Enlisting As A College Graduate Instead Of Joining As An Officer
While most college graduates think their best path forward to a career in the military is to join as an officer, some want a different experience. Officer training provides the most common path, but the military does permit graduates to enter as enlisted members. Though college graduates gain many valuable, transferable skills during their time in school, they do not learn the basic skills and knowledge related to joining the armed forces.
Topics such as military traditions, appearance, and the history of the branch you choose to serve in typically arent taught to officers, so someone wanting to work their way up may value this type of training. Others feel that, rather than immediately joining the ranks as a leader, they should experience training from bottom to top to gain the respect of those they command. When joining as an enlisted soldier, all new recruits go through the same paces and their commanding officers expect them to complete each and every step regardless of existing education.
Alton E. Pete is retired from the United States Army. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he graduated from El Cerrito High School. After a couple of years in college, he later joined the army in 1987. He started his military career at Fort Lewis, Washington was stationed in Hanau, Germany and went on various assignments throughout the States and Puerto Rico. Hes currently back in college to pursue his masters degree in music and then a PhD.
Jump On Gi Bill Benefits
If you are married to a more senior service member, you won’t qualify for MyCAA funding. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree, MyCAA won’t pay.
Yet your military benefits may still enable you to pursue your academic dreams. Your service member’s Post-911 GI Bill Benefits may be transferred to you.
This option isn’t for everybody: Your service member will have had to serve for six years and be committed for at least four more years in the military.
There are also some new, tightened restrictions about who qualifies for transferability and how long they have to make those transfer decisions. Confused about your eligibility? Don’t be.
The GI Bill was a great option for Nikki. She and her husband determined that he was less likely to go back to school than she was. Since Nikki was ready now, transferring their benefits made sense.
Nikki is now busy looking for schools where she can train to be a veterinarian her life-long dream. Growing up, I just figured that was like dreaming of being president,” she said. It was never going to happen. And now it is!”
Navy Tuition Assistance Benefits
All military branches have government-funded tuition assistance programs that pay for in-class programs and online learning while you are on active duty. This financial assistance is not a loan and you are not obligated to repay it. Additionally, although you may start utilizing your GI Bill benefits while serving, tuition assistance may be used in conjunction with the GI Bill or independently- which extends the amount of education the government will cover, in exchange for your service. Utilizing this benefit is at the discretion of your Command, and just like a part-time job, MUST be approved by your Chain of Command. The following are additional eligibility requirements when using this Navy benefit:
- All applicants Sailors, Officers, Reservists must have 2 years of service before applying for TA
- Complete all TA application requirements including education counseling courses
- Attend an accredited institution
- Be on active duty through course completion
- Maintain at least a C average for undergraduate courses and B average for graduate courses
- Officers utilizing the program are required to extend their service time
- Voluntary course withdrawal must be repaid, however involuntary withdrawal due to the need of the United States military are an exception
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Navy College Program For Afloat College Education
Am I eligible? This is for sailors who have been assigned to be more than 150 days away from the office. It offers sailors distance learning courses that do not require ongoing internet connectivity to complete. The rules of eligibility and tuition assistance are the same as the Navy College TA.
What does it cover? The NCPACE will fund one certificate, certification preparation, or diploma in schools that have signed a DoD MoU, provided that the institution you are applying for is listed on the Department of Veteran Affairs website. Heres a breakdown:
- $250 per semester hour
- $16.67 per clock hour
Tuition Assistance /ncpace Steps
The following steps focus on how to submit and receive approval of your TA/NCPACE application. These steps should be completed in order.
After your command-approved TA/NCPACE application is authorized by the NCVEC, an authorization voucher is generated. You can print your authorized TA/NCPACE voucher by going to MyNavy Education > Tuition Assistance/NCPACE > Review Applications. Print/Download, and forward the authorized voucher to your school for payment.
Reminder: You must officially register for classes at your school. The TA/NCPACE voucher provides funding but does not enroll you into the course.
Additionally, if you enroll in a course without submitting an authorized TA or NCPACE voucher to your academic institution, you may be liable to pay the entire cost of the course yourself.
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.
Us Navy Tuition And Fees
As of March 1, 2022, the National University military tuition rates are as follows:
|On Site Course|
In addition to our military tuition discount, you may qualify to apply for veteran benefits under existing veteran programs. National University also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Note that some service branches have established specific guidelines or limits for their members that do not mirror the standard policy. Please check with your Education Services Officer to determine the benefits available to you. For more information on Tuition Assistance, visit the DANTES website or contact our Veterans Affairs Office at 541-7970 or .
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Is It Better To Go To College Before Joining The Military
Enlisting in the military first means gaining the opportunity to retire earlier, have college paid for and potentially avoiding student loans. On the other hand, graduating from college first and then enlisting may allow you to start off at a higher rank and pay grade, with more opportunities for leadership roles.
More Information About The Navy College Fund And Other Resources
The United States Navy and all branches of the United States Military make it possible for their potential recruits to better understand the benefits they could receive. There are many websites that explain different aspects of the benefit programs. It is best to read all available information to better understand these benefits and how they can improve the quality of life and education.
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Scholarships And Grants For Men And Women To Pursue Medical Professions Through The Navy
The Navy is especially interested in students looking to become physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists, health care administrators or clinical care providers. Many of the scholarships the on offer provide full rides through graduate school and continue on through residency and internship programs.
How to Apply:The specific qualifications and awards for each of these programs largely depends on the Navy career that you are interested in once you graduate. For more information, visit the Navys Health Care Careers Section and select the position that you are interested in. Application details and scholarship amounts are listed there.
