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‘Educational Dollars for Duty’ helps pay tuition for Florida Guard

If you are a Florida National Guard member pursuing a higher civilian education level, you may be eligible for state funding to help pay up to 100 percent of your tuition.

The “Educational Dollars for Duty” (EDD) program is available for Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, and can provide public tuition for the period of the Guard member’s service. If you meet the eligibility requirements, EDD can be used for courses that lead toward a Technical Certificate, Associate’s, Baccalaureate or a Master’s Degree. EDD cannot be used toward a Doctorate Degree.

This EDD program is established by Florida Statutes, and the primary purposes of the program are to enhance the Recruiting and Retention Programs of the Florida National Guard and improve the education level of Florida National Guard members.

“One of the great opportunities the Florida National Guard has to offer is being able to continue our education – not just to obtain a higher education level – but to build our knowledge base for the National Guard and life itself,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw said. “Our state program ‘Educational Dollars for Duty (EDD)’ can provide a tremendous boost to your efforts.”

For those qualifying for the program and attending Florida community colleges and public universities, tuition will be paid at 100 percent of the charged resident rate. For those attending accredited private institutions, EDD will provide funds at the average current state resident rate, and Guard members will be responsible for any difference between what EDD pays and the charged rate.

Commander of B Company, 53rd Brigade Support Battalion, Capt. Kimberly Quinn used the EDD to attain a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Florida. Currently she is using the program to help fund Masters in Education (M.Ed.) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degrees in Mental Health Counseling.

“I have used EDD since I transferred into the Florida Army National Guard from the US Army Reserves in January 2008,” Quinn explained. “I used this benefit to pay for my college tuition throughout both undergraduate and graduate studies.

“I received about $11,000 in EDD for the last year and a half of undergraduate schooling,” she added. “For my Master’s, the FLNG’s Educational Dollars for Duty has saved me nearly $40,000 in tuition!”

Quinn’s husband, who is also in the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, has also used the EDD funds for his schooling. As a family, they have saved more than $80,000 in tuition using the program and have no debts from college loans.

Quinn said she routinely tells her Soldiers about the benefits of the EDD program during in-processing into her company.

“This is an opportunity for them to advance their education and careers,” Quinn said. “The EDD program within the state Education Office is user-friendly.”

For more information on the EDD program and requirement information, please contact the State Education Program Administrator Mr. Andy Rusnak at (904) 823-0351 or andrew.d.rusnak.nfg@mail.mil.