Scholarships And Financial Aid
In addition to federal tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits, active-duty service members can pursue funding from organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Many organizations sponsor scholarships for enlisted personnel and veterans.
Degree-seekers planning to enlist after graduation may qualify for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarships. These awards pay up to full tuition for qualifying ROTC members.
Learners attending one of the best online colleges for military degree-seekers can also apply for private scholarships and grants. Many organizations offer merit-based and need-based aid for military students. Application deadlines and requirements vary by award.
Prepare For The Asvab Test
Be prepared to study for the ASVAB test. Studying for the ASVAB is crucial to qualify for more military branch options and careers. Dont stress out too much though, if you take the test and wished you had scored higher, you are able to take the test again. Also, if you have a college degree, you may be able to enlist at a higher rank.
If you have children, you will need a guardian who is willing to provide care while you are away. You will attend basic training and your schooling, on a full-time basis, away from your family. Even if joining the reserves, you have to complete basic training and your tech school. Each military branch basic training length varies and tech school length depends on your career choice. Some schools are as quick as eight weeks, while others are one year long.
Benefits And Eligibility For The Post
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 3 years of education benefits. If your release from active duty was before January 1, 2013, then you must use the benefits within 15 years. If your discharge date was on or after January 1, 2013, the time limitation has been removed.
There are higher education programs that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program that may make additional funds available to you without a charge to what youre entitled to with the GI Bill. You may also receive payments for a monthly housing allowance, annual books and supplies stipend, and a one-time rural benefit payment. If youre attending a private or foreign school, then tuition and fees are capped at the national maximum rate.
The Montgomery GI Bill extends educational benefits to any active duty member of the military who served for at least 2 years of active duty. This also extends to veterans of any branch of the military. You receive up to $1,857 each month for educational expenses, as long as youre enrolled full-time. You cannot transfer these benefits. If youre in the Selected Reserve, then you receive up to $368 per month in exchange for a 6-year obligation of service to the reserves.
The two programs under the Montgomery GI Bill are as follows:
You can apply by filling out an Application for Education Benefits.
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The National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program
The National Guards Loan Repayment Program benefits cap out at $50,000 in total loan forgiveness, but eligibility is a bit more stringent than that offered by the other military branches, as enlistees must enroll with eligible jobs and a six or eight year initial enlistment agreement.
National Guard SLRP is also available to current members of the Guard who extend their enlistment contract for at least six years, meet eligibility requirements, and score high enough on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test.
Community College Of The Air Force
The Community College of the Air Force is an accredited two-year college open to enlisted Airmen. The CCAF offers nearly 71 different associate degree programs in many scientific and technical fields including computer science technology, avionic systems technology, air and space operations technology, allied health sciences, paralegal services, information management and more.
Every CCAF degree requires courses in your technical job specialty, leadership/management/military studies, general education and physical education. You can accumulate credits while you’re on active duty at Air Force technical training schools and when you enroll in colleges near your duty station that offer accredited courses. Enlisted members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are also eligible to participate in the CCAF. The school also awards credit for exams offered by DANTES, CLEP and the Defense Language Institute.
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What Service Has The Best Bonuses
Retention bonuses for all services can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is a combination of a $90,000 career field bonus plus other retention incentives. With the career field bonus and other incentives, enlisted airmen can receive up to $360,000 in total retention bonuses. The Space Force is following the Air Force structure for now.
These bonuses apply to active duty. The reserves and National Guard also offer different bonuses and other incentives such as increased education benefits for in-state tuition expenses.
The bonuses listed here are current as of publication. Keep in mind that even if a military service authorized bonuses for the current fiscal year, they will not continue filling the positions or paying the bonuses once theyve filled their quotas.
The best way to look at bonuses is to understand they are fluid and meant to address shortfalls in manning and encourage retention. They can and do change often.
If maxing out your bonus is your goal, speak to recruiters of all six services to figure out which will offer you the best deal at that time.
Which Military Branch Pays The Most
All members of the military, regardless of which branch you serve in, are paid according to their rank, time in service, location of duty station, family members and job specialty. The lowest-ranking enlisted military service member, whether a U.S. Army Private or a U.S. Navy Seaman Recruit, has a pay grade of E-1. The highest-ranking officer, regardless of branch, carries a pay grade of O-10.
