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.
How Many Years Do You Have To Be In The Army To Get Free College
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.
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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Summary Of Education Benefits
The following table is a brief summary of each of the major education benefits offered to servicemembers, veterans and in some cases their families. Follow the associated links to learn more details about each program.
Tuition Assistance is a military benefit that pays the cost of tuition and some fees.
Virtually all military servicemembers are eligible. However criteria for eligibility is determined by each branch.
Tuition Assistance covers up to 100% Tuition and Fees Not to exceed:
The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible servicemembers and veterans for:
Tutorial assistance for programs you are having difficulty with.
If you have questions on this program please contact the VA’s toll-free number 888-442-4551.
If you are receiving VA benefits at a half-time or more rate, you are eligible.
VA may provide you with a tutor or with information for finding one.
Getting Into Senior Military Colleges
Generally, when applying to SMCs, you have to submit an application, personal essay, transcript, and standardized test scores. Youll be evaluated on your academic performance and extracurricular achievements.
The selectivity of the SMCs varies, but generally, if you meet their average GPA and standardized test scores, you have a good chance of getting accepted. Virginia Tech has an average GPA of 3.66, an average ACT score of 27, and accepts 65% of applicants. The Citadel has an average GPA of 3.6, an average ACT score of 23, and accepts 75% of applicants.
SMCs that give you the option whether or not to join the Corps of Cadets have different application procedures. At Texas A& M, you have to be accepted to the university as a regular student before you join the Corps of Cadets. At Virginia Tech, you indicate on your application if youre intending to join the Corps. However, if you end up deciding not to join after stating your intention to do so, your application will be reevaluated.
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Know What Credits Will Transfer From Your Military Experience
Veterans and servicemembers can use their military experience to earn college credits, possibly allowing them to reduce the time and money that it will take to earn a degree. But because every college is free to determine their own policies regarding transfer credits, its important for vets to understand what will carry over before they matriculate.
Another option is to take the College Level Examination Program , which are exams designed to test your understanding of college-level materials. Depending on how you perform, you could qualify to skip a number of general education or introductory-level courses and graduate faster.
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps
Founded in 1916, ROTC is a college program offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the Military. In exchange for a partially or fully paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, ROTC students commit to serve in the Military after graduation .
It’s also possible to do a year or two of ROTC simply for the great leadership experience but without service commitment . The Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force each offer their own ROTC program. The Coast Guard doesn’t offer ROTC, but they do have a College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative scholarship program for college sophomores and juniors.
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Is A Military College Right For You
There are a number of factors to consider before you commit to attending a military college as opposed to going to a regular college. Most importantly, how motivated are you to get military training and serve in the military? If you’re not fully enthusiastic about serving, you should think twice before deciding to attend a school that requires you to spend years serving in the military after you graduate.
Also, can you handle the incredibly structured and disciplined environment of military colleges? Do you need more free time and a laid back environment, or are you excited by the thought of getting pushed physically and academically? Do you want to feel the unique camaraderie you’ll experience with fellow cadets?
Personally, I briefly considered attending West Point. I was recruited by the Army for gymnastics, and when the coach called me and sold the academy to me, I was intrigued. The financial and potential professional benefits of going to Army sounded great. However, I hadn’t ever considered joining the military previously and I was hesitant to commit to the five years after graduating. Also, I didn’t think I would thrive in such a strict environment I wanted more freedom to pursue my varied interests.
Limit Your Interest With The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is for any military members who took out student loans out prior to joining. They provide a cap on interest rates while you serve on active duty and this applies to both federal and private loans.
The loan mustve been disbursed before you started active duty. The interest rate cannot exceed 6% and this can bring significant savings, especially with private loans.
How to apply for SCRA:
Submit a copy of your service orders to have this applied to your loans
- Wait until your loan servicer applies the cap through checks of the military database
This is helpful for anyone who wants to join the military after youve finished your education. It can keep your payments low and cap the amount of interest you need to pay back.
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If You Want Control Over Where Youre Going To Live
Before I joined there was a rumor that I get to write down my top three preferred duty stations.
Unfortunately, thats just patently wrong.
The military places its members where it needs them, hence the term service.
It takes years of serving and moving up in rank until you get any say in where you can live.
Career Opportunities After Military Service
The positions that soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen hold in the military not only allow them to serve their country, but also help them collect years of experience in a trade or service. If they decide to leave the military, their service branchs COOL program can translate their experience into a resume that civilian hiring managers can understand. Veterans can also get a leg up for many public service jobs in federal, state and local positions. Learn more about careers in the military.
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Be Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself
Most of us go through our daily lives working towards something that is going to benefit us.
As a member of the military, youll have the opportunity to serve a cause that affects the whole world.
When people back home talk about the war overseas, youll have a firsthand perspective to add to the conversation.
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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What You Need To Know To Earn Admission To An Elite College
As a student at Yale University, military veteran, and mentor for Service to School, many veterans have contacted me asking for advice on how to enter a high selective college. Reflecting on my experiences, I have outlined 6 tips to help you on your quest for admission.
1. Enroll in community college courses. Earn at least a 3.5 GPA. Take advantage of tuition assistance and enroll in at least 2 semesters of community college courses. Colleges want to see that you are able to handle a rigorous academic workload. Like many other veterans, I was not a model student in high school. Show colleges that you are academically inclined by taking challenging courses, and be sure to take general coursestechnical or specific credits dont typically transfer. Youll have to accept up front that you likely wont receive credit for your military training. For instance, Yale took zero credits from my technical training in the Air Force. However, they took all of my credits from community college. Also be sure to brush up on your test-taking skills for the SAT or ACT.
Best of luck on your transition!
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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Why Joining The Military Is A Good Idea
Some of the most popular benefits of joining the US military is the job training, educational assistance, steady paycheck, health coverage, and housing benefits.
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Using The Rotc Program To Pay For College
ROTC is a scholarship program in which you take elective courses in addition to the coursework required of your major. Candidates are awarded merit-based scholarships on a four-, three-, and two-year basis. These scholarships pay for tuition, room, and board.
In addition to the scholarship, you can also receive a monthly living stipend of up to $420 per month.
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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.
What Are The Challenges Of Going To School As An Active Or Former Member Of The Military
Veteran and active duty military students do not fit the typical mold of the traditional student, and this is because of their progress in life. As a member of the U.S. Military, you have experience. You have responsibilities outside of school, whether that be a job or family or both. This can seem like a challenge, but it can also put you at a unique advantage for the road ahead. Still, it is important to keep in mind the challenges you might face as a new college student. These include:
- The need to balance school with parenting, career, and military responsibilities
- Transitioning from technical, military-style learning to a university learning environment
- Transitioning from a regular military regime to a different college culture, which requires an adjustment for some
- Relocation or deployment while in school, affecting the academic school year
- Potential mental health challenges, related to post-traumatic stress
With all of these potential hurdles in mind, finding a college or university that caters to service members a military-friendly college can help ease the transition from one environment to another. Military-friendly colleges are well-versed in the unique challenges faced by veterans and active duty service members, and have resources and support systems available to you.
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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.
What If You Are A Military Spouse
Its common knowledge that military spouses live a unique life. They have to juggle with new environments, broken employment histories and probably a community degree. That is how the world chooses to view them. The world does not know that they are military wives. However, if youre a military wife and considering applying for college, here are some few guidelines that can be of great help:
- Be candid and honest about the challenges of military life
- Dont hold back any adversity and the hard times that youve faced
- Apart from the military aspects, show the college admissions board the kind of person you are apart from being the wife of a military man
- Dont whine about the hardships that you face. Challenges are better placed to carry away the admission officer
- Never assume that the admission board understands the military lingo. If need be, elaborate military terms
- Dont expect that the admissions board would understand how hectic military life is. They cannot know if you hold it back from them. They have no means of knowing simply because theyve never been there.
- You are smart, so you should use words and language that you really know. Avoid using synonyms all the time.
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