Military Student Aid 101

To those enlisted and serving in the armed forces, first off: thank you for doing what you do. Secondly, if you’re pursuing or seeking to pursue a college degree, you’re in the right business – the U.S. Military certainly takes care of its own through a variety of scholarships, loans, and bills. You and (in some cases) your children may be eligible for myriads of assistance in paying for a post-secondary education.

 

What kinds of student aid does the military offer?

From scholarships to outright payments, service members can receive enough funds to easily cover college. How much the government will give you hinges on details such as, among other things, how long you’ve been in the military, if you have family members in the military, if you went through ROTC in high school, and what your career within the military is. Here’s a basic list of aid offered by the military:

– Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) – if you qualify, the government will pay up to $4,500 a year ($18,000 over four years) in tuition and fees.

– Montgomery GI Bill – available for currently serving members as well as the reserves, depending on your eligibility, you will receive a monthly stipend for books and supplies.

– Post 9/11 GI Bill – This bill can pay 100% of your tuition and fees for any public school within the U.S. The only requirement is that you have served as a soldier in the military for at least 90 active days following September 11, 2001.

– Army National Guard Kicker – An incentive for those who aren’t on a career path within the army, this plan provides a monthly stipend for service members who are pursuing a direct career and are eligible.

– Specialized Training Assistance Program (STRAP) – If you are pursuing a specialized career (such as nurse or doctor) you may be eligible for this stipend.

– ROTC Scholarships (DEDNG and GRFD) – If you are a U.S. citizen, have a high school  GPA of 2.5 or more, scored a 19 on the ACT (920 on the SAT), completed the ROTC Basic Course or completed Basic Training, you may be eligible for one or both of the ROTC scholarships offered through the Army National Guard

– Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) – If you have a Federal PLUS loan that needs repaying, you can receive up to $50,000 towards your debt from the army.

– Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) – If you are a medical professional in the military, this program can help you repay outstanding debt.

 

For more information about any of the above assistances, you can head to the National Guard (http://www.nationalguard.com/education) or the GoArmy (http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/education-benefits.html) websites.

 

 

Should I consider joining the military to help pay for college?

A free-ride to college is rarely just that – free. Being in the military gives you access to all (or at least most) of the benefits listed above, but the cost is – to some extent – your free will. Before you rush off to the nearest enlistment center, read up as much as you can on what service is actually like.

Selling your freedom to the government is no small matter. If your only motivation for joining the military is the fact that they will cover the costs of your college education, stop right now and start looking at other grants and scholarships. Joining the army is a commitment, one that can potentially kill you. Yes, being in the military has its perks, but those perks shouldn’t lure you into service, they should help you survive and thrive once you’re already there. Read full article here

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