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TN STRONG & FTA

Tennessee STRONG Act

The Tennessee STRONG Act is a reimbursement program for members of the TN National Guard to obtain funding towards a first bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you have signed a 6-year contract and are actively drilling, we encourage you to apply to utilize this benefit.

Prior to the application, soldiers must apply for Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) in order to act in accordance with regulations put in place by the Tennessee National Guard. The section on FTA can be found further down this page. You can also obtain more information about FTA by visiting HERE.

Below are the eligibility requirements in order to receive TN STRONG Act funding. 

  • 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 whose 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.

As a last-dollar reimbursement, the amount of state tuition reimbursement is offset by any other funds received. This includes any other state and federal aid including Pell Grant, TSAA award, HOPE scholarship, and any other tuition-specific scholarship; institutional or otherwise. The tuition reimbursement will be made to the educational institution on behalf of an eligible member for no more than 120 credit hours toward a first-time bachelor’s degree or 40 graduate credit hours toward a master’s degree.

Step-by-Step TN STRONG Act Application

Note: The Office of Military & Veterans Services will submit a TN STRONG Act application on your behalf provided you complete the following steps: 

  • Consult your faculty advisor and register for classes for the upcoming semester. Classes must be in accordance with your declared degree plan
  • Army NG ONLY: If you have not exhausted your FTA (16 credit hours/fiscal year), apply for and submit an FTA request for each individual course that you want FTA to fund. You must submit your request at least 5 business days prior to the course start date. *Print or save proof of submission to include in your TN STRONG application 
  • Complete Section I & II (personal information) and pages 3-5 of the TN STRONG application packets.
  • Submit your application packet to your Commander for review and completion of Section III
  • Submit completed application packet to Carson-Newman school certifying official (SCO) for completion of Section IV
    • Submit by email to militaryaffairs@cn.edu or by hand to the Registrar’s Office
    • Once we have these documents, we will add the SECTION IV page to the application and submit it on your behalf to the appropriate TN STRONG Act manager.

Please make sure to sign, initial, and date wherever required (including getting your unit/squadron Commander’s signature). Any missing information may result in your application packet being rejected in its entirety.

The application packet can be found below:

When the term is completed and final grades are posted, the SCO will complete and submit Section VII on your behalf.

  • Service Member will be cc’d on the email submission

For any questions regarding your TN STRONG Act benefits, please reach out to one of the contacts below:

  • Army Guard: SFC Stephen Biase at 615-313-0737
  • Air Guard: MSgt Joseph Wilson at 615-313-0849

Federal Tuition Assistance

The Army’s Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) program is a benefit for all individuals who serve in the Army, either as Active, Guard or as a Reservist. The maximum amount paid for Federal Tuition Assistance is up to $250 per semester hour, up to either 16 semester hours annually or not to exceed $4,000 per fiscal year. Current Army policy limits TA to 130 semester hours of undergraduate credit or baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first and 39 semester hours of graduate credit or the completion of a master’s degree, whichever comes first. The 39-semester hour limit applies to all credits taken after completion of a baccalaureate degree. 

The deadline for FTA is ten days prior to the first day of the term beginning and the application opens 90 days before the term begins.

If you are planning on using the TN Strong Act and you fail to apply for FTA it could result in the reduction in funding from the TN Strong Act by the amount that would have been applied from FTA.

You can find more information about Federal Tuition Assistance HERE.

How to Apply for Tuition Assistance

If you are utilizing tuition assistance, the access point is the ArmyIgnitED portal. To gain access to ArmyIgnitED, speak with your Army Education Counselor on post.

In order to act in accordance with procedures, always indicate that you are applying for FTA on the Certification Request Form as soon as you have registered for courses. If you wait to request FTA on the first day of the term or later, it will be declined. 

Steps you will need to take in order to request FTA:

First time using FTA or first-time using FTA through ArmyIgnitED:

  • Create an account
  • Select an Education Path (degree plan/major)

Requesting FTA 

  • Once your Education Path has been approved and this office has uploaded your upcoming schedule of courses to ArmyIgnitED, click on ‘Request Tuition Assistance’
  • Select the courses 
  • Click on ‘Add Course’
  • Click on ‘Submit Request’, upload any documentation if needed

**** Please check your email frequently in order to ensure no outstanding requirements remain after your FTA submission. Our office is always willing to assist students in the application process. The PDF presentation below contains detailed instructions on applying for FTA:

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