After you've submitted your TA application/request, the ESO you sent it to will review it for completeness and correctness. Assuming all's well, most ESOs will forward it to the Coast Guard Institute for final processing. (A few ESOs complete final processing themselves.) If it's sent to the Institute, Institute personnel will review it again and if no changes are needed, will generate a TA authorization.
After your request has been approved, you will receive an e-mail from the Navy with instructions on how to download your authorization.
The authorization is a voucher the government issues saying it will pay the amount listed under "GOV SHARE" to the school. Check it over to make sure all information on it is correct. If anything is incorrect, immediately let your ESO know what's wrong and what the correct information is. Your ESO will contact the Institute which will generate a corrected authorization. (ESOs who process TA authorizations themselves will make the changes and generate the corrected authorization.)
DO NOT make written changes to the authorization;
DO NOT give the uncorrected authorization to the school.
If anything on your authorization changes (e.g., if you're unable to register for a course, have to drop one, if the tuition, fees, or dates change) let your ESO know immediately.
You must cancel the TA authorization for a course you aren't going to be taking.
CAUTION: One of the most important things to check is the amount listed on the authorization under "GOV SHARE". Make sure all TA authorizations you've received during the current fiscal year (FY) add up to $4,500 or less. (To make this easier, I recommend you keep a simple spreadsheet log to keep track of TA requests you've submitted and the amount of TA remaining in your annual $4,500 TA allowance.)
Once you're satisfied the authorization is accurate, enter your SSN in the blank in the upper left area of the authorization and sign on the "applicant's signature" line.
Then you'll need to provide it to whomever at your school receives payment for courses (e.g., bursar, cashier, etc.). If you're taking courses from a distance-learning school, check with the school to find out how you should send it to the authorization (fax, mail, scanned document).
The school will apply to your account the amount shown on your authorization under "GOV SHARE". You will be responsible for paying anything shown under "STU SHARE" and any other amounts the school says you owe.
The school will submit your authorization to the Navy for payment and the Navy will pay it – usually within 30 days of receipt. (The Navy acts as the Coast Guard's agent for paying schools.)
Forty-two days after the term end date (as listed on your authorization), a computer-generated letter will automatically be generated and sent to you if you haven't met either of the following conditions:
provided the grade report for the course(s) you used TA to pay for or
advised the Institute (through your ESO) that you weren't taking the course and had that part of your authorization cancelled. (You must do this before the school bill's the Coast Guard for the amount shown on your TA authorization.)
The letter will nicely remind you that you need to provide either a grade report for the course(s) listed on the letter or send payment for the TA used to pay for them.
Thirty days after that, the computer will generate and send out another less-pleasant letter – this time, to your CO.
And thirty days after that, the computer will generate and send you a final letter saying the amount amount TA paid for your course(s) is about to be taken out of your pay.
To get paid for courses you took using TA, your school must bill the Navy for the course using its computerized "Wide Area Workflow" (WAWF) process.
Your school will be paid quickly via an electronic funds transfer if it follows the instructions on using this system. However, some schools refuse to use this system or consider it too cumbersome and are not paid.
Before taking courses from a particular school, consider asking if the bursar's or financial aid staff is familiar with WAWF. If it's not, you might consider providing information about the system and asking if the school is willing to use it. If not (as is the case with Brigham Young University), you will not be able to use TA to pay for courses at that school.
If you’re using tuition assistance (TA) to take college courses, remember that you must provide the grade report for your courses to the Coast Guard Institute within 60 days of the end of the course. If you don’t, you’ll receive a series of computer-generated letters from the Navy (which is the Coast Guard’s agent for paying TA to schools) demanding reimbursement for the courses you used TA to pay for.
To avoid this, provide a copy of your grade report, by e-mail, to your ESO. Please include in your e-mail your employee ID number and the number of the TA authorization which corresponds to the grade report. The TA authorization number is in the upper right corner of your authorization, with three letters followed by the FY in which the authorization was approved followed by a five-digit sequential number, e.g., CGI201300223.
Don't send your whole transcript. Send ONLY the grade report for the courses listed on your TA authorization.
If at all possible (so what the Institute sees is legible), don't scan a hard-copy of your grade report. Most schools, today, make grade reports available on their web sites. If that's the case, bring it up on your computer screen and print it to a PDF file. If you’re not sure how to do this, here’s the process, using a computer that has Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (such as a Coast Guard workstation) installed.
Get the grade report on your computer screen.
Select “File” and “Print” (or press CTRL and P at the same time)
Select “Adobe PDF”
Click on “Preferences”
Click the “Layout” tab
Click on “Print”
Click “Save” after deciding where you want to save the file
Attach the PDF document you just created to an e-mail and send it to your ESO.
If you don't have access to Adobe Acrobat, another way to do it is as follows:
Get the grade report on your computer screen.
Hit the "Print Screen" button on your computer's keyboard.
Open a blank Word document.
Change the margins to zero (or as close to zero as is possible) and the orientation to "Landscape".
Press the CTRL and V buttons on your keyboard at the same time.
Save the resulting document and attach it to a blank e-mail.
Send the e-mail to your ESO.
If you receive an "Incomplete" ("I") for a course, you have six months from the date the term ends to complete the course requirements and receive a passing grade. If you can't meet this requirement, you'll have to repay the Coast Guard for the TA used to pay for the course.
When you receive a tuition assistance authorization by e-mail, don’t just print it out and delete the e-mail. Make sure you also download it to your computer or a CD-ROM.
Why? Although the TA system works well, occasionally you may run into problems related to providing grade reports or repaying TA the Coast Guard spent on a course you took. If you don’t have the information that’s available on your TA authorization, you’ll need to get a replacement copy of it from the Coast Guard Institute. The less often you need to ask an Institute staff person for a favor, the more likely he or she will be to help you out when you do ask for one. This goes for resolving problems like those described above.
By saving all documents related to your education to and from your school, the Coast Guard Institute, your ESO, you’ll be able to reconstruct events if you ever have a dispute.
Also, changes may occur (e.g., tuition changed, a course you thought you’d be taking wasn’t available, the course dates you listed were wrong, etc.) that require you to make changes to your authorization. If you have it available, you can tell your ESO what exactly needs to be changed or deleted from it. This saves everyone time and aggravation.
You must submit a TA waiver request if you don’t think you should be required to repay TA used to pay for a course you took and failed or withdrew from after the deadline.