The Tennessee S.T.R.O.N.G. Act



Support Training and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen
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.


  1. Enroll in Classes.
  2. Determine Eligibility. To qualify for the TN STRONG reimbursement program you must be:
    • Enrolled in an eligible TN public or private institution,
    • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduate students) EACH SEMESTER,
    • Apply for and use FTA if eligible,
    • Be in good standing with and currently in the TN National Guard, and
    • apply for reimbursement within 45 days of the end of course.
    Note: You must earn at least a 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduate students) each semester.  If less than that, no classes for that term will be reimbursed, even classes that were passed.  Repeated classes will also not be reimbursed. 
  3. Apply for FTA If Eligible. If you are a traditional member of the TN Air National Guard or an Army ROTC Cadet on scholarship you can skip this step.  If you are a member of the TN Army National Guard, you must apply for FTA using ArmyIgnitED. This is a lengthy process that takes ~1-2 business days for approval, so get started early, especially if you have never used it before (you can request TA up to 90 days before classes start). You must have approval AT LEAST 5 days prior to the first day of classes. More information on eligibility and on how to apply can be found in the MTSU Daniels Center or in the GAE handbook.
  4. Obtain FTA Verification. Once you have completed the FTA process and received an email approving your TA request, you will need to complete the verification form (“TA Authorization Form”) which can be found under “Other Links” at ArmyIgnitED. More information on FTA verification can be found here. If you find that you are ineligible for FTA, make sure to capture a screenshot showing that you are ineligible and why. This screenshot must also show your name. You will attach either the TA Authorization Form or a screenshot showing your ineligibility for FTA in the email with your TN STRONG application.
  5. Complete Application Packet. You can find a pdf version of the TN STRONG application on the TN Education and Incentives webpage or here.  In addition to FTA, there are several things you will need to complete and gather:
    • You will complete Pages 1 and 3-5 (NOTE: only DOD CAC or handwritten signatures are acceptable.  All other digital signatures will be rejected).
    • Once you have filled out Pages 1 and 3-5, you will send that pdf to your commander to sign at the bottom of Page 1. For MTSU students, the Postsecondary Institution POC is Becky Bussell (Page 5).
    • Page 2 will be completed by the MTSU Bursar’s office. You can submit your request for completion of Section IV- Enrollment Certification Form (Page 2) by clicking here.  The completed Enrollment Certification Form will be sent to your MTSU email address.
  6. Submit Application Packet. Once you have done all of the above steps, you should have a complete packet with:
    • FTA verification (unless in the TN Air National Guard or an Army ROTC Cadet),
    • Your commander’s signature, and
    • Section IV- Enrollment Certification Form.
    You will email your branch all of these documents in pdf form.  The email subject line should be labeled: “Term Year Application Packet” (i.e., “Spring 2021 Application Packet”).
  7. Choose a Deferment Option.
    • Defer. As STRONG is a tuition reimbursement program, students are expected to pay in full or on the installment payment plan and to be reimbursed after the semester by TN STRONG if eligibility requirements are met.  However, MTSU does offer a deferment plan for STRONG students. You may qualify for a tuition deferment if: 
    An acceptance letter from TN STRONG has been received by the Bursars Office before the fee payment deadline.  To ensure that TN STRONG has enough time to process your application packet before the deadline, please submit your completed application packet to your branch as soon as possible.  You can request the Enrollment Certification Form from the Bursar’s Office as soon as you register.
    The Deferment Paperwork must be completed by the fee payment deadline.  The deferment, if eligible, will be processed once the Bursar receives an acceptance letter.  The amount deferred is the total amount of instate undergraduate tuition and fees less any FTA, federal or state funded grants, scholarships or discounts.  The deferment will not cover out-of-state tuition charges, dorm, or meal plan charges.
    No late deferments will be accepted.
    • DO NOT Defer. If you do not or cannot complete the application prior to the fee payment deadline, you are responsible for covering the cost of your tuition and fees in order to confirm registration and will be reimbursed after the term is over and final grades have been submitted. The MTSU Bursar will submit your final grades for you at the end of the term and you will be reimbursed for all eligible classes.
  8. Confirm Classes.  You must confirm or pay any remaining balance due by the fee payment/confirmation deadline.

 More information on Tennessee STRONG can be found here.





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