About Military Degree Programs
Many men and women volunteer to serve our country in a time of great need. They sweat, sacrifice, and work hard to keep the United States safe. How does the government repay the debt owed? One way is through the GI Bill which provides education resources to help those currently enlisted and veterans achieve their college degree via a degree program at a college or university that accepts GI Bill students.