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Military Tuition Assistance Program
It is our privilege to extend a tuition discount to all active military personnel. Heres how it works.
- Members of active duty components of the U.S. Armed Forces will receive a discounted tuition rate of $250 per semester credit hour. Additional fees that are part of the cost of attendance such as capitol fees, technology fees, and lab/class fees are not included in this tuition discount.
- This benefit may not exceed 18 credit hours or $4,500 per fiscal year .
- The $250 per-credit rate aligns with the $250 per-credit benefit offered by the Armed Forces Tuition Assistance program.
- When the Penn College Military Tuition Assistance Program is paired with the Armed Forces Tuition Assistance program, active military component members are eligible to pursue college credits at Penn College tuition free.
- These benefits are considered ‘gift aid’ because the money received generally does not need to be paid back. Eligibility is determined by many factors we encourage you to determine if you qualify.
Should I Join The Air Force
The Air Force is one of the most well-funded branches of the US military, and its core missions include:
- Air and Space Superiority
- Global Strike
- Global Integrated ISR
While serving in the Air Force, youll sometimes feel like youre working more in a corporation than in a branch of the military.
Some even liken it to being on a college campus, with more discipline of course.
The Air Force has bases all over the world, with some of the larger ones in the US being:
- Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio
- Joint Base Texas
- Edwards AFB California
Depending on your job in the Air Force, you actually have the option to list which base you would like to serve at on a dream sheet.
to learn how to join the US Air Force.
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Military Branch College Funds
Each branch of the military offers its own financial aid or tuition assistance programs. These are commonly referred to as “kickers”, and are used as an incentive to recruitment. This assistance is highly competitive and contingent upon an enlistment of at least six years in the military. Applicants must also score in the top 50% of enlistees taking the ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
If you meet the qualifications, the benefits can be substantial. After the Montgomery G.I. Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, these college funds can increase your aid to as much as $70,000 in the Army and $50,000 in the Navy. These “kickers” are an addition to the G.I. Bill, and not a separate benefit. Further restrictions and requirements apply, but if you are prepared for the six-year commitment, this may very well be an excellent opportunity to find those much needed college funds.
Navy Tuition Assistance Details
Sailors are limited to 12 semester hours of tuition assistance per fiscal year.
The Navy caps funding at 120 semester hours for the entire career of a sailor.
You can begin the application for tuition assistance through the Navy College Program Portal.
It also helps to contact an education counselor through the Navy College Office or Virtual Education Center.
Start your application at least 30 days in advance before the first day of class.
The U.S. Army covers up to 100% tuition and fees through its funding program.
Army tuition assistance is available to active duty, ARNG on active duty, and Army Reserves.
The amount covered cannot exceed:
- $250 per semester hour
- $4,000 per fiscal year
The Army also limits the tuition assistance to 16 semester hours per year.
Army TA is good for assistance with tuition, enrollment fees, lab fees, computer fees, and special fees.
The TA policy states that Army personnel cannot exceed 130 semester hours of undergraduate credit or 39 semester hours of graduate credit.
The 39 semester hour limit applies to any credits taken after completion of a baccalaureate degree.
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Whats Coast Guard Basic Training Like
All Coast Guard basic training is conducted at one location in the US: Cape May, New Jersey.
Growing up in New Jersey, Ive been to Cape May several times.
I can tell you this, its not the part of New Jersey that most people think of when they think of NJ.
Its actually a very nice part of the state, and just so happens to be a popular vacation destination.
Like the other branches of the military, Coast Guard boot camp lasts 8 weeks, and the very first thing youll be tested on is your physical fitness.
Heres a handy bullet-list for whats expected for both men and women:
While boot camp is located on the beach, its certainly no vacation!
Throughout boot camp, seaman recruits will do things like:
- Physical training
Before you graduate boot camp, youll be required to pass the PT test as well.
After boot camp, Seaman recruits will then be assigned to one of the many bases throughout the country.