Coast Guard Student Loan Repayment Program
The Coast Guard currently offers student loan repayment program as a path to become a commissioned officer. Eligibility is focused on students currently enrolled or in a bachelor’s degree program, recent graduate from a bachelors program or enrolled in a graduate program at pre-designated college or institution. Applicants who are accepted are enlisted into the Coast Guard and complete basic training, different operational training, and officer candidate school around their school schedule.
Upon graduation and commissioning, servicemembers will receive up to $10,000 per year for six years for repayment of student debt. Note that this program only applies to federal student loans, not private loans.
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Other Financial Assistance Options For Veterans
For service members who dont meet eligibility requirements, each branch of the armed forces has related “aid” or “relief” societies, which are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing assistance to military members and their dependents. Quite often, these agencies offer college scholarships, grants, or interest-free loans for dependent college education.
Each of the service-related societies has its own unique programs, eligibility requirements, program parameters, scholarship application forms, and decision processes.
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Programs
In addition to their service academies, the Air Force, Army, and Navy sponsor Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs at many colleges and universities. ROTC programs provide college scholarships of up to four years to eligible students who apply in high school. Students who are already in college can apply for three- or two-year scholarships, depending on when they expect to graduate.
The scholarships provide full tuition and fees as well as a monthly stipend to cover other expenses. ROTC scholarships require a commitment to participate in training during the school year and to serve after graduation.
The Coast Guard doesn’t have an ROTC program, per se, but does offer the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, which provides full funding for up to two years of college.
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How Much College Aid Can Servicemembers Receive Through The Post
The amount of money for college depends in part on where in the US the school is and what type of degree being pursued. Also, the cost for college programs cannot be more than the maximum in-state tuition rates at a public post-secondary school. Find maximum costs for in-state tuition and fees.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill program is comprised of multiple payments. All payments and maximum amounts are applicable to individuals eligible for the full benefit . The payment and maximum amounts will be prorated based on the servicemembers eligibility percentage if he or she is not eligible for the full benefit.
Type Of School
All Tuition and Fee Payments for an in-State Student
Private or Foreign School
Up to $23,671.94 per academic year
Servicemembers, spouses, and children can also receive a monthly housing allowance based on the location they attend the majority of their classes, an annual book stipend of up to $1,000 and up to $2,000 to pay for tutorial services and certificate exams.
This stipend is based on the DoD’s Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents and does not require students to live on campus. However, spouses are not eligible for monthly housing allowance if their sponsor is still on active duty. For servicemembers in rural areas, there is also a $500 one-time benefit if they must relocate or travel by air to the nearest school.
Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness
Anyone serving in the military is eligible for the PSLF Program. The program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have finished 120 qualifying monthly payments under an eligible repayment plan working full-time for a qualifying employer like a US federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization.
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Military Student Loan Benefits
When it comes to military education benefits, they dont stop at getting funds to pay for school at its happening, but also include help paying off student loans for servicemembers. Among the best of these student loan programs is loan forgiveness and repayment options.
It is important to note that with some these military loan payment programs, payments are subject to federal and state income taxes as taxable income in the year repayment is disbursed. DFAS will send a W-2 Form separate from the W-2 Form received for military pay. Since these loan payments are considered income, a percentage of the payment will be withheld for income taxes to help prevent a large tax bill at the end of the year.
Service Academy Advanced Degree Programs
Although there is some variation between the different branches, each of them offers opportunities for officers to obtain a fully funded graduate degree prior to a teaching assignment at the service academies. Officers interested in these opportunities should talk to their branchs respective personnel departments.
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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.
Should I Join The Navy Before Or After College
Whether to join the military prior to finishing college depends on your goals and circumstances. If youd like to become an officer, then you need to complete your degree prior to joining. If you need tuition assistance, then completing your degree over time as an enlisted member might be the right choice.
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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.
Navy Tuition Assistance Coverage
Navy tuition assistance pays for 100% of up-front costs associated with tuition and fees for course enrollments- which is slightly more liberal than the other branches who only pay for direct tuition. Important limits to know are $250 per semester hour or $166.67 per quarter hour with a yearly limit of $3,000, which equals 12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours. Total lifetime use for each Sailor enrolled in the program is limited to 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours. This amount will pay for most community and state programs, including schools located near military bases who adjust their fees to help active duty military members pursue higher education. You will be required to repay your tuition assistance for any undergraduate classes in which you receive a D or below, graduate classes with a grade of C or lower, and any classes that are graded as non-passing or incomplete.
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National Defense Authorization Act
The military life can cause you to move quite often and sometimes you will need to be recertified or gain a new license due to being in a new state. Through the NDAA, military spouses can apply for up to $1000 to help in the re-license or certification due to PCS moves or relocation across the country.
This applies for anywhere in the United States or Oconus stateside.
That sums up the top benefits for military spouses pursuing an education. There are many educational benefits to look over, you just need to find the right program for you.
Who Qualifies For The Ncf
Contrary to popular belief, not every service member of the U.S Navy can qualify for the Navy College Fund. Because the NCF is funded only by the U.S. Navy the Navy classifier decides who receives the award rather than the recruiter. In order to be considered for a guarantee of benefits and to receive benefits, the service member must meet the following criteria:
- Be 17-35 years of age
- Graduate High School with a diploma
- Earn an AFQT score of 50+
- Qualify for training without prior service
- Have entered active duty after November 21, 1989
- Sign on to active duty for 3+ years
- Enroll in MGIB and agree to pay the required pay reductions
- Receive an Honorable Character of Service.
Sailors who do not qualify for the Navy College Fund may be eligible for the Navy College Program , which is an option that may help the sailor reduce the eventual money they have to pay for college. The Navy College Program allows service members to receive academic credits for training on Active Duty in the Navy. Sailors may be able to substantially reduce their cost of a civilian degree by using their Navy education for transfer credits.
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