Are there Service Specific Education Benefits Available to Military Personnel?

Educational service benefits help military personnel pay for the costs associated with going to college. While some of these programs are only open to those currently enlisted and on active duty, other programs allow these former soldiers to cover their expenses after they retire or complete their terms. These programs can help students cover tuition costs, but they can also pay for other expenses they have such as textbooks and housing. Each branch offers different tuition and assistance programs for former and current personnel.

Tuition Assistance

Tuition assistance programs provide students with a stipend that they can use to cover tuition costs. It only covers the costs charged by the college or university and not other costs a student may face. Tuition assistance will only pay for tuition and fees up to a certain amount, too. This is usually around $260 per semester hour, but it can vary across the different branches. The Navy, for example, only covers 16 credits of courses taken in a single year and only up to $4,500 per year. Students who attend a more expensive school or want to take more classes are responsible for paying all remaining costs out of their own pockets.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill

GI Bill

One of the more common forms of assistance open to those who served is the GI Bill, but many students do not realize that the GI Bill consists of different programs. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is available only to those who enlisted or served after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It provides students with cash that they can use to cover tuition, fees and all other costs, including housing and supplies. The Montgomery GI Bill has a component for veterans and those on active duty and a separate component for those in the selected reserves. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, students can apply for these benefits in person or through the mail.

Loan Repayment

Students currently enlisted in the military can inquire about loan repayment programs. These are service specific programs that vary between branches. The idea behind loan repayment programs is that each one allows students to go to college and use loans to pay for their educational costs. Once they complete the minimum amount of time the branch requires that they serve, the branch will then forgive their loans. ROTC has a similar program in place. Students can serve with ROTC on their campuses and then enlist in a branch after they graduate. Not only will ROTC forgive their loans, but they can also start out their military careers at a higher level.

School Specific

Students on active duty and those currently enlisted should also check with the colleges they want to attend about any special financial aid programs offered by those schools. Many schools have programs that reduce the price charged per credit hour for enlisted personnel. Others have programs that allow these students to take classes online while stationed at bases around the world.

One of the main concerns that students today have is how they will pay for college. The cost of tuition and fees rises from year to year. Military students, including veterans and those on active duty, qualify for different packages that include financial aid programs offered by individual schools and service specific programs offered by each branch.