For Current Medical Students And Residents
Medical students using the Health Services Scholarship Program or attending the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences will serve as Second Lieutenants in the Army or Air Force or as Ensigns in the Navy.
Once they graduate and join the rest of the service, they will automatically be promoted to Captain in the Army or Air Force or Lieutenant in the Navy.
Talk Over Your Options
The first step to getting a degree while in the military is talking over your options with your bases Education Office. Every military base has an Education Office, where they can help you decide on your specific path. Some programs will require you to obtain some college on your own like between two or three years. Others will fast-track you to commission as an officer, which is great if you want a long-term career in the military. Typically, educational programs require a longer commitment to the military, but after, you can apply to Officer Candidate School and work towards becoming an officer.
If youre on active duty, its important that you seek a military-friendly school that accepts your benefits and offers night or online classes that you can take in your downtime. You may also be able to talk to your supervisor and figure out a schedule that works for you if youre willing to stay late or work on weekends. Not all supervisors will support your educational path, but it may be possible to shift things depending on your specific role. Some jobs in the Army are more flexible than others.
Additionally, if youre planning to go to college while youre on active duty in the Air Force, you can attend the Air Forces own community college. This can set you up for a career in a related field, as recruits are often still young enough to embark on a different career path when their time in the military has ended.
Military Service Member Turned Career Coach
Thomas Tommy Furlong is a career and academic coach with the Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers at Northeastern University. Hes also someone who understands the challenges of active, reserved, and retired servicemembers who are ready for that next step in life. Tommy spends his days consulting with members in all branches of the military who are pursuing degrees in a variety of programs. But before he was a career coach, Furlong was a military servicemember himself, meaning hes uniquely qualified to answer questions active servicemembers and veterans may have. Tommy regularly shares advice with those hoping to jump-start their career with a degree but is especially passionate about helping servicemembers transition to a civilian career through a Northeastern University education.
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What Should Active Duty Military Students Look For In A College
Experts recommend that students who are serious about pursuing a degree at a military-friendly college look for schools with programs explicitly tailored to active duty service members and veterans. After identifying the major that interests them, students should do some research into the individual resources in place for members of the armed forces.
Schools should have active supports in place that help military students feel like an essential and welcome part of the campus community, as well as the academic and financial assistance needed to help them succeed in their studies. They will also want to ensure that the University provides additional resources to help them as they transition through graduation and move into their chosen careers. Talking to other Veterans on campus can be especially helpful when it comes to making the right choice.
Be Flexible With Your Educational Options
Each school is different and may or may not understand how the military operates. Ideally you will want to find a school that offers night classes, online learning, or non-traditional course schedules so you can attend on a regular basis. It also helps to attend classes at a military friendly university. You may have to compromise with your choice of schools or your degree plan if you want to attend classes while on active duty, but depending on your career goals, it may be worth the compromise.
Its important to know how you will pay for classes. Hopefully you will be able to participate in your services Tuition Assistance Program. This is how I paid for my college degree. Keep in mind that the amount of Tuition Assistance hasnt kept pace with the increased costs of college tuition, so you may have to figure out how to pay the balance. It may be possible to do this through a combination of scholarships, grants, additional tuition assistance from the school, or by using your Montgomery GI Bill to pay for the difference,* or paying out of pocket.
*Many people prefer to save their GI Bill until after they leave the military, or they may wish to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their family members. Be sure to give this some thought. Your GI Bill is one of your most valuable military benefits.
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How To Navigate College
Many active-duty service members and veterans face challenges to earning a degree, such as an education gap between high school and college. These learners may need assistance honing research, math, and writing skills, which are essential to college success. Fortunately, military-friendly schools often provide academic resources such as tutors and advisors with military backgrounds. Online learners can often access these services as well.
Prospective students can explore resources designed to help them excel in school. The Warrior-Scholar Project offers 1- to 2-week academic boot camps emphasizing STEM fields, business, and the humanities. Professors from top universities such as Princeton and Yale lead in-person and virtual sessions simulating the college experience. Shorter programs train women business leaders and help future degree-seekers hone study skills.
For veterans, earning a degree may involve overcoming psychological trauma. Organizations such as Real Warriors encourage veterans in need to start therapy. Real Warriors’ services include an emergency hotline and directions to the closest military treatment facility. The organization also offers articles detailing mental health issues that veterans commonly experience, such as anger, grief, and sleep deprivation.
Pursue Your Degree While You Serve
As you consider college while serving in the military, gather information about degree programs to maximize your time and the benefits that come with serving.
1.U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Military Careers.” Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/military/military-careers.htm . This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.2.VA, “GI Bill®.” Retrieved from: https://www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill/ .
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.1374662 11/18
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Active Duty Health Professions Student Loan Repayment Program
Health professionals who are also on active duty can qualify for $40,000 per year toward your student loan debt for up to 3 years if youre serving in the dental, medical, allied health, nursing, or veterinary corps while on active duty. You can also be eligible for up to $50,000 in total loan forgiveness over 3 years if youre in the reserves for those professions.
What Loans Qualify for Active Duty Health Professions Student Loan Repayment?
- Stafford Loans
- Supplemental loans for students
How to Apply For Army Student Loan Repayment:
Contact an Army recruiter to learn how to apply, find out whether youre eligible, and learn more about what active duty service in the Army entails.
Distance Learning Options Outside The Military System: Pros And Cons
The nature of online education allows military members and spouses the option of simply signing up for an online degree program at the college of their choice without the limitations of on-base options.