Additional Resources For Military Education Support
If youre considering attending school during or after your service, plenty of questions will come up along the way, even beyond how the military pays for college. Your main source of information for all things related to military education is the US Department of Veterans Affairs. These links to the military branches and other sources regarding the military may also be helpful:
It can be challenging to reintegrate into civilian life after service, and the military pays for college as a way to help with the adjustment. The decision to enlist comes with loads of responsibility and life changes, but if you are absolutely sure the military is for you, rest assured that your academic dreams are possible too!
If you want to get a college degree but remain unsure about joining the military, consider going for other affordable options in higher education: you can look into community colleges, public colleges, trade schools, or cheap universities around the country.
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College Benefits For Veterans
The original GI Bill of Rights sent millions of World War II veterans off to college in the 1940s and ’50s. Since then, generations of vets have benefited from that program and its successors.
Today, there are multiple versions of the GI Bill:
- The Montgomery GI BillSelected Reserve , described above
- The Montgomery GI BillActive Duty
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill
Still in the process of being implemented is the Forever GI Bill , which further expands many benefits.
Veterans who were honorably discharged may be eligible for either the Montgomery GI BillActive Duty or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The VA states that veterans with multiple periods of service who are eligible for both must choose one or the other and that their decision is irrevocable.
However, a recent court ruling says eligible vets do not have to choose between the two bills. If that decision holds, it could allow a qualifying veteran to receive benefits from one GI bill for the maximum of 36 months and then use the other GI bill to receive additional months of benefits. The decision is pending a possible appeal by the VA, so stay tuned.
Educational Dollars For Duty Florida National Guard
The State of Florida has an independent Tuition Assistance Program. The Educational Dollars for Duty program is available for Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and can provide public tuition for the Guard members service period. Contact the Florida National Guard Education Services Office. Once approved, please provide your EDD Authorization Form to the Bursar’s Office on the Lee Campus.
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Should I Enlist In The Military To Pay For College
Enlisting in the military is a life-defining decision that only you can decide for yourself. Youll need to go through strenuous training as a recruit before you become a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine. After that, you may find yourself enlisted in new locations that are far from home.
Although the military does pay for college, thats certainly not reason enough to join. You can also consider other affordable options for your education. From finding grants and scholarships to minimizing your college expenses, there are plenty of alternative ways to pay for college.
Whats A Typical Day Like In The Marines
Depending on the job and where youre stationed, a typical day in the life of a US Marine can vary dramatically.
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For simplicity, well examine the day to day life of one of the most popular MOS in the Marines: Infantryman.
When not involved in an active war , a typical day for an infantryman might look something like this:
0500: Wake up and get dressed for physical training .
0515 0545: Team, squad, and platoon formation. This is the time that everyone essentially forms up to get ready for the mornings events.
0545 0615: Company formation. All platoons in the unit will join up and report to the company commander, company 1st sergeant, and gunnery sergeant.
0615 0815: Physical training. This changes daily, and can be everything from a 10 mile run, practicing hand to hand combat, and stretching and calisthenics.
0815 0900: Break for showers, shaving, and breakfast. As youll see, you dont really have a lot of time for this.
0900 0930: Back in formation with your company. Throughout this time, your company commander will discuss any vital information with the company.
0930 0945: Break out into your individual platoons. Here the platoon commander will essentially discuss the days events.
0945 1200: Work on the days tasks with your squad. This could be everything from cleaning and maintaining weapons, to more PT.
1200 1245: Break for lunch.
1315 1800: Back to work / PT.
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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.
What Is Tuition Assistance
Tuition Assistance is a program where active duty, National Guard, & Reserves can get extra money to help cover their tuition costs. Your service branch will pay the tuition to the school, based on a few limits.
Find an in-depth explanation of what tuition assistance is here. Then depending on your branch, youll want to read the specific rules for Air Force, Army, Navy, USMC, Coast Guard, & National Guard/Reserve Tuition Assistance Programs.
CollegeRecon is a military education and transition resource. We provide online tools and actionable info to better understand your Post-9/11 GI Bill and military and veteran education benefits programs.
Find info on top online degree programs for military using their Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as ways to pay for school such as scholarships for military and veterans. We can also assist you through your transition with certificate, training, and career options after you leave the military.
CollegeRecon is built exclusively for veterans, active military, the National Guard, Reserves, military spouses and dependents of the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and DoD to assist in their education journey.
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