Did you know there are dozens of financial benefits associated with joining the military?
Joining the military can give you access to health care. It can also enable you to obtain life insurance. You can even set up a savings plan while in the military to set you up for later in life.
But these are far from the only benefits you’ll secure when you join the military. There are also military education benefits that’ll come your way. These education benefits can help you go to college at a low cost or even no cost to you.
If you’re thinking about joining the military for veteran education benefits, you should be aware of what they are in advance. You should also be aware of every single military-affiliated benefit you will be able to use when it comes to education if you just finished your service to your country.
Here are the top military education benefits that will come your way either as an active military member or a veteran.
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The tuition assistance program that the military has in place is the most basic military education benefit of the bunch. But it’s also the simplest one to understand.
If you’re an active military member, you should be able to qualify for up to $4,500 per year in tuition assistance at whichever college or university you choose. This money can be used to pay for tuition as well as any fees you might face while in school.
If you plan to work your way through school while you’re still in the military, you shouldn’t do it without looking into getting at least some tuition assistance. Almost everyone in the military will qualify for it, though the exact amount you’ll be able to collect will depend on which branch of the military you’re in.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
The GI Bill has been around for almost 80 years now. It was first introduced way back in 1944, and it put military members in the perfect position to get a college education after they were finished serving their country.
Since then, it has evolved over time, and today, there are a few different versions of it. The first one we’re going to discuss is the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill will set you up with 36 months’ worth of military education benefits. You can use it to go to college, attend a vocational school, work an apprenticeship, or pursue any number of other educational opportunities.
As its name would suggest, the Post-9/11 Bill was created specifically for those who served in the military in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. In order to qualify for it, you need to have served at least 90 days after 9/11 or be the survivor of someone who served at this time.
There are different tiers for the Post-9/11 GI Bill that are broken down based on how many days you served after 9/11. But most military members who served after 9/11 will be granted generous military education benefits for their service.
Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty and Veteran
The Montgomery GI Bill is similar to the Post-9/11 GI Bill in that it’ll enable you to get 36 months’ worth of military education benefits. You can use these benefits to attend a number of colleges, vocational schools, etc.
But the big difference between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill is that you need to have served more time in the military to qualify for it. You need to be on active duty in the military for at least 2 years to get these military education benefits.
You’ll also be a little more limited in how much money you’ll get toward your higher education. The Montgomery GI Bill will provide you with $2,210 per month toward tuition and other fees.
Additionally, there are different categories for veterans who qualify for the GI Bill. The category that you fit into will play a big part in how much money you’re able to obtain to pay for your advanced schooling.
Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserves
If you decide to join the reserves as opposed to serving in the military on active duty, you might not think you’d be able to qualify for military education benefits. But there is a special Montgomery GI Bill that’s set up exclusively for reserves.
In order to qualify for this GI Bill, you will need to spend 6 years in the reserves. You’ll also need to have a high school diploma or a GED, and you’ll also need to work to obtain and keep Selected Reserve Status.
As long as you’re able to check all these boxes, you can collect up to $439 per month to pay for college provided you take classes full-time. It’s a great perk that’ll come along with serving in the reserves.
Loan Repayment (LRP)
Most of the people who use military education benefits will serve in the military and then go to school. But there are also those who will choose to go to school and then enlist in the military later on.
If you decide to take this approach, you should know that there are loan repayment programs that each branch of the military offers. There is, for instance, a loan repayment program that is specific to the U.S. Army.
There are many factors that will determine whether or not you’ll qualify for this type of loan repayment program. Your loan needs to be in good standing, for starters. But it could be worth looking into this option if you’re unsure of how you’re going to pay back student loans and have a genuine interest in joining the military.
Tuition Assistance “Top-Up” Program
If you qualify for GI Bill military education benefits, they might cover all the costs associated with you attending college. But there is also a chance there might be a gap between what you’ll need to pay to go to school and what the GI Bill will award you.
If you find yourself in this position, you might want to look into applying for this tuition assistance program. It’ll bridge the gap that exists and help you get all the money you’ll need to pay for school.
You will, of course, need to be eligible for the GI Bill in the first place to get approved for this program. You’ll also need to apply to be a part of it and get approved by your military department to qualify.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
Military members and veterans aren’t the only ones who can utilize military education benefits. If you happen to have an immediate family member who served in the military and was killed or disabled during their service, you could also gain access to these benefits.
This program is a good example of this. You’ll be eligible for this program if you’re the spouse or child of a military member who:
- Died during active duty
- Went missing during active duty
- Was permanently disabled during active duty
If you meet any of these criteria, you may be eligible to collect up to $1,401 per month to further your education. It would definitely be worth looking into this program if you think you might have the slightest chance of getting approved to be a part of it.
There are, of course, some strict requirements you’ll need to meet to get approved. But it would be a good idea to look into this program before writing off the idea.
College Scholarships for Military Spouses
Military members are the ones who spend all their time away from home fighting for all our freedoms. But it’s worth noting that they aren’t the only ones who make big sacrifices for their country.
Military spouses are often left behind at home to fend for themselves while their significant others are serving. It’s why there are also quite a few college scholarships that have been set up for them. The military plays a role in setting some of them up, but they’re also made available through other entities as well.
If you’re a military spouse, here are some of the best military spouse scholarships that may be available to you:
- CGMA Supplemental Education Grant Program
- NMCRS Education Assistance Program
- Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program
And this is just the beginning. There are so many scholarship opportunities out there for military spouses. You shouldn’t pass up the chance to try to qualify for at least one of them if your spouse has served in the military in the past.
These aren’t just scholarships for those who have lost a spouse who served in the military, either. Even if your spouse is taking advantage of the military education benefits available to them, you might also be able to qualify for benefits on your own.
Are you a veteran who is already enrolled in college with help from military education benefits and looking to get some real-world experience? You might be able to use a work-study program available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to do it.
There are VA work-study allowances that are available to full-time college students who served their country. Even if you’re already using something like the GI Bill to put yourself through school, you might be able to qualify for this program.
As part of this program, you will be able to “earn while you learn.” The VA will pay you either the federal minimum wage or your state’s minimum wage (whichever one is greater) to participate in a work-study program.
It’s a fantastic way to get the experience you’ll need to hit the ground running when you graduate and start looking for a job. At the same time, it’s also a good way to make some extra money while you’re still in college and working hard at getting your education.
Tutorial Assistance Program
As a veteran trying to secure a college education, you might find that you’ll have trouble with some of your classes. Like any other college student, you may be able to utilize the tutoring services that are available through your specific school.
But you don’t have to stop there. The VA can also help you find the tutoring that you need to succeed in school. All you have to do is ask the VA for help, and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
In some cases, the VA will be able to provide you with a tutor who you can meet with to get assistance. But in the event that the VA doesn’t have a tutor available in your area, they can also aim to help you find one quickly.
Either way, you can rest assured knowing you’ll be able to get help in whichever classes are giving you trouble. It’ll improve your chances of scoring higher grades in school and put you in a much better position than you might end up in otherwise.
This is just one more way in which military education benefits can work in your favor. They’ll make you so glad you decided to go through with joining the military in the first place.
Take Advantage of These Military Education Benefits
As you can see, there isn’t any shortage of military education benefits available to those who spent any length of time in the military. If you served in the military, you should explore the possibility of using these benefits to your advantage.
You should also check to see which military education benefits you might qualify for if your spouse or parent served in the military. Many family members of military members and veterans can get access to benefits and put them to good use.
Read more education-related articles by poking around on the rest of our blog 5elifestyle.