Military Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance

About military financial aid and tuition assistance

As part of our commitment to providing excellent service to military students who utilize Military Tuition Assistance, The College of Lake County is a signatory of the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU).*

Tuition Assistance (TA) is a government benefit offered to current service members of all branches of the Armed Forces to assist with the cost of tuition. We provide a team of professionals and resources to assist you with your TA funding.

How to Apply for Tuition Assistance (TA) Benefits


Start by contacting your unit’s Educational Services Officer (ESO) or representative.

Keep in mind that the availability of TA benefits varies by command, and every situation is different.

Questions to ask your ESO:

  • What paperwork do I need to fill out to find out if I’m eligible?
  • What documents will I need to provide?
  • What are the dates and timelines that apply?

And be sure to ask your ESO about TA DECIDE, a tool developed by the Department of Defense that gives interested service members access to information about the 2,600+ approved schools eligible for TA, such as average TA costs, course completion and graduation requirements, and estimated tuition and fee amounts.

If you are an eligible service member utilizing TA, we will process your enrollment AFTER your TA is approved by your military service branch. You must contact your designated education service officer (ESO) or military service branch counselor prior to enrollment.

Veteran benefit questions? Contact us:

Veteran Student Services has a team of veteran benefit counselors ready to help you get and use your benefits. If you are a student veteran, service member or dependent, let us help.

Sawicki, Matt
Military-Affiliated Student Outreach and Programs Coordinator
(847) 543-2293

Garoutte, Brian
Financial Aid Coordinator
(847) 543-2063

Financial resource tools

  1. College Scorecard is a consumer-planning tool and resource to assist prospective students and their families as they evaluate options in selecting a school.
  2. College Navigator is a consumer tool that provides school information, such as tuition and fees, retention and graduation rates, use of financial aid, and student loan default rates. It also features a cost calculator and school comparison tool. 
  3. Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is a model financial aid award letter designed to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so they can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school.
  4. Paying for College is a webpage that can be used by prospective students to enter the names of up to three schools in order to receive detailed financial information on each one. It can also be used to enter actual financial aid award information.

Financial aid support

Before offering, recommending, arranging, signing up, dispersing or enrolling service members for private student loans, we provide service members access to an institutional financial aid adviser who will make available appropriate loan counseling, including, but not limited to:

  1. Providing a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
  2. Describing the differences between private and federal student loans to include terms, conditions, repayment and forgiveness options.
  3. Disclosing the institution's student loan Cohort Default Rate (CDR), the percentage of its students who borrow and how its CDR compares to the national average. If the institution's CDR is greater than the national average CDR, it must disclose that information and provide the student with loan repayment data. The most recent 3-year student loan default rate (FY2018) for borrowers at College of Lake County was 9.4%, which represents 39 out of the 413 total borrowers who entered repayment and defaulted during the following 3-year repayment period. The national average loan default rate for FY2018 was 7.3%.
  4. Explaining that students have the ability to refuse all or borrow less than the maximum student loan amount allowed.

Return to tuition assistance (TA) funds

The College shall:

  1. Return any TA Program funds directly to the military service, not to the service member.
  2. Up to the start date, return all (100 percent) TA funds to the appropriate military service when the service member does not:
    • begin attendance at the institution, or
    • start a course, regardless of whether the student starts other courses.
  3. Return any TA funds which paid for a course that is cancelled by the institution.
  4. Return any unearned TA funds on a proportional basis through at least the 60-percent portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based on when a student stops attending. In instances when a service member stops attending due to a military service obligation, the institution will work with the affected service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion.