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 as any other student. 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.
Veterans Total And Permanent Disability Discharge
The Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge is available to release veterans of their loans. You need to have a service-related disability thats documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to qualify and be deemed permanently disabled. Most loans are eligible for forgiveness through this program.
How to Apply for Veterans Total and Permanent Disability Discharge:
Does The Military Pay Off Student Loans
Much like joining the military, receiving a diploma from a college or university is a first-class ticket to opportunity. Many point to their college years as some of the best of their lives, where they were able to meet people and go places they never would have otherwise. Upon commencement and receiving their certificates of completion, graduates can leverage it immediately, working in the fields most in line with their capabilities and ambitions.
How does student loan repayment work for service members? What other college loan repayment programs are there?Can the GI Bill pay off student loans?Can military spouses get student loan forgiveness?The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.
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Join The Military & Drastically Cut The Cost Of College
1.) Join the armed forces after high school and work on your college degree while youre on active duty.2.) Start college as a civilian , graduate with your associate or bachelors degree and become a military officer.3.) Serve in a military reserve branch or the National Guard while youre in college.4.) Apply as a student in a military academy.
Service Academy Advanced Degree Programs
Although there is some variation between the different branches, each of them offers opportunities for officers to obtain a fully funded graduate degree prior to a teaching assignment at the service academies. Officers interested in these opportunities should talk to their branchs respective personnel departments.
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Each Branch Has A Budget And Slightly Different Rules
Each branch of the military is given an education fund by Congress. How they use it is up to them. But I will tell you this benefit has come under the chopping block, and we have seen recent changes to this benefit as a direct result of budget issues . In fact, Tuition Assistance benefits were cut from almost all branches during the sequestration. The benefit was later reinstated, but many people missed out on classes.
New rules limit the benefit on many levels, including who can take classes, when they can take them, which classes they can take, and more. The Marines actually offer their benefit on a first-come, first-served basis. Once they run out of funds, Tuition Assistance is done until the following year. So it makes sense to front-load classes in the hope of using your annual benefit and completing your degree more quickly without having to dip into your GI Bill or pay out of pocket expenses.
All of these limits sound draconian, but they arent. Tuition Assistance is still an excellent benefit.
How To Pay For College When Youre In The Military
As a service member, youre obviously a driven individual whos always ready for a challenge. Whether you’re a cadet or army officer, you know what hard work is and how to tackle it. Thats probably why youre considering pursuing degree programs during or after your active-duty service. And youre not alone. According to a study by the National Science Foundation, roughly 3.7 million college grads had previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces, with nearly 250,000 service members, from cadets to officers, serving and earning their degrees at the same time.
The perks to pursuing a degree program while you are a service member are manytheres the possibility to move up in rank, or speed up a promotion, or even transition into a new career. However, figuring out how to pay for a bachelor’s or master’s degree program may have delayed your plans. Its actually not as daunting as you may think! Many institutions today accept military benefits and offer excellent financial aid programs that cut down on the net price of a degree and can make your dreams of pursuing higher education come true, whether you’re active-duty or retired.
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How Long Do You Have To Be In The Military To Have Your College Paid For
The amount of time you need to serve before the military can pay for college depends on the program that youve signed up for. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you will need to serve at least 90 days of continuous service before you can make use of the benefits.
With the MGIB-AD, youll need to render two years of active duty while in the MGIB-SR, youll have to finish six years in the Selected Reserve or Guard.
Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant
Children and surviving spouses of a servicemember who died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan may be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The grant is similar to a Pell Grant, but is not limited by family income like a Pell Grant is.
Students must meet some eligibility requirements including meeting the remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements except family income and must have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of their parent’s or guardian’s death.
The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year, but cannot exceed the cost of attendance for that award year. For the 201819 award year , the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,095.
A student must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to begin the application process. To maintain eligibility for federal student aid including this grant, students must fill out the FAFSA form each subsequent year in school.
Make sure you also pay attention to the FAFSA Deadline.
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Service Members Civil Relief Act
For any member of the military who took out student loans prior to joining up, the Service Members Civil Relief Act will help them pay off their student loans through a cap on interest rates while they are on active duty.
This rule applies to both federal and private loans, provided that the loan in question was disbursed prior to the borrower starting active duty. As long as you are on active duty, the interest rate on your loans cannot exceed 6%, which can be significant savings for anyone with private student loans.
Borrowers can submit a copy of their service orders to have this rule applied to their loans, or wait until the student loan server automatically applies the cap through regular checks of the military database.
The SCRA is particularly helpful for anyone who decides to join the military after starting or completing their educational program. It can help to keep student loan payments low while a military member is serving our country on active duty, giving them the opportunity to pay down their student loans at a relatively low fixed interest rate.
% Interest During Service In Hostile Fire Pay Area
Servicemembers who are serving in an area designated to receive hostile fire pay are eligible to have interest rates reduced to 0% on federal direct loans originated after October 1, 2008. This eligibility can last up to 60 months but is only good for the actual time spent in HFP areas.
For example, a servicemember deployed for 13 months to an area designated for HFP would receive the 0% interest rate cap just for the 13 months spent in the HFP area and the interest rate would revert back upon exit from the HFP area.
Proof of HFP must be sent to the loan servicer and can include a commanding officers statement and signature, military orders showing service in HFP area, or a leave and earning statement showing receipt of HFP.
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Can I Afford To Go To School While Im On Active Duty
Active-duty servicemembers are eligible for Military Tuition Assistance, the most common form of military financial aid assistance. The program pays up to $4,500 each fiscal year for tuition and other school expenses, aid that can serve as an important motivator for students.
