Early Separation to Further Education (School Drop)
NOTE: Not to be confused with voluntary early separation for the purpose of accepting employment.
Soldiers may be discharged or released from active duty for the convenience of the Government, up to 90 days before ETS, in order to attend a specific term at college, university, vocational school, or technical school.
a. Soldiers serving initial enlistments of less than 3 years, members of the ARNGUS or USAR serving on ADT, and former senior ROTC cadets ordered to active duty because of breaches of contract are ineligible for separation under this paragraph.
b. To qualify for early separation, eligible Soldiers must—
(1) Not be mission essential to their assigned organizations, as determined by commanders concerned.
(2) Clearly establish that the specific school term for which they seek early separation is academically the most opportune time for them to begin or resume their education, and that delay of school enrollment until normal ETS would cause undue personal hardship.
IAW AR 635-200, paragraph 5-16.
(3) Provide a statement from an appropriate school official (for example, a registrar or director of admissions) indicating acceptance for enrollment (without qualification or in a probationary status) in a full-time resident course of instruction. The statement must also reflect that the latest acceptable registration date for the school term falls within the 90–day period preceding the Soldier’s ETS.
(4) Show that they are able to pay, or have already paid, school entry fees.
c. The college or university must offer courses of instruction leading to an associate, baccalaureate, or higher degree and must be approved by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The vocational or technical school must offer a course of instruction of no less than 3 months’ duration and must be approved by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
d. The effective date of early separation under this paragraph normally will not be earlier than 10 days prior to the date classes convene, except when Soldiers may be separated up to 30 days prior to the date classes convene if evidence is submitted that the 10-day period is clearly insufficient. This is not intended as authority to permit separation a full 30 days prior to class starting date in every case but to provide a reasonable latitude in justifiable cases to authorize separation on a date that will give the Soldier adequate time to register and enter the school on time. Examples include Soldiers returning from overseas and those who must move their families to the school location.
e. Accrued leave will be used to the maximum extent possible, as transition leave, in conjunction with early separation under this paragraph.
f. For characterization of service, see paragraph 5–1.
g. Commanders specified in paragraph 1–19 are authorized to order separation under this paragraph. The criteria in chapter 1, section VII, will govern whether Soldiers will be released from AD with transfer to the IRR, or discharged.
h. Combining this paragraph with other early release programs to effect separation more than 90 days before ETS is not authorized.