Students Who Persist Earn Degrees
Spittler has been with National University for 16 years and was an advisor to students in the early days of the military online department She recalls another memorable military and college success story.
Despite being deployed four times and going through a divorce, this student kept coming back to take courses through NU. It took him 12 years of persistence to finish his associate degree, but finish he did. His example demonstrates the difficult balancing act between military service, family, and education.
They go through so much, theyre out there protecting us, and they have to balance between the military and families theyre all about their families, Spittler says. So having to deal with that and wanting to get their education, and seeing them succeed, that to me is why Im still doing what Im doing.
She adds, Thats one of the hardest things for them to do, is complete their degrees while theyre in the military. And then when you see that, its like, Wow, you did it!
National Universitys flexible options make higher education accessible for active-duty servicemembers who want to advance in rank, enhance their knowledge, and emerge from their active service with additional skills and opportunities.
Where To Find Scholarships
Searching for scholarships can prove daunting. Luckily, military families can find scholarships in many different places, both online and in person. This list highlights some of the more common locations that prospective students might find military dependent scholarships.
Online DatabasesColleges and UniversitiesGovernment and Military WebsitesOn-Base Educational OfficesNational Organizations
Survivors’ And Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
Survivors and dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or those who died while on active duty are eligible for up to 45 months of education and training benefits. Recipients can use this assistance for undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Children of veterans wishing to use this benefit must be age 18-26.
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Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Interest Rate Caps
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act offers interest rate caps on student loans that were taken out prior to entering the military. While the 6% cap applies to both federal and private student loans, typically the interest rate cap is most applicable to private loans due to their higher rates. This cap lasts as long as the servicemember is on active duty.
Most servicemembers are provided this benefit automatically by lenders due to loan providers routinely scanning federal databases to determine if those who are on active duty. However, those individuals or loans overlooked may provide a copy of military orders to their loan servicer to cap the interest rate.
And given that the best student loan rates are typically more than that, make sure you follow up to save a little money.
Note that to qualify for this benefit, the loans must have been originated after August 14, 2008. Contact the loan servicer for specific information about SCRA eligibility.
Education After Military Service
After a service member decides to leave the military, there are a number of opportunities for them to further their education. One of the biggest pluses for veterans is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which can cover up to 100% of college tuition expenses and up to $1,000 a month for rent. Veterans can use this program to get a college degree, vocational training or other certification. Current service members with between six and 16 years of service can also transfer this benefit to a spouse or child.
Veterans with at least two years of active-duty service can use the Montgomery GI Bill program to get up to $61,000 for college programs, flight training or apprenticeships.
Veterans and FRY Scholars who have or will soon exhaust their benefits and are currently enrolled in a STEM degree program or are seeking a teaching certification are eligible to receive the Rogers STEM scholarship. Family members who received transferred entitlement are not eligible for additional educational assistance under the STEM Scholarship.
Service members or their spouses can also reach out to Military OneSource education consultants while actively serving and for up to a year post-separation or retirement. These consultants can help service members and their family members figure out their education goals, find military-friendly colleges and professional programs, and apply for scholarships all at no cost.
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Veterans Educational Assistance Program
VEAP is an old education program providing two for one matching from the government that was only available for servicemembers who entered active duty between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985, and who opened and contributed at least $25 before April 1, 1987.
Furthermore, all the money must be used within 10 years of release from active duty with anything other than a dishonorable discharge. More information about VEAP can be learned at the VA website.
Use The Montgomery Gi Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill requires enlisted military members to pay $100 per month during their first year of service in order to receive college tuition assistance, which can be used for technical or vocational schools. The maximum benefit of up to $23,671 per year is available to those attending a private college or foreign school. GI Bill benefits are paid out monthly, on termination of military service when you’re enrolled in school. Benefits can be up to $1,972 per month and generally last for 36 months. You have 10 years after honorable discharge to use the benefit. This program is managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and those interested should contact the VA or a military recruiter for specific details about eligibility.
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National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program
If you sign up to serve, you also need to meet other criteria for this program:
- You must enlist for a minimum of six years
- Enlist for a critical skills vacancy in the grade of E-4 or below
- Enlist in a qualifying position in an MTO or medical TDA unit only
- Score a minimum score of 50 on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test
- You cannot also be enlisting as a 09R SMP cadet, RFP, or Active First Program
- You must not be enlisted as a glossary non-prior service soldier .
If you are eligible, you can earn up to $7,500 annually, with a maximum of $50,000, toward your qualifying student loan debts.
What Lons Qualify For National Guard Student Loan Repayment:
- Stafford loans
For more information, visit the National Guard Student Loan Forgiveness website.
Applying For The Rotc Program And Scholarships
When completing your ROTC application, we encourage you to reach out to the ROTC enrollment officer at the school you plan to attend. They have years of experience in the application process and can help improve your chances of being selected for the scholarship. Click here to find colleges with ROTC programs or to learn more about the ROTC program.
