The Army plans to tighten eligibility rules and cap semester hours for its popular tuition assistance program.

Beginning Jan. 1, soldiers will only be eligible for up to 16 semester hours of tuition assistance-funded courses each fiscal year.

In addition, soldiers who use the program to get a bachelor’s degree will be required to complete 10 years of service before they can use tuition assistance for a post-baccalaureate degree. If soldiers earned a bachelor’s degree without using tuition assistance, they do not need to wait 10 years to use tuition assistance for a post-baccalaureate degree.

Soldiers who were flagged for adverse action or failure of the Army physical fitness test or weight standards will not be able to use tuition assistance, according to reports from the Army News Service.

The new changes will affect all active-duty and reserve soldiers and were made after a “comprehensive review” of the program by the Army. That review came after a year where the program faced challenges related to federal funding.

In March, the Army suspended the tuition assistance program to cope with steep, automatic federal budget cuts, also known as sequestration. The program was later reinstated by U.S. lawmakers in April.

The program was suspended a second time in October, when congressional gridlock shut down the government.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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