Tuition Assistance Top-Up (TATU)

Regular Air Force: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

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Tuition Assistance Top-Up (TATU) is an augmentation to the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. It permits the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay a benefit equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance (TA) that is paid by the Air Force for the course, up to the veteran's rate.


Active duty Service members are eligible for TATU if the Air Force has approved them for federal Tuition Assistance (TA). Both of these must be true:

  • You qualify for Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, and
  • The cost of the course and fees is more than TA will cover

To be eligible for MGIB benefits, the service member must be a MGIB - AD participant (enrolled upon initial entry to active duty and paid the $1,200 for MGIB enrollment) and must have served at least two full years on active duty.

Benefit Highlights

The Air Force can pay up to 100% of the tuition and expenses charged by a school up to limits established by the Department of Defense (DoD). However, if the tuition and expenses are more than the amount the Air Force will pay, an Airman eligible for MGIB can elect to receive MGIB benefits for all or a part of the remaining Tuition Assistance written on a post itexpenses. If the Airman is using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, their school will be paid back the difference between the DoD payment and the authorized (approved) maximum tuition and fees. This add-on payment is" Top-Up." Top-Up is limited to 36 months of payment. The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that the service members would receive for the same course if regular MGIB benefits were being paid. In no case can the amount paid by the Air Force combined with the amount paid by VA be more than the total cost of the course. If an Airman receives the Top-Up benefit, their regular MGIB benefits will be reduced. If the service members uses the Post-9/11 GI Bill, this benefit will be charged based on training time no matter how much money you are paid back. Half-time training rates reduce your GI Bill benefit by a half-month for each month you are enrolled. The amount of entitlement charged for Top-Up payments is determined by dividing the amount of the payment by the claimant's full-time monthly rate. Top-Up can apply retroactively, but the service members must be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and VA can only go back one year from the date the claim is received. The claim must be only for training in terms that began on or after October 30, 2000, which is the effective date of the law.

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the Tuition Assistance Top-Up webpage maintained by Veterans Affairs:

Document Review Date: 17 July 2024