MMany active duty service members believe when they enlist after graduating high school they must delay a college education until after they meet service requirements. Active duty service members may find degree completion difficult in the traditional classroom setting due to frequent moves and a generally unpredictable lifestyle. Therefore, many service members choose to earn their degree online. The remote nature of online education makes it easier for military students to earn a degree during their service. Unfortunately, service members face other barriers to earning a degree, including paying for college. However, numerous educational benefits provide ways for military service members to earn a degree.
Military Students See Benefits of GI Bill
Qualifying military students and student veterans can receive tuition support through the Post 9/11 GI Bill and supplementary Yellow Ribbon Program offered by many private colleges and universities. The GI Bill covers tuition, fees, books and supplies and provides allowances for housing. While the GI Bill sets an annual cap on financial support, military students can choose a college or university that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which will cover half of any costs beyond those the GI Bill covers.
Military families can also transfer benefits through the GI Bill. Service members must meet specific eligibility criteria to transfer benefits, including six years of previous service and an agreement to serve at least four more. For qualifying service members, transferring GI Bill benefits to your spouse or children offers an excellent way to fund a college education without straining the family budget.
Other Education Benefits for Military Students
The Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) offers a new form of financial aid for military spouses designed to assist in completing military lifestyle-friendly career training. MyCAA helps pay for programs such as teaching certificates and nursing programs. MyCAA is restricted to spouses of certain military ranks.
Military-friendly colleges and universities offer special tuition rates for veterans, service members and spouses. Many colleges and universities offer tuition assistance programs to active duty service members and, in many cases, their spouses. Tuition assistance will pay 100 percent of tuition up to a yearly cap.
All military benefits apply to online degree programs, which offer increased flexibility.
Before you make a college decision, research which higher education institutions offer online programs and participate in military benefit programs. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs website is an informative resource and an ideal place to start your educational journey. If you are an active duty service member, your base might offer an education resource center that can assist in your collegiate pursuits.
Service members and their family make many sacrifices to serve in our military. Don’t sacrifice education. Use available resources to find military-friendly schools and further your education.