During your military career, you were charged with duties and responsibilities. As a member of the military, you were expected to have excellent leadership skills as you were constantly faced with difficult, demanding, and dangerous situations.
Coming back to civilian life after years of service can be challenging. Everything you faced during those years shaped you into the person you are now. You developed specific mental and physical skills that most civilians won’t ever acquire.
You may feel like you have to start from ground zero when it comes to getting a degree. We want to make that process a bit easier by providing you with these five resources, to begin with, your academic career.
Tuition Aid Resources
There is a variety of private and public institutions that provide financial aid and unique services to pursue higher education for active-duty and veteran service members.
1. Montgomery GI BILL
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides education and training benefits through the GI Bill. This bill benefits two subdivisions, the active-duty service members (MGIB-AD), and the selected reservists (MGIB-SR).
To be eligible for MGIB-AD, you must comply with the following:
- All active-duty service members and honorably discharged veterans who entered the military after June 30, 1985.
- You have served at least two years.
- You have paid a $1,200 enrollment fee.
Also, those who left the military for specific reasons, or if you have remained entitled under the original GI Bill, you may also be eligible for the program.
To qualify for MGIB-SR, you need to:
- Reservists who have a 6-year obligation in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985.
Under the Montgomery GI Bill, certain expenses will be covered. You get a monthly payment from the VA to cover costs from tuition, housing, books, and other fees.
2. Post 9/11 GI Bill
The Post 9/11 Bill helps you pay for school or job training if you’ve served in active duty after September 10, 2001. In order to qualify for assistance through this bill, one of the following must apply to you:
- Served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001.
- Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged.
- Served at least 30 consecutive days on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability.
- If you are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualified veteran or service member.
This bill provides beneficiaries with up to 36 months of education benefits, and honorably discharged veterans have up to 15 years from their last active-duty day.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill also provides specific options that are not available through other GI Bill programs. These include:
Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays tuition and fees directly to your school. They pay funds for housing, books, and other supplies directly to you.
It pays up to 100 percent of your tuition and fees, depending on the length of your service. You are eligible to receive full benefits if you’ve served at least three years.
- Up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies,
- Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and
- Online students receive half the national BAH average.
Programs covered by both bills:
- Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees,
- Online, Distance Learning, and On-campus Programs,
- Business, Technical, and Vocational Courses,
- Non-degree and On-the-job Training and Apprenticeships,
- Correspondence Courses,
- Licensing Costs,
- Certificate Programs, and
- Work-study Programs.
Certain academic programs can help you narrow down your career search. These resources will help you to leverage your expertise by earning college credits for equivalent service accomplishments or military training programs.
This program will allow you to work with an education counselor who provides personalized advice on how to prepare for college.
The DANTES program DoD MOU College Comparison Tool (TA DECIDE) will help you choose the right career for you. They have more than 2,800 partnership schools and over 12,000 locations. The TA DECIDE will match you with a program that fits your goals and helps you make an accurate and informed decision.
The American Council on Education (ACE) with their Student Veteran’s of America program offers service men and women with the opportunity to transfer their military experience into academic credit through the Joint Services Transcript (JST).
3. Resources for Finding the Right School
There are many options for military-friendly online colleges that are geared towards active-duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, and airmen. These options include:
- Military academies
- Military sponsored community colleges
- Regional and national universities
Now that you know that there are several institutions and programs that help military men and women get into college, all you have to do is make the decision and move forward. The transition from military service to civilian life isn’t as hard as you think.
Everything you need, from getting financial aid to choosing the right college and the best career for you, is here. We know that change is scary, but change with a little guidance isn’t that bad, right?