Guard retains higher ed help - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Guard retains higher ed help

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CAMP BEAUREGARD, La., (KNOE 8 News) – Higher education is still in reach for more than 11,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard under the State Tuition Exemption Program (STEP), even after the recent suspension of federal tuition assistance programs across the military.

The STEP program waives 100 percent of the cost of tuition at Louisiana institutes of higher learning for all National Guard members who meet the program's criteria.

More than 1,500 LANG Soldiers and Airmen have used STEP to further their education this past year alone.

The benefit may be used up to 15 semesters or 20 quarters in pursuit of an associate, bachelor or master degree or whichever occurs first. To use STEP, Guardsmen are required to be actively drilling, domiciled in Louisiana, in good standing with the LANG and in good academic standing with their university.

Guardsmen may also still use their Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, GI Bill Kicker, Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606), Reserve Education Assistance Program (Chapter 1607) or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, if eligible.

"Thousands of Guardsmen have obtained a college degree using tuition exemption," said Maj. Alfred Horridge, the education services officer for the LANG. "We are proud of offer an alternative to the federal tuition assistance program for our service members. Education is a force multiplier."

Last week, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard suspended the federal educational benefit afforded to service members called Tuition Assistance due to sequestration. The U.S. Air Force suspended their tuition assistance for service members March 11.The suspension of federal tuition assistance programs does not affect previously approved TA enrollments.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Louisiana National Guard educational benefits should visit http://www.geauxguard.com/, contact their local National Guard recruiter or call 1-800-goguard.com

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