both the tuition assistance and the Navy’s distance learning programs.
The Navy continues to solicit input from sailors on the tuition assistance program, said Sharon Anderson, a spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel.