State TA / Tennessee STRONG Act

Overview

The Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Act established a program to provide eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard tuition funding toward a first bachelor’s or first master’s degree or a certificate or diploma from a vocational or technical school through a tuition reimbursement program. This program is used in conjunction with Federal Tuition Assistance to pursue professional and personal self-development goals. The Tennessee STRONG Act provides educational opportunities for those who protect and serve our state and country and supports the Drive to 55 goal of equipping 55 percent of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate by 2025.

  • Be currently serving in the Tennessee National Guard
  • Be in good standing with the TNNG
  • Have not attained a bachelor's degree and wish to pursue an associate’s or bachelor's degree
  • Have not attained a graduate degree and wish to pursue a graduate degree
  • Attend a Tennessee college of applied technology (TCAT), regionally accredited community college, 4 year public university, or private school who’s primary campus is located in TN
  • Use Federal Tuition Assistance (if eligible)
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress with 2.0 GPA minimum for undergraduate programs or a 3.0 GPA for graduate programs for the academic term for which TN STRONG Act tuition reimbursement is being requested. For members seeking a certificate or diploma from a vocational or technical program at a public or private educational institution, satisfactory academic progress and either a minimum grade point average of 2.0, or academic good standing, as determined by the institution, if grade point averages are not utilized by the institution, are required to be eligible for reimbursement.
  • Application packets are required to be completed within 45 days of course completion.
  • The funded course(s) meets a requirement listed in your personalized degree plan provided by the school (this can include prerequisite courses).
  • Sign a release statement to authorize communication between the State TA Managers and chosen postsecondary institution on Service Member’s behalf.
  • For eligible members of the TN National Guard, TN STRONG Act will provide reimbursement to an educational institution in the amount equal to 100% of the maximum resident undergraduate or graduate in-state tuition (UT Knoxville tuition rate) charged by the post-secondary institution the Service Member attends, after all Federal Tuition Assistance, scholarships, grants and other financial aid has been calculated.  TN STRONG act is the last-dollar payer.
  • TN STRONG Act will fund no more than 120 undergraduate semester hours or 40 graduate semester hours
  • TN STRONG Act will pay toward one credential at each of the following levels:
    • Associate’s degree
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Master's degree (see info under Graduate Studies Information tab) 
  • TN STRONG Act can help cover certain fees that are not covered by FTA
  • Programs not approved for TN STRONG Act reimbursement:
    • Courses leading to a credential that are lower or lateral to the highest credential you have already earned.
      • Example: if you have a bachelor’s degree (even if you came in the TNNG with one), you cannot use TN STRONG Act to pursue a second bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
    • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or courses that do not meet degree requirements
  • Step 1: Enroll and register with eligible education institution
  • Step 2: Find out about your education institution’s deferment deadline
  • Step 3: Register for classes using FTA at www.armyignited.com
  • Step 4: Complete application packet fully. The School Certifying Official will fill out Section IV, and your Commander will sign off on the packet before submitting
  • Step 5: Submit degree plan after 9 semester hours
  • Step 6: Submit completed application, Statement of Understanding (SOU), proof of FTA usage (or inability to use), proof of Advanced Leadership Training (for graduate program applications), release form, and degree plan to the State TA Managers at:
  • Step 7: State TA Manager will send acceptance (or rejected) letter to the Service Member and the education institution
  • Step 8: Complete all classes and obtain at least a 2.0 GPA for undergraduate studies or a 3.0 GPA for graduate studies.
  • Step 9: Submit unofficial transcripts/final grades to State TA Manager within 45 days of the last day of class (screenshots with student’s name are acceptable).
  • Step 10: Education institution will submit itemized bill and verify any federal and/or state funding. Service members must communicate with their bursar’s office to ensure this occurs within 45 days of the last day of class.
  • Step 11: Service Member will receive a formal approval or denial letter after Advisory Board convenes