Atten-Hut! Military Service Makes You Eligible for Financial Aid

Young man in militaryListen up veterans or those considering a military career. There are several financial aid programs available today that promote U.S. armed forces recruiting. They are for those service members who are interested in earning a high school and/or college degree. The programs apply to those who want to join the military, to those serving in the military and to those who have finished their military service and returned to civilian life.

One of the concerns many military personnel have is connected with the transition to civilian life. Anyone who has been or is currently a member of the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the National Guard or any military Reserve is eligible for one or more financial aid programs specifically designed for service members. Some personnel get free college while in the military, while others wait until they finish their military commitment to pursue an education.

One of the benefits of military service financial aid is that it can be used alone or combined with other types of non-military college benefits. For example, the financial aid from the Montgomery GI Bill can be added to a financial aid package that includes a Stafford loan or a scholarship.

Following are some of the financial aid benefits available to military personnel at this time.

The Montgomery GI Bill Gives Military Personnel Access to Education

The Montgomery GI Bill applies to all military service members including the Reserves. This program required pre-9/11 recruits to pay $100 a month for the first 12 months of active duty to be able to participate in the education benefits. The post 9/11 GI bill does not require the $100 monthly payment.

The GI bill requires that military personnel serve at least 2 years to be eligible for benefits. The amount of the BI bill benefits a person receives is calculated based on years of service, type of training, military category and the academic program pursued.

For recruits starting the program after August 1, 2009 the benefits can only be used at an approved degree granting educational institution. Those participating in the program before August 1, 2009 can use the benefits to pursue a college degree, take business or technical classes, enroll in vocational courses, take distance learning classes, attend apprenticeship training programs or complete flight training.

The benefits can be used for 36 months of education and are available for up to 10 years after military service ends. The GI bill application (Form 22-1990) can be found online at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Still Enlisted?….Try Tuition Assistance

If you are still enlisted in the service, the Tuition Assistance program will pay 100% of the cost of enrolling in a course at a degree granting college or university, high school, or vocational school. The program will also pay 100% of the cost associated with getting a high school degree. Current dollar limits on benefits can be found at

The Tuition Assistance benefits can be combined with the GI bill veterans benefits so that your full educational expenses are paid. In addition, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have additional College Funds programs that can also be combined with the GI bill benefits. The funds are awarded based on academic merit.

Try Out ROTC and See if Military Service is for You

The government wants to encourage the brightest students to consider military service, so it offers ROTC scholarships. The Army ROTC scholarships will pay full-time tuition and fees and books. You must take a military science class the first year, but you don’t have to commit to joining the military until the second year. If you do commit the first year or later, you are agreeing to enter the service as an officer upon graduation.

Any military member who wants to attend school has plenty of opportunity to obtain financial aid. It is the country’s way of saying “thank you” for the service.