New Funding Program Bridges Tuition Gap for Service Members Attending USM


Sean Smith

President Joe Paul speaks during a press conference at the Quinlan- Hammond Hall of Honor on Janurary 20,2023.

The University of Southern Mississippi announced a Tuition Assistance Gap Funding program at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 20, that will help service members cover the gap between federal tuition assistance and remaining course tuition for TA-approved hours  

The Tuition Assistance Gap Funding program will begin for the Fall 2023 semester and can fully cover 15-18 credit hours per fiscal year depending on the branch of service.    

“We are going to provide the money necessary to ensure that their tuition is fully paid for,” said Major Gen. (Ret.) Jeff Hammond, Director of Military Student Affairs at USM. “If you’re eligible, you can receive federal tuition assistance, but that doesn’t pay the complete tuition cost. We’re going to provide that gap difference.” 

The innovative program greatly enhances academic opportunities for Mississippi National Guard soldiers, enabling them to complete their degrees with no tuition costs to achieve greater success in their chosen civilian and military careers. 

“The University of Southern Mississippi is setting a new standard of excellence today supporting our men and women serving in uniform representing all branches of military service. I am grateful to USM President Dr. Joe Paul, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Hammond, and their team, who are dedicated to ensuring military service members have every resource available to achieve their education goals,” said Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi. 

Once eligible military students are approved for federal tuition assistance, the next step is contacting the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families at [email protected] to get started. USM will help students through the process of applying for TA Gap Funding. 

“We are thrilled to offer an opportunity like this to support our military service members,” says Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Dean of Online Learning. “This is one more reason why The University of Southern Mississippi is one of the leading universities for military students in the country.” 

USM Vice President for Finance and Administration Allyson Easterwood, left, listens as MG. (RET.) Jeff Hammond, Director of Veteran and Military Affairs at USM, right, speaks following a press conference at the Quinlan- Hammond Hall of Honor on January 20,2023. Photo by Sean Smith