WHAT IS ARMY IGNITED AND WHY IS THE ARMY GETTING RID OF IT?
By Meaghan MacDougall
Army IgnitED, also written as ArmyIgnitED and Army Ignited, has been a tool available to thousands of Soldiers to have accessible education opportunities since March of 2021. Unfortunately, the service quickly began to have all kinds of technical issues that still remain unresolved today, leaving the Army to make the decision to get rid of the tool altogether.
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What Is Army IgnitED?Army IgnitED is a resource that is tailored to help Soldiers have unlimited access to educational guidance, support, and opportunities. The service helps Soldiers maintain educational support whether at home or abroad. Army Ignite, another common colloquial usage for the program, is available for all eligible active-duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers. It allows them to be able to request Army IgnitED tuition assistance anywhere for online and in-person classes. It also helps soldiers manage their education records, including college courses, on-duty classes, testing, and Army Education Counselor support. The service is also available for Army civilians to be able to apply for their education, training, and leadership development events. Overall, it was meant to modernize the previous education service the United States Army provided, GoArmyEd.
Why the Army Is Getting Rid of Army IgnitEDAlthough the service provides thousands of Soldiers with the tools to access educational support and opportunities, ever since the service was launched in 2021, it has brought nothing but major technical issues and widespread frustration. As soon as it was launched, thousands of Soldiers began to complain about the service on almost every social media platform. Many of the issues were related to the Army IgnitED login and problems regarding the site not including their college or degree programs. The service also had payment failures, which led to approximately 20,000 students having to pay thousands of dollars in tuition out of pocket. This then led to members of Congress forcing Senior leaders to set up reimbursement programs to pay back the Soldiers. At a recent town hall with Soldiers, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston stated, “A year ago, there was a lot of frustration. Soldiers were paying out of pocket. We couldn’t get logins. There were all kinds of issues. We haven’t fixed them all, we still have a long way to go. We acknowledge right now we haven’t solved all the issues.” Grinston went on to add that he had used tuition assistance and stated that he wouldn’t have his degree without it. Grinston maintains that he is aware this is an important issue that needs to be fixed quickly.
What’s Next for Army Tuition Assistance?For the past year, Soldiers have had to deal with Army IgnitED not working correctly for them, so the Army has decided not to extend their contract with the company when it ends in February of 2023. The Army is planning on shifting from IgnitED Army to BAM Technologies in 2023, according to Army spokesperson Tara Clements. For now, Soldiers are told by service leaders to keep their schools updated on any financial or registration issues due to Army Ignite not working. If you are having trouble with getting your tuition assistance through Army IgnitED, you can get help by submitting a request through SNOW, since the Army IgnitED help desk and Army IgnitED phone number are no longer available on the website.
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