Paying for School

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The cost of college is something that you need to be prepared for. In addition to tuition, you will need funds to cover fees, books and supplies. There are many programs sponsored by the Navy and other organizations that can help you to make affording school possible. Be sure to explore all your options before taking out a student loan.

Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance (TA) is the Navy's educational financial assistance program. It provides active duty personnel funding for tuition costs for courses taken in an off-duty status at a college, university or vocational/technical institution, whose regional or national accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more about the steps and processes required to receive tuition assistance, visit the Tuition Assistance section of this site.


Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) is responsible for executing and administering Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE).

NCPACE offers participating Sailors high quality learning opportunities and experiences from post-secondary institutions accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education. The objective of NCPACE is to provide shipboard personnel with educational opportunities comparable to those available to shore duty personnel. Tuition is funded 100%. Students are responsible only for the cost of textbooks and related materials.

For more on eligibility and resources for NCPACE, visit the NCPACE section of this site.

Tuition Assistance Top-Up Program

Top-Up is a program that allows GI Bill participants to use their GI Bill to supplement the tuition not covered by tuition assistance. The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the tuition cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course.

Using Top-Up benefits may be an option if you plan to use TA to complete a degree program while on active duty, and don't plan to continue your education after service. Top-Up can also be helpful for just taking a few courses with TA while on active duty; then you can save most of your GI Bill benefits for after service to complete your education program.

Top-Up is limited to 36 months of payments. For example, if you are paid Top-Up for a three-month course, you use three of your 36 months of eligibility.

The amount of this benefit can be equal to the difference between the tuition cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course. To be eligible for the Top-Up benefit, you must be approved for federal TA by a military department and be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. For more information, see the VA's Education and Training small square with diagonal arrow extending from it page.

Navy College Fund

Title 38, United States Code, Chapter 30 is the law governing the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Program. It allows the services to offer to increase the MGIB basic allowance at the time of initial entry onto active duty, for an individual who has a particular skill or specialty and is entering a rating in which there is a critical shortage. Navy exercises this option through the Navy College Fund small square with diagonal arrow extending from it (NCF). The amount of money the service adds to the basic allowance is referred to as a "kicker."

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Level Examination Program small square with diagonal arrow extending from it (CLEP) offers a series of 33 exams that let you earn college credit for introductory-level classes – the kind most often taken in the first two years of college. Credits for successful scores on CLEP exams are accepted at 2,900 colleges and universities.


The DSST small square with diagonal arrow extending from it is a series of 39 exams that allow you to earn credit for upper- as well as introductory-level college courses. These exams are recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE), and the credits are accepted at more than 1,900 institutions.

Special Programs Based on Service Component

There are other programs that you might find useful, depending on your service component (Enlisted or Officer). You can read more about them by clicking on the links below.

Defense Language Institute (DLI)

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center small square with diagonal arrow extending from it (DLIFLC) is DoD’s premier school for culturally-based foreign language education and training, with classroom instruction, mobile training teams, and on-line materials tailored for students at all levels of required proficiency or performance. The institute is attended by members of all four branches of the military and select individuals sponsored by their agencies.

Federal Financial Aid & Pell Grants

Scholarship Programs

For Spouses: My Career Advancement Account

The My Career Advancement Account small square with diagonal arrow extending from it (MYCAA) is a workforce development program that provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or associate degree in a portable career field and occupation.