U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Scott Faddis
Spc. Jody Metzger, a student at
Salt Lake Community College, studies for a biology test.
Draper, Utah- Are you going to college, or have
you been thinking about it? There has never been a better time for members of
the Utah Guard to go beyond their high school diploma.
In the last
year a lot has changed with how the Guard can help military personnel achieve
their education goals. In February 2002, the Utah state legislature passed
Senate Bill 109 which requires the president of each public school to set aside
two and a half percent of the instate waivers he/she authorizes each school year
for members of the Guard. Last year that two and a half percent created 155
waivers for Utah Guard soldiers and airmen.
waivers had a value of approximately $385,000, according to Master Sgt. John
Strong, the education services officer. State waivers are a great improvement,
but there are not enough waivers for everyone who will be going to school next
year. Waivers are available to traditional National Guard members who are
considered Utah residents, are undergraduate students, and will be attending
school full-time for the entire 2004-2005 school year.
order-of-merit-list will be developed for each school. Applicants will be ranked
by institution and by their grade-point average. In May of each year, the State
Board of Regents will notify the Utah National Guard on the number of waivers
authorized at each college/university. "Once we have these quotas, award letters
and school contracts will be sent out to the successful applicants. Applicants
should know the results by the third week in June," explained Strong.
not be enough state waivers for every student that applies. Any student that
does not receive a waiver should apply for Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA).
Although a soldier may not receive a waiver, they can still benefit from the
program because there are fewer soldiers competing for the tuition assistance.
information and an application form for the State Tuition Waiver Program for the
2004-2005 school year will be posted on the Utah Army National Guard Civilian
Education web site (www.ut.ngb.army.mil/education2)
in January 2004.
FTA is an option
for anyone that does not receive the state waiver or does not qualify for the
waiver. FTA is available to National Guard members trying to receive one
credential from each of the following levels: 1) Secondary School (High School)
Diploma or its equivalency (GED), 2) Certificate (undergraduate, graduate,
vocational, technical, licensure), 3) Associate degree, 4) Baccalaureate degree,
5) Master's degree or first professional degree.
FTA will pay up to
75 percent of tuition and general fees and soldiers may receive up to $200 per
semester hour. The total amount of FTA each soldier is entitled to receive in
FY03 cannot exceed 12 credit hours per semester, or more than $4,000 per year.
There is more
information about the FTA, and the interested may complete, an application on
the Utah National Guard web site at
"This year I have
been provided $285,000 (for the 2003-2004 school year). Hopefully that amount
will increase (for next year)," said Strong. "Its first-come first-serve until
it is gone. Our first priority is to get all soldiers to at least a
There is a lot of
assistance available to those that are trying to further their education. There
has never been more money for school available to Utah Guard members than right
now. Contact Master Sgt. John Strong at 801-523-4537 or visit the education web