Military And College: 7 Reasons Active
Posted July 12, 2019 by Greg Lindberg
Enlisting in the United States military is often a dream-come-true endeavor for many men and women who go on to admirably serve our nation and protect the many freedoms we take for granted each and every day as Americans.
While there are some who enlist and serve for an entire career, the majority of service members move on to a civilian life with many years worth of time for higher education and working life. This is why active-duty military and college education can make for a great marriage. Check out the reasons an active member of the armed forces should seriously consider attaining a college degree.
National University Seeks Motivated Students
Advisors at NU look for military students who are motivated, focused, and want to do better in life. These students may not have been successful in the classroom before entering the military. But military service can change all that.
A lot of students go to different schools and dont do well because they dont know how to balance military commitments, Spittler says. But she explains when theyve been in the military for a while, theyve learned discipline and accountability, and have developed the motivation to move up in rank. So all of this makes a difference when they decide to return to the classroom. In the application process, their high school grade point average is not as important as their current level of motivation, according to Spittler.
While a student with a low high school GPA may be embarrassed when they first approach an advisor, Spittler says she and her colleagues are understanding and will ask: What is different now?
In an interview process, the advisor gathers information and asks questions that help the student determine their reason for seeking more education, and to help understand if they are ready.
She finds that, most often, prospective military students are usually ready and prepared for the challenge of college after serving in the military for a year or two. Additionally, the educational benefits theyve earned help ease the decision.
With all that lined up, Spittler adds, So why shouldnt they go to school?
Using Your Gi Bill Overseas
Did you know that you can use your GI Bill outside of the U.S.?
With a few minor differences from those using the GI Bill stateside, you can go to a college on an overseas military installation using your GI Bill, you can even go to a foreign school off-base with your GI Bill. Let’s look at how it works.
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The Montgomery Gi Billselected Reserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Montgomery GI BillSelected Reserve program offers education and training benefits for members of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, or Navy Reserve, as well as the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
In limited instances, service members may also be able to receive benefits after leaving the Selected Reserve.
The maximum benefit is currently $384 a month for up to 36 months of college or other education.
How To Choose A College Or University While In The Military
Members of the military who attend online universities can take part in classes anywhere and anytime however, not all programs are equal. Finding an online degree program built to help service members succeed is essential for active-duty personnel, especially those serving overseas.
Even if your intention is to advance your career in the military, then pursuing a degree may still be beneficial. Furthermore, if becoming an officer interests you, then youll likely need to earn a bachelors degree.1
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Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Getting a degree in the Army or one of the other branches of the military is particularly hectic during active duty. For this reason, many people choose to wait until theyve finished serving. Nonetheless, higher education is possible as long as you take a slow approach.
Dont think you have to stress yourself by taking four classes a semester while working full-time. CLEP and DSST exams can get you six or more credits a semester, and you can extend your education through many years without penalty.
You may also want to enroll with a fellow active duty recruit, a close friend or a spouse. Teaming up can help you stay on track and provide motivation when youre already exhausted from working all day.
What Was The Driving Force Behind Your Return To School After Serving In The Military
The driving force in me was to become a better Joseph Asbery once I left the Army. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from my combat tours, as well as dealing with several toxic leaders towards the end of my military career. Emotionally, I wasn’t in a good place and nearly became another veteran suicide statistic. After several months of therapy and a lot introspective thought, I was back on track. Once I left the Army in 201, I was determined to rebuild myself. Moreover, landing a federal job just 10 days after I left the Army was a good start.
Entering FEMA, despite having the perfect skill set for the position, I wanted to know more about emergency management, so as I attended a college that complimented my new profession. My initial goal was to just to earn a master’s degree but my brother, Dr. David Asbery, graduated with his doctoral degree. Rather than getting a second masters degree with the remainder of my GI Bill, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree too. Also, I could not let my brother pass me up.
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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?
Montgomery Gi Billactive Duty
To be eligible for college funding through the Montgomery GI BillActive Duty , veterans must have served at least two years of active duty during certain time periods and meet other criteria listed on the VA website. In most cases, they must also have paid a total of $1,200 into the education program while they were serving.
If they qualify, they can receive up to 36 months of financial assistance toward college. As of October 2020, the maximum monthly benefit was $2,122 a month for full-time students or a total of $76,392 over the three years.
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Join The Air Force Out Of High School
When you join the United States Air Force with your high school diploma or GED, youre automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force. So youll automatically begin working toward your associates degree in applied science in one of five career areas: aircraft and missile maintenance, electronics and telecommunications, allied health, logistics and resources or public and support services. With a unique combination of on-duty and voluntary off-duty courses, youll earn college credit just for reporting for duty, learning your job and getting started on your career.
GET YOUR DEGREE, LEARN TO LEAD
What Do You Notice To Be The Driving Force Behind Veterans Pursuing An Education After Service
In my conversations with veterans at Tulane over the years, I’ve gleaned that military service helped them develop a better understanding of who they are and brought awareness of their capabilities. In these cases, students sought an education that allowed them to provide value around this military-forged, more mature sense of themselves. This personal growth acts as a source of confidence and a motivator for veterans to seek an education that is commensurate with delivering their talents to society.
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A Patriotic Way To Pay For School
Radio.comLooking for more military-related information?Contact a recruiterMilitary.comIf youre a military veteran, check out these Veteran Scholarships that will help you pay for school.Are you a spouse or child to a current or veteran military member?College Scholarships for Military Children & Spouses
Civil Engineer Collegiate Program
If you are interested in pursuing important civil engineering projects around the world, consider the Civil Engineer Collegiate Program. It provides:
- Up to $139,000 while finishing your degree
- A regular monthly income ranging from $2,900 to $5,800 for up to two years prior to your graduation
- A generous military salary
- A food allowance
- A housing allowance that is based upon the location of the school you attend
- Comprehensive military health care benefits
There will be no uniforms, no drilling requirements and no service obligation until you graduate. From there, youll begin the process of being commissioned as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer. Learn more about Civil Engineering career opportunities in the Navy.
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Combining Service And Education
There are a range of academic options that active-duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, and airmen can take advantage of, including online programs, military academies, military sponsored community colleges, and regional and national universities.
The advantages of earning a degree while enlisted revolve around the total cost of your education. Active-duty service members can take advantage of up to $18,000 in tuition assistance, paid over four years. When combined with federal aid, state aid, and scholarships, there is a distinct possibility that the aid you receive will be enough to cover the bulk, if not all, of a four-year education.
The drawbacks to earning a degree while on active-duty involve the pursuit of excellence amidst the stressors of active service and the rigors of your academics. While the military prides itself on allotting time for service members to pursue a degree concurrently with service, earning one may not always be a practical affair.
Collegiate study can be incredibly time consuming, with mandatory class time and a suggested two hours of prep for every hour spent in class. And while you may want to strike a balance between active-duty service and education, your commitment to the military takes precedent. Active-duty service members always face the possibility of immediate deployment with little or no warning, and certainly without regard to your class schedule.
Can You Take Time Off After Ait
Prior to the end of your training at AIT, you can file the necessary paperwork to take leave after AIT.
During your training, you will earn paid time off at the rate of 2.5 days a month.
You can use your earned time to take leave prior to reporting to your first duty station.
This has to be approved, and the most common length is 10 days.
The Army also has a program called Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program .
After completing AIT, soldiers will go to their hometown recruiting location for up to 14 days to share their experiences throughout the community.
This program allows individuals to spend time at home after AIT without using their paid time off.
Not all individuals will qualify for the program, so if this is something you would like to consider and you meet the requirements, performing well during Basic Training/AIT will help your chances.
You can find the details here.
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Military Tuition Assistance Program
Active duty recruits who plan on getting a degree in the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard may be able to get financial assistance through the Military Tuition Assistance program. This is meant to cover 100 percent of tuition expenses for active duty recruits and can be used for:
- Undergraduate programs, including bachelors or associates programs
- Graduate programs
- Independent study
- Distance-learning programs
Of course, there are stipulations and maximum allowances and the amount given hasnt kept up with soaring tuition rates. All programs must be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, and the military will pay your tuition directly to the school. You can receive up to $4,500 per fiscal year, which doesnt exactly cover the cost of every degree, but you can spread out your higher education over time to lessen your financial burden.
Transferring To The Army Reserve
If you are interested in transferring from Active Duty to an Army Reserve unit, contact a Reserve Component Career Counselor near you. All Active Duty installations have an RCCC team, which is usually located near a Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program office.The RCCC teams staff Army Reserve and National Guard career counselors who will be able to assist you in transitioning from Active Duty and provide you information on Reserve Component benefits and Troop Program Unit vacancies.Soldiers leaving the Army to affiliate with the Army Reserve are exempt from involuntary federal mobilization for up to 24 months.If you are interested in joining the Army Reserve, Call us at 1-800-325-4389.
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Does The Covid 19 Epidemic Change Anything About The Admissions Process
The uncertain nature of the Coronavirus pandemic has forced many schools to alter their admissions processes. The changes primarily affect on-campus activities as opposed to online signups. In fact, because of many of these changes, more online portals and resources have been developed that may even make the process easier for those students who are pursuing their education remotely.
Because each college is adapting to the crisis differently, it is recommended that prospective students reach out to their own admissions office to determine the best course of action. However, the admissions process itself remains largely the same. Students in the military should focus on highlighting the transferrable skills and knowledge they have gained through their experiences in the armed forces, elaborating on the places they have been, and any opportunities and challenges they have overcome.
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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What Advice Would You Give Students Who Don’t Believe They Can Attend College As A Veteran
I tell potential students to visit a campus and see it for themselves. Moreover, find a campus that has a robust veteran outreach program. Furthermore, a few encouraging words can help. In my case, I tell veterans who are on the fence about going back to school that this benefit of ours is something that doesn’t come for everyone. I tell them they have one life to live and what they do will determine a good portion of their lives. I also ask them to look within themselves to find that same spark they had when they entered the military and use it to start their academic journey.
College Of The American Soldier
The College of the American Soldier provides two distinct education programs for active-duty Army soldiers, including reserves and National Guard members. The college operates in conjunction with more than two dozen higher education institutions to provide individualized academic tracks for enlisted service members and NCOs.
- NCO Program: The NCO program is built on a base of civilian degrees that incorporate components essential to military career advancement. All credits earned in the program are completely transferable credits earned and reported on JST transcripts are also accepted.
- Enlisted Education Program: The Enlisted Education program is ideal for entry-level service members who have limited or no college background. It allows service members to complete an associate degree during their first enlistment. As with the NCO program, all credits are fully transferable among the more than two dozen participating schools. The Enlisted Education Program also participates in ACE sponsored Joint Services Transcripts.
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Make It Work With Online Learning
Working toward a degree or certificate while in the military isn’t something new. In the past, service members attended whatever school was nearby and were limited to that school’s course offerings and schedules for the program they were studying.
Online learning has changed all that. No matter where you are stationed, you have options. You don’t have to study psychology when what you’re interested in is a business degree.
But perhaps even more important is the fact that online learning makes pursuing an education while serving workable. One of the hallmarks of online programs is their flexibility. You can take courses on your own time, nights, weekends or even before you start your workday. You can take classes in your own space, in the barracks, at the mess hall, or anywhere with an internet connection. And you can learn at your own pace.
But BEWARE: Not all online schools are alike! It’s important to know what to look for when choosing a program. Here are some guidelines:
Look for a school that is experienced in online learning. More and more schools are offering online programs these days, often out of necessity. Because many of these schools are still refining their programs, you might find yourself subject to some growing pains.
Look for a school that is military friendly. Some schools put a premium on taking care of active-duty members and veterans alike. They understand that you are in a unique situation and help guide you through the education process.