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Consider Post 9/11 Gi Bill
Anyone who served on active duty in the military for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001, is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This program offers assistance with college tuition, fees, books and living expenses, in varying amounts depending on your length of service. Benefits are provided for a maximum of 36 months and are transferable to spouses and dependent children. If you enroll at a college that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, all of your tuition at state universities may be paid for, but there is a maximum benefit amount for private colleges.
Financial Aid By Service Branch
James Ursano Scholarship Program
Army Emergency Relief also administers the James Ursano Scholarship Program, which helps the children of Army soldiers pay for their first undergraduate degree. Applicants may receive the scholarship for up to four academic years as long as they meet the requirements. However, students must reapply each year. Award amounts vary.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – NMCRS Education Assistance Program
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society was established to provide financial, educational, and other means of assistance to Sailors, Marines, and their dependents. Interest-free loans and grants are offered to children or spouses of an active-duty, retired, or deceased Sailor or Marine.
Funds range from $500-$3,000 per academic year. Recipients can use the funds to pursue undergraduate/postsecondary education at a two-year or four-year college, technical, or vocational institution in the United States.
Air Force Aid Society – General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program
The Air Force Aid Society was established to help Air Force members and their families weather financial distress and pursue their postsecondary education goals. This need-based grant program is for spouses and children of active-duty Air Force members, retirees, or deceased members pursuing an undergraduate degree full time. Grant funding ranges from $500-$4,000. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, and children must be younger than 24 during the award year.
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How To Apply For Ta
Regardless of your branch in the armed forces, you will need information about your school, program, and courses in order to complete your application.
Create an account at GoArmyEd and apply online. You will receive an email notification if/when your request is approved.
NAVY, MARINES, AND, COAST GUARD
Create an account for the Air Force Virtual Education Center using the Air Force Portal. Complete the online application process. You will receive an email notifying you if/when your request is approved.
How To Get The National Guard To Pay For College:
In order to apply for college tuition assistance, please consider the following steps:
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Servicemembers Opportunity College Branch Specific
SOC is an association of approximately 1,900 colleges and universities that was created to ensure servicemembers are given plentiful educational opportunities through the challenges of the PCS cycle and active duty lifestyle.
The association of schools has agreements in place simplifying credit transfers and reducing the number of credits students needed to earn a degree from a given school. SOC is funded by the Department of Defense and coordinated through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support . Students can typically choose between traditional in-person classes, distance learning, or learning assessment options to test out of class requirements.
Each branch has its specific SOC program that coordinates associate and bachelor’s degree programs in a variety of curriculum areas. Due to the existence of the Community College of the Air Force , the Air Force doesn’t have an Air Force-specific SOC program however, the Air Force is a member of SOC under the general SOC program. SOC also offers a program called ConAP that allows servicemembers the opportunity to select a college concurrently with enlistment in the Army or Army Reserve.
One of the best things about these degree programs is that they take military training and experience as credit towards a degree. The links below provide more specific information about each program from the specific branches.
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.
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Why Join The Military With A Bachelors Degree
Having a MILITARY BACHELORS DEGREE is extremely advantageous for anyone considering signing up after completing four years of college. Some people will tell you that its a waste of a college degree to enlist in the military, but thats not necessarily true. So why should someone in possession of a bachelors degree join the military after all those years of challenging coursework? Here are four convincing reasons why it can be a great idea for any college graduate, especially those who had previous interest in serving the country.
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 Department of Veterans Affairs 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.
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Ways The National Guard Can Help Pay For School
The National Guard is really sought after by some citizens because it allows you to continue to work or go to school, while also serving your country part-time.
The stations are almost always in the United States, or nearby in places like Guam or Puerto Rico, so members also do not need to worry about getting displaced.
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In addition to the traditional benefits of serving your country proudly and being a part of something bigger than yourself, the National Guard college pay programs are exceptional.
In short, the Guard will cover college tuition, room and board , as well as graduate school in certain cases.
The National Guard supports tuition assistance, the Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill, Army National Guard Kicker, and also hosts scholarships related to higher education learning.
The Guard has also helped many receive their GED or high school diploma.
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The organization has always been encouraging and supportive of those that wish to seek higher education.
Here is a quick breakdown of the different methods you can utilize to receive college tuition assistance, room and board, and graduate school or Medical school assistance.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
If youre planning on going to a private university, a college out-of-state, or graduate school, then the Yellow Ribbon Program is for you. It covers tuition fees in institutions that the Post 9/11 GI Bill does not cover.
Certain schools enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and part of the agreement is to allow vets to attend more expensive private schools at a lower cost. The amount that they waive depends on two factors: first, the students status , and second, the type of school .
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Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts
A workforce development program, MyCAA Scholarship program provides up to $4,000 of tuition assistance to eligible military spouses pursuing degrees, licenses, certification, or credentials leading to employment in high-demand, high-growth occupations.
The program is open to spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. Recipients must be able to complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders.
College Level Examination Program
Through independent study, distance learning, and credit-by-examination programs, you can earn college credit without stepping into a classroom.
Exams administered by the College Board allow you to receive credit for job experience or completing military training. This allows you to test out of many college prerequisites and earn college credit for your transcripts.
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