Distance learning at overseas military bases will, when administered in the local area, feature classes that meet at regular times for that part of the world. There may be programs aimed at those who do shift work depending on location. In general, students will find that the locally-hosted programs that meet in person or require online attendance will meet at typical times of day. Choose your online courses based stateside making allowance for the time zone difference and be sure it aligns with your familys schedule.
Pursuing an online degree in a different time zone is easy to accommodate for some students schedules, but the time delay factor is a serious one for many students. It cannot be taken lightly when choosing a program. Thats one compelling argument for looking at the local degree programs offered at the military base first.
Another issue is internet connectivity. Depending on the quality of your connection at the overseas location, you may or may not experience technical issues at times with classroom attendance that is half a world away. Know what to expect from your equipment, connections, and connection speeds before you commit to taking classes administered in real-time from a U.S. time zone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Military
Military schools such as the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy serve current and future service members. Enrollees receive free or mostly-free tuition, plus room, board, and benefits. Benefits usually include dental and medical care. The U.S. Airforce Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy also cover enrollees’ tuition, room, and board.
Military-friendly online colleges usually accept military financial aid programs such as the GI Bill. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lists GI Bill-approved schools. Some military-friendly colleges participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps military and veteran students pay for education costs that the GI Bill does not cover.
The Tuition Assistance Top-Up program supplements the Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance Program and may refund tuition for military students. Consult the Department of Veteran Affairs for education and training benefits information. You can also read our guide to financial aid for military students and student veterans.
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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Job Training During Military Service
An enlisted service member spends much of their first year training for their military occupational specialty their military job. Many of these positions are similar to civilian jobs.
A wide range of trades and services from electricians to nurses to musicians is needed by the military. Many earn civilian job certifications as part of their regular military training. Air Force combat controllers, for example, get FAA certifications, just like civilian air traffic controllers.
Defer Your Payments While On Active Duty
You can defer your student loan payments while on active duty and for 13 months after you return. The government will pay the interest on your Direct Loans and Federal Stafford Loans . You wont have to worry about interest accruing while youre not making principal payments.
If you have an unsubsidized loan, then you wont be able to have your interest paid while in deferment.
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Lower Your Payments With Income
Apply for an income-driven repayment plan while youre on active duty so that you wont pay more than necessary in comparison to your income. These plans could bring your payments down to as little as $0 per month.
The Heroes Act Waiver is also there to help, because youre not required to submit proof of income while in active duty. That means you can maintain low payments even if your income increases.
Can You Go To College While Serving In The Military
A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
If you serve in the military and are thinking of moving forward in your education, then it is possible to pursue a degree while continuing your service. Online programs and military-friendly schools offer flexibility to help active military students balance higher education and service obligations.
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The Active Duty College Student
For Davila, getting into a college program was one thing, balancing all his responsibilities was quite another. Corporal Davila quickly found that pursuing an education while remaining on active duty was a significant undertaking. Thankfully, his Marine Corps training and his natural talents have allowed him to thrive under the pressure and manage the grueling workload.
Sure, Im an active duty Marine, explains Eduardo, but our military education center has me going to school all day and I continue to build my skills. Im at work by 7 am every day, working with six other Marines to provide ground support for the aviation wing. Were really busy. But the Marines Corps is giving me the time and flexibility to pursue my classes while doing my job.
At the same time, Davila has been working diligently on his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree at National University. The program links business and technology and focuses on the crucial information systems needs of corporations: data communications, systems analysis, system development, database management system, project management, enterprise architecture, IT infrastructure and IS strategy, management, and acquisition.
The ability to take classes online and the highly flexible nature of the month-long class schedules available through National University have permitted Corporal Davila to manage his Marine Corps duties, his ongoing technology training, and his educational pursuits.
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences
Another option for those with a college degree who want to become military health professionals is the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, located in Bethesda, Maryland.
The schools mission is to educate, train, and comprehensively prepare uniformed services health professionals, scientists, and leaders to support the Military and Public Health Systems, the National Security and National Defense Strategies of the United States, and the readiness of our Uniformed Services.
Doctoral and Masters programs are available in a variety of fields. To be admitted, students must have completed a 4-year degree but do not need to be currently serving in the military.
While many new students have prior military service, it is not required for admission.
While at USU, students are in the active duty military and are compensated appropriately.
Students do not pay tuition but are obligated to 7 years of service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or U.S. Public Health Service after graduation.
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Going To College While In The Military
Always a curious kid, Eduardo Davila temporarily left his family without the use of a camera. Carefully wielding a tiny screwdriver, the 8-year-old removed the cameras casing then proceeded to painstakingly disassemble the intricate mechanics found within. Meticulously arranged across his bedroom floor, the array of sensors, lenses, and circuit boards presented a puzzle. Just how did the push of a button evoke a group of pixels to capture a soccer game or birthday party? How did the thing work?
Davila recalls his early fascination. I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Yonkers, New York. My parents came to the United States from Mexico before I was born. We didnt really speak English in the house and we struggled financially. I fell in love with computers, probably as an outlet. I knew I wanted to do something big. I wanted to contribute and I saw technology as the way to do that.
Davila eventually figured out how the apparatus functioned and returned the reassembled camera to his parents. But the exercise didnt satisfy the boys inquisitiveness. Rather, it just bolstered his love of all things related to technology. Its a passion he has nourished over the years, seeking every opportunity to further his understanding of computers and software.
Paying For College As Active Military
Active-duty service members can pursue many options to help finance a college degree. Tuition assistance programs, the GI Bill, and private scholarship opportunities can make college an affordable investment. Eligibility criteria vary, but the list below features some financial aid programs for service members. Learners should consult their prospective school’s financial aid counselors for more information.
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