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Army May Cut Key Education Benefits As Service Struggles To Recruit And Retain Troops

The Army is revisiting two education benefits seen as key recruiting and retention tools and used by more than 100,000 soldiers annually as the service struggles to hang on to troops and resources, the service confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday.

Two programs under review include the Credentialing Assistance (CA) program that allotted soldiers up to $4,000 per year to earn civilian qualifications, and the Tuition Assistance (TA) program that helped troops further their formal education, first reported. But, the outlet could not determine what sparked considerations to reduce the programs or whether Congressional dictates forced the Army to move money typically devoted to continuing education toward other priorities.

“The Army recognizes the value of both to support our soldiers’ professional development and readiness levels,” Army spokesperson Bryce Dubee said in a statement to the DCNF. “However, in order to ensure their long-term sustainability, the Army is conducting a thorough review of both programs.”

Education benefits have long been a cornerstone of the Army’s recruiting and retention efforts. Soldiers who qualify for the tuition assistance program, having completed at least one year of active duty service, can receive up to $250 per semester hour for a maximum of $4,500 yearly assistance for undergraduate and graduate courses. In return, they commit to two additional years of service after completing the covered schooling concurrent to their existing service obligation.

The Army spent roughly $278 million on education benefits in fiscal year 2023, according to

The Army declined’s interview requests with service officials, including Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Weimer, who typically oversees matters pertaining to enlisted troops who are the key users of the TA program.

Roughly 101,000 soldiers across all Army components have used TA — first introduced in 1999 and expanded as a recruiting incentive following the 9/11 terror attacks — each year since 2020 at a price point of about $218 million, according to

CA, in contrast, is a smaller program rolled out in 2020 to help soldiers diversify their skill sets and keep them relevant to the evolving needs of the force, the outlet reported.

Approximately 64,500 soldiers have taken advantage of the program since then, earning licenses and qualifications in project management, personal training and piloting as the most popular choices, Dubee told the DCNF.  The cost of the program increased from $8 million in 2020 to $60.2 million in 2023.

Now, the Army is looking to cap the benefit at $1000 a year, not to exceed $4000 across an entire Army career, instead of the previous $4,000 allowance renewable every year, sources with direct knowledge of the plans told

For the second year in a row, the Army missed active duty recruiting objectives by thousands, achieving in 2023 about 55,000 of its 65,000 troop goal. The service is also cutting thousands of empty positions as the ongoing recruiting crisis has robbed the service of enough people to fill those roles.

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One Comment

  1. The Army, along with all other military branches, needs to drop the DIE (yes, that’s how I describe the racist program) altogether. Then they would more than likely hit recruiting levels – easily. They need to focus on military readiness, not false quota levels. No white people want to join a system where they are constantly told that they’re “racist” & that every ill is their fault, simply because of their melanin level. Until reverse racism is killed off, these problems will continue.

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