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Military Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance (TA) is a Department of Defense benefit paid to current service members of all branches of the Armed Forces to assist with the cost of tuition. TA funds are a source of financial aid for active-duty military. Those who may be eligible are members of the Armed Forces.                                                                                


These programs may affect your award package. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships prior to submitting your authorization if you are concerned about any award changes. 


How to Apply for Tuition Assistance 

Every branch and component of the military has unique criteria governing Tuition Assistance (TA). These criteria include eligibility requirements, military service obligations, the application process, and any other associated restrictions.  It is recommended you speak with your Educational Services Officer (ESO) or your chain of command within your service area to gather information and receive guidance to request TA benefits.  Participation in this program is for our servicemembers admitted to UC Merced.  A listing of tuition and fees is at



Steps to Apply for Tuition Assistance

  1. Contact Your Education Services Officer (ESO) or Military Counselor:  Reach out to your Education Services Officer or military counselor to understand the TA policies and procedures specific to your service branch.  Determine your eligibility for TA through this initial consultation.
  2. Consult with UC Merced Financial Aid Advisor: Schedule a meeting with a UC Merced Financial Aid Advisor to discuss how TA might impact your financial aid package.  Additionally, inquire about any additional tuition-and-fee specific funding for which you may be eligible.  You can contact them through the link provided:
  3. Meet with UC Merced Academic Advisor: Work with your UCM Academic Advisor to develop and complete an educational plan that aligns with your academic goals and TA requirements.
  4. Inform UC Merced Veteran Services Office: Once your education plan is finalized, notify the Veteran Services Office so the School Certifying Official can enter your program/major and ensure course credit costs are accurately loaded into the appropriate service-specific TA systems.
  5. Follow Service-Specific Instructions: Follow the instructions provided by your military service branch and component on how to request Tuition Assistance (TA) for your courses.  Take note of the TA application instructions/deadline specific to your branch and the UC Merced academic calendar to ensure your request is processed by the fee payment deadline.
  6. Submit your Tuition Assistance Authorization Letter: After receiving authorization for TA, submit a copy of your tuition assistance authorization letter to the UCM Veteran Services Office at  The VA School Certifying Official will collaborate with Student Billing Services and the Office of Financial Aid to process your TA benefits.  Please be aware that it may take 3-5 business days for the benefit to be reflected in your account.  TA serves as the primary payer, with payments being directly made to the university by your military branch.  Any expenses exceeding your eligible TA benefits remain your responsibility. 



Tuition Assistance and Veteran Education Benefits

Chapter 30 Recipients

Active Duty Service members and National Guard and Reserve AGRs are ineligible to receive standard Chapter 30 benefits for courses covered by military TA, except for instances of Top-up.  If a student enrolls in multiple courses, they cannot receive Chapter 30 benefits for those already covered by TA.  However, they remain eligible for Chapter 30 benefits for courses not included under TA coverage.


Chapter 33 Recipients

Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Service members are eligible to receive Chapter 33 benefits for courses covered by military TA.  Depending on their mobilization duration, National Guard and Reserve Service members may receive Chapter 33 benefits ranging from 50 to 100%.  The university will be required to subtract TA benefits from the total tuition and fees reported to the VA, and Chapter 33 benefits are then applied towards any remaining out-of-pocket expenses.


Chapter 1606 Recipients

Effective May 17, 2021, restrictions have been lifted and reset for concurrent use of Federal Tuition Assistance and MGIB-SR (chapter 1606).  All eligible Selected Reserve Service members are permitted to utilize both TA and MGIB-SR benefits concurrently if enrolled in an educational program at least half-time.  However, concurrent usage is not authorized when enrolled less than half-time.