If someone in the military has served long enough, they may become eligible for GI Bill benefits. However, these benefits have a few limitations for those on active-duty. Spittler explains one caveat: the housing allowance isnt available to those still serving.
With the GI Bill, theyre not going to get the housing allowance because theyre already getting that in the military, Spittler says.
The GI Bill is more likely to come into play during active reserve duty when members of the military can use the GI Bill for on-site classes. The GI Bill is also popular among veteran students. In addition, all or part of any unused GI Bill education benefits can be gifted to a spouse as long as the request is completed while the servicemember is an active member of the armed forces.
These financial perks are motivators for active-duty servicemembers to enroll in college, Spittler says. Another financial boost can come from increased rank and pay. For example, Spittler explains if someone is moving closer to a bachelors degree, they do get points toward moving up in the ranks and being promoted to the next rank.
Online Degrees That Build Work Skills
Through a college education, active-duty students can enhance their existing job skills and even advance in rank as they apply what theyve learned to their positions. Spittler explains that a few of the more common National programs known to help military students advance in their careers include information technology management, cybersecurity, and leadership programs.
Some servicemembers choose programs that closely relate to what they are doing on active duty. For instance, many military medics or corpsmen pursue online or on-campus registered nursing programs. While you can serve as a Navy hospital corpsman without being a registered nurse, this educational experience can help you enter the nursing field after active duty.
Other students decide to pursue degrees that dont relate to their role in the military, opting for something that they might consider to be more marketable when they transition out of service, Spittler says. The variety of programs NU offers, more than 75 in all, gives them a lot of options to choose from and the one-month course format is very attractive to a servicemember who may need to pause for a month and then restart classes again.
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How Important Are Athletics
Excelling in athletics is just another way of exhibiting physical strength, something that is crucial for anyone in the military. In addition to being athletically inclined, students will have to take the Candidate Fitness Assessment to show how physically fit they are.
Being involved in school sports, especially playing on the Varsity level, is very important. Coaches can recruit Blue Chip athletes, but that is extremely competitive and candidates will still have to meet all the bare minimum requirements of the academies.
Ellies Tips: Send highlight reels or times to coaches to allow them to familiarize themselves with you and give them an idea of how proficient you are in your particular sport. All is not lost if a candidate fails their CSA. It can, however, be failed only once a year, so do not turn in your CFA score immediately after receiving it.
Have a liaison officer check it out first or look at the average scores to see whether your score measures up. Students who take electives like Band, and not a sport in high school, should still try and sign up for a Varsity level sport because athletic rigor is what the admission officers would like to see.
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Programs
In addition to their service academies, the Air Force, Army, and Navy sponsor Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs at many colleges and universities. ROTC programs provide college scholarships of up to four years to eligible students who apply in high school. Students who are already in college can apply for three- or two-year scholarships, depending on when they expect to graduate.
The scholarships provide full tuition and fees as well as a monthly stipend to cover other expenses. ROTC scholarships require a commitment to participate in training during the school year and for service after graduation.
The Coast Guard doesn’t have an ROTC program, per se, but does offer the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, which provides full funding for up to two years of college.
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Does Air Force Pay For Your College
Yes. Once you join the Air Force, the Air Force Tuition Assistance program pays tuition costs for college classes you take in your off-duty time. This is not a loan and is at no cost to the Air Force member. Using the Tuition Assistance program will not have any effect on the availability of Post-9/11 GI Bill funds.
What Yellow Ribbon Covers
- Business, Technical, and Vocational Courses
- Associate, Bachelorâs, and Masterâs Degrees
- Online, Distance Learning, and On-campus Programs
Remember that under the Yellow Ribbon Program, you will receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Those benefits include an annual stipend up to $1,000 for supplies and books, in addition to a housing allowance based on the E-5 rate where you attend school. You may also qualify for an additional $500 toward relocation expenses, known as the Rural Benefit.
TUITION AND BENEFITS
Tuition under the Yellow Ribbon Program can be fairly complicated. For most veterans attending private school or attending public school as a non-resident, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay the National Maximum, which is $23,672 for 2018 academic year.
Once your benefits reach the National Maximum, the Yellow Ribbon Program can kick in, but not every school participates. To do so, schools must agree to contribute a certain amount each year, matched by the VA. Participating schools also choose how many students they will sponsor each year itâs common to see smaller colleges sponsoring only 20 veterans, while some larger schools place no limit on the number of students who may participate. The VA provides a search tool to help you find Yellow Ribbon schools in your area and discover how much they will contribute.
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Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Military service qualifies borrowers for one of the most popular student loan forgiveness programs Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program forgives remaining federal student loan debt after the borrower makes 120 on-time qualifying payments after October 1, 2007 while working full-time with the military.
Payments made during military service can satisfy part of this requirement if after military separation a veteran enters a job in the public or non-profit sector that also meets the governments requirements. For the program, each of the 120 payments is counted individually, so even if there is a gap in qualifying employment, you can still add up the payments to get to 120.
Note that this program only applies to federal student loans, not private loans. As of 2019, loan forgiveness under PSLF is tax free.
Compare Military Branch Scholarships
The different branches of the military all offer military education and scholarship programs. For example, the Army has a scholarship program for those looking to become chaplains. Also, the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program pays tuition for medical school students and for graduate students in dentistry, optometry, psychology or veterinary medicine programs at any accredited U.S. school.
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