If you are a member of the National Guard and you want to further your education, the Guard offers tuition assistance rograms which can fully fund college courses taken during off duty hours. Before applying for tuition assistance it is important to take any College Level Entrance Examinations (CLEP) for which you qualify. These tests are the equivalent of final examinations for college level courses and passing them will get you the credits without having to take the courses. They normally cost $40 to $50 per examination, but you can apply through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support Program (DANTES) and that fee will be waived. It takes, on average about a month to prepare for a CLEP examination versus three to four months with several hours a week of class time to complete a course. You also save the tuition payment required for that course and shorten the time it will take to get your degree.
Once you have completed your CLEP examinations, you can determine how much college credit you will need to get your desired degree. The National Guard offers tuition assistance for both undergraduate and master's degree students to cover one hundred percent of the tuition cost based on per credit charges of up to $250 and other fees of up to $500. The maximum support is up to $4,500 per year. The program also supports high school or equivalency tuition and fees up to the same limits. It is also recommended that you apply for a Pell Grant to cover any additional expenses. To qualify for this assistance, you must be an active member of the guard and you must present a valid invoice from an accredited school. You must remain active for the full time that you are taking courses and you must commit to serve as an officer for four years after course completion. Programs may vary from state to state.