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Tuition Assistance Benefits for Active Duty Marines

Tuition Assistance Benefits for Active Duty Marines

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Last Updated February 2, 2021

Through Marine Corps Tuition Assistance (MCTA), the U.S. Marine Corps offers eligible Marines the chance to further their education with tuition assistance for college degree and other education programs.  As summarized below, Marines must meet certain requirements and follow specific steps to receive MCTA. 

How To Apply for Marine Corps TA

Marines must first contact their Marine Corps Voluntary Education Center to receive counseling on creating an education plan, finding a school, and selecting courses.

Marines apply for MCTA through the MyNavyEducation site. The MCTA application should be started 60 days before the start of the term date. All MCTA applications must receive approval from command.

Requirements To Receive Command Approval

Getting command approval involves meeting a list of requirements. In the first group, the answers to the following questions must be “yes.”

  • If the Marine is enlisted, does the Marine have an end of active service (EAS) date at least 60 days beyond completion date of the requested course?
  • If the Marine is a Reserve component officer on active duty orders, does the Marine have an EAS date at least two years beyond the completion date of the requested class?
  • If applicable, has the Marine been recommended for promotion?
  • Has the Marine completed the MCI Personal Financial Management Course (Course IDMCIZ3420GZ)?

In this second group, the answers must be “no.”

  • Has the Marine received a non-judicial punishment within six months?
  • Is the Marine pending administrative separation?
  • Is the Marine assigned to MOS school or residential or non-residential PME (e.g., Command Staff College, Corporal’s Course, Sergeants Course, or Career Course)?

This summary of requirements is based on available Marine Corps guidance (MARADMINS 765/20). Please contact your Marine Corps Voluntary Education Center for the most current information.

Even if a Marine meets the above requirements, authorization is not automatic. They will need to ensure that they have been given command approval before the MCTA application is sent to the Voluntary Education Center for final approval before the start date of the class.

Marine Corps TA Details

Eligible Marines may receive MCTA if they attend a school that has signed a Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding. Villanova University is on the list of participating schools. MCTA can be used for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs, as well as certain certificate programs. 

MCTA is available to Marine officers and active duty personnel, certain mobilized Marine Reservists on continuous active duty, certain enlisted mobilized Marine Reservists ordered to active duty, and certain mobilized Marine Reserve officers ordered to active duty. Per a 2019 policy change, there is no longer a minimum time in service requirement to receive MCTA.

Marines can receive a maximum of $4,500 of MCTA per fiscal year for 100% of tuition costs, or up to $250 per semester hour, whichever is less. MCTA covers tuition charges, but it cannot be used for non-tuition fees. MCTA is authorized for first-time applicants for only one course, unless the Marine has an associate degree or at least 60 academic credits with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Marines may not participate in more than two MCTA-funded classes simultaneously. Marines who fail to complete a course will be required to return the MCTA funds. To avoid being required to return MCTA funds, Marines must maintain a “C” grade or higher in undergraduate courses, or a “B” grade or higher in graduate programs.   

Per Marine Corps guidance, Marines are eligible to obtain one MCTA-funded certificate during their career. The Marine Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) site connects Marines with certificate programs that can help them improve their Marine service career and make the transition to a civilian career easier. 

Beyond tuition assistance, Marines may also seek financial aid for their education through other means such as Pell Grants, the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, and scholarships. Information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill® is also available from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Information provided as to the availability and eligibility for military or veteran education assistance programs is for general informational use only. Benefit certification depends upon, among other things, your eligibility, enrollment status, and certified program of study.

MCVEC: Visit your Marine Corps Voluntary Education Center for more information on the MCTA program, including eligibility, benefit amount, and application processes specific to your situation.

VA Benefits: Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Education and Training Benefits page for more information. Also, visit the Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) to view which programs of study or courses are currently certified.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at