CollegeCan I Go To College After The Military

Can I Go To College After The Military


Working Toward A Degree From Ucla

Should I Go to College Before Joining the Military?

UCLA students enroll on a full-time basis and attend daytime classes. Part-time enrollment and evening classes are not an option for undergraduate degree programs. You can enroll part-time at other institutions and apply to UCLA as a transfer student. UCLA Extension offers academic and professional development courses part-time, at night, on weekends and at satellite locations for students who are not seeking a degree.

Due to the high volume of applications from students seeking their first bachelors degree, UCLA doesnt admit students seeking a second bachelors degree.

Resources To Help You Go Back To School

Being a veteran, you have access to more excellent resources than ordinary civilians. Here is a small sampling of them:

Post 9/11 GI Bill

The funding from the GI Bill is in place to help veterans receive job training or go back to school after their military service. For approved programs, the GI Bill provides students up to 36 months in education benefits.

Military Funding for College

Theres a multitude of options when it comes to aid for college. There are scholarships, grants, and loans that are designated specifically for veterans going back to school. For more on these, see part III of our financial aid series.


While in the military, most service members receive training in specialty areas. Through the DANTES program, military personnel can earn college credits for the training and experience they accrue during their service. The DSST , which are free for veterans, will earn you college credit, putting you a few steps closer to your degree. Less time in school means less tuition! For more see our article on .

Military Subsidies for Child Care

If you have children, you can apply for military subsidies to help pay for childcare. This can help you focus on your studies while reducing your costs.

Find Success In College After Military

Preparing for college after military service can feel intimidating, but this advice from veterans who have stood in your shoes can help you make the transition. Using the discipline and other skills youve gained in the military can make succeeding in college easier.

Rasmussen University offers plenty of resources for service members to take advantage of as they pursue their degree. Youve served your countrynow let us serve you. To learn more about how Rasmussen University can help you take the next big step in your life after serving, visit the military benefits page.

1William Hussar and Tabitha Bailey Projections of Education Statistics to 2028 National Center for Education Statistics. May 28, 2020. GI Bill is a registered trademark of the Department of Veterans Affairs.American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association is a registered trademark of Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association.

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Why And How To Pursue Your Degree While On Active Duty

It’s 0500, and you’re up and ready to meet the challenges of a new day. Physical training, working in your military occupational specialty , developing basic soldiering skills you push it all day. It may sometimes seem like there is little time for anything else.

Today, though, more and more active-duty service members are going to school to further their education. Why do they do it? And how?

Establish A Support System Early On

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Odds are that those with military experience under their belt have dealt with their fair share of challenges and difficult situations. While going to college is a certainly more common path than military service, it has its own challenges that require different skills and knowledge than that typically gained within a veterans experience. Establishing a solid support group early into a college experience is an effective way for new students to gain perspective and assistance during their acclimation process.

A support system looks different for everyone, but this can include family members, friends, academic advisors, and even other veterans that may be choosing to pursue a degree as well. Forging strong connections is such a crucial element of any successful mission, and having a support group on your side makes navigating life post-military much easier.

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Making It Work Under Difficult Circumstances

Perseverance and dedication are key characteristics of successful students. Spittler says shes helped hundreds of students, and always loves to hear their stories. A few of them still stand out in her memory.

She recalls advising an online military student who was deployed overseas. He was interested in a masters program at National. She told him itd be a great program for him, but that he needed to take the classes in sequence, without breaks in between. She also told him his options in case he needed to drop a class.

Throughout the program, the student kept in touch with Spittler and, although she knew he was deployed, she didnt know where. Spittler says when a student is on active duty, You cant really discuss where theyre at because of security reasons. I really dont ask.

Wherever he was serving, the time difference was significant, and the student would stay up late in order to call Spittler during her office hours if he needed to speak to her. His ability to focus on difficult coursework while deployed really captured her attention and she praised him for his efforts.

Finally, he arrived at his capstone project, which is the last course in a National University program. Going into the last course, he had all As, but he was upset to receive a B+ in his final class.

She told him not to be so unhappy about the B+, but rather to be proud of what he had accomplished. It was no small thing to transition from one country to another and then to transition home.

More Sources Of College Aid For Active

In addition to the special programs described above, both active-duty members of the military and veterans are eligible for the same types of financial aid that any other student is. Those includePell Grants, subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans, and federal work-study programs.

They also are eligible for numerous state, institutional, and private scholarships, some specifically for current and former members of the military.

To apply for financial aid, prospective students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid . The FAFSA is used by both the federal government and other dispensers of aid to determine a student’s eligibility based on their financial resources. For FAFSA purposes, members of the military are considered “independent students,” which means they dont have to supply information about their parents’ finances.

Active-duty military members and veterans are also eligible for special student loan benefits and repayment options that are not available to other borrowers.

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You’ve Earned Tuition Assistance

Active duty service members, veterans and their families have access to specialized aid through private and public funds. UMGC and Jacksonville University offer tuition assistance programs for any personnel in the Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves. This university helps would-be students coordinate with their branch of the military to secure eligibility for aid. This includes financial benefits reserved for veterans via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill for active duty personnel, which is based on training time.

A number of universities coordinate with the Department of Defense in implementing the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support for both veterans and service members pursuing higher education. The College-Level Examination Program , which is under DANTES, even allows military experience to be translated into college credits via specific college subject exams at zero cost for military personnel.

Space Force Officer Positions

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Here are possible officer positions within the Space Force:

  • Space Operations Officer: Officers in this specialization coordinate space operations and formulate policy regarding military use of space for tactics and intelligence.

  • Cyberspace Operations Officer: These officers track all cyber intelligence and communication. They are responsible for computer, satellite and airborne communications and maintaining effective cyberspace capabilities for the military.

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Dont Take Rejection Too Personally

Finally, McCarty stresses the point that veterans should not take rejection too personally.

A lot of factors go into an admissions decision, and a rejection may not be your fault, he says. Plenty of strong applicants are rejected during each enrollment cycle. Dont let one deter you from pursuing your degree somewhere else.

He recommends that students who had their hearts set on a particular institution inquire about other alternatives.

For example, does that university have a professional college for non-traditional students? Oftentimes, these colleges offer full/part-time programs that can help you build more of an academic history of success. This can be helpful if you decide to reapply for a future semester.

Use Your Military Experience To Propel You To Collegiate Success

Many colleges are embarking on initiatives to meet the needs of student veterans. Most have veteran resource centers and on-campus counseling availableand some even offer customizable programs that can transfer some of your military experience into college credit!

College after military service may present its challengesbut dont worry, you are prepared to take those hurdles head-on. If youre considering jumping back into the life of a student, take a look at 5 ways you can ace going back to college.

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Going Back To School After The Military

Youve spent years serving in the military, defending your values and standing up for your country. After an honorable discharge or a shift away from active duty, youre looking to transition back into civilian life and move on to the next chapter. You know youve gained valuable skills and life experience during your military service, and you want to put those assets to good use in that next chapter. Now its time to take the next step.

If youve thought about going back to school as a veteran, youre not alone: More than 1 million veterans are using GI benefits to pursue a higher education. This guide will outline some of the reasons why veterans like you are going back to school, the financial assistance available, and some potential career options upon graduation.

Discover the following sections of this guide:

  • Why Military Veterans Like You Should Consider Going Back to School
  • Financial Aid, the GI Bill, and Education Benefits
  • Best Degrees and Career Paths for Veterans and Former Military Personnel

Best Degrees And Career Paths For Veterans And Former Military Personnel Going Back To School

10 Pro

Youre leaving the military armed with skills and life experience, so why not put those tools to work? Here are some potential career paths for veterans in college to consider. However, it is important to remember that while a degree can start you down the path towards accomplishing your professional goals, additional degrees, certifications, or training may be required to achieve employment. Remember to consult the requirements for any position before applying.

Degree:Criminal Justice

Skills: Your experience in the military will prepare you to transition into civilian law enforcement. A criminal justice degree can build on that foundation and prepare you to begin the process of entering the world of policing. The logic, critical thinking, and leadership skills you developed in the military will serve you well in this program and its related careers, as will your physical and mental training and toughness.

Career Opportunities: A criminal justice degree can prepare you for work in a variety of fields in law enforcement, including the following professions:

  • Police Officer
  • Border Protection Officer
  • Corrections Officer
  • DEA Agent
  • Air Marshal

Degree:Cyber Security

Skills: Did you spend your years in the military working as a cryptographer, cyber operations officer, or network defender? If so, you might be well-suited for a cyber security program that teaches you how to prevent, investigate, and respond to network security breaches.


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Why Do You Think Some Students Prefer Military Service Over College

Personally, military service made more sense than going to college because at the time, I didnt have family members or relatives who went to college. I didnt have that path laid out for me as an option. I would say thats the case for many students, especially first-generation college students. Many who do not come from a military family and dont have the exposure or support to even consider college decide to join the military instead of going to college. It can also be a good financial option for students. The mindset for these students is financial stability.

College Costs For Medical Professionals

Some of the best financial incentives to joining the military exist for healthcare professionals.

With 4-year medical school costs ranging from $150,000 to almost $400,000, it is no surprise that newly graduated medical professionals are looking for programs the help pay their medical school loans while providing rewarding and challenging experiences.

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The Post 9/11 Gi Bill

The Post 9/11 Bill is available to all vets who served after September 10, 2001, with at least 90 days of continuous service. For most vets, this is the preferred way to pay for college, with more than 80 percent of those taking advantage of their GI Bill benefits doing so through the Post 9/11 Bill.

The Post 9/11 Bill pays all public school in-state tuition and fees, and the maximum benefit that a person can receive will cover the following:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Living stipend
  • Allowance for books and supplies

The actual benefit amount received will vary based on how long the military vet has been in service. For example, if you rendered more than 90 days but less than six months of service, youll receive only half of the maximum benefit.

However, if youve served at least 36 months or 30 continuous days prior to discharge for a service-related disability, youll get the maximum tuition and fees, a monthly housing stipend, and an annual stipend for books and supplies.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can also apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program to supplement the funding you need to attend a private institution, go to college out-of-state, or enroll in graduate school.

Organize Your Application Materials


There is little to no difference between the application process for veterans and civilian applicants, says Andy McCarty, director of Northeastern Universitys Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers. If any difference exists, its most likely on the side of the admissions staff. Theyre looking for students that are going to be successful, but who will also enrich the campus community with their diversity of thought, experience, and background.

Application materials will typically include a letter of recommendation, which you can ask your supervisor or commanding officer to contribute transcripts from your military training and any previous college courses standardized test scores, if required and an application essay.

McCarty recommends investing time into your application essay, which gives you the chance to talk about your experiences and personality in a way that grades dont reflect.

Veterans and servicemembers offer something unique that the admissions staff wont find in most of the other application packages, he says. These essays can provide a refreshing sense of variety. Applicants want to stand out for the right reasons, and talking about ones time in the service is one such way to do that.

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Are Military Dependents Eligible For Education Benefits

Individuals enrolled under the Post 9/11 GI Bill can transfer their benefits to their dependents. If youve served at least 90 days of active duty since September 10, 2001, then you or your dependent can already receive tuition and fees, in addition to a stipend for housing and books.

Family members who have survived a military members passing after September 10, 2001, may also be eligible for the Fry Scholarship, which offers the same benefits.

Common Questions About Going To College While In The Military

While many choose to pursue college after military service, this doesnt mean that currently enlisted officers shouldnt feel comfortable exploring their options during their time in the military. This is a smart option for those on the fence regarding earning a degree and can provide early insight into if enrolling in a full degree program would be a good choice for their futures after service.

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Apply For Benefits Early

Receiving financial support for your education may be necessary, and its important to get a head start on understanding the many options available. One way to fund your degree is through GI benefits, which come in varying amounts of money that must be used within specific timeframes. Receiving your benefits can take as many as six months, so begin researching your options and applying for your benefits as early as possible to ensure that theyre ready for you to use when you start school.

This strategy is also helpful when it comes to scholarships, grants, and federal funding. The Yellow Ribbon Program can cover any tuition and fees not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, for example. For those who do not qualify for the program, Northeastern offers a number of additional resources, such as the Patriot Scholar Program and Ruby Linn Scholarship.

Speak with college financial aid counselors to learn more about what the schools to which you are applying offer, and seek out private scholarships from businesses and independent organizations as well. Applying early to all of these can help you get the maximum amount of financial support possible for your degree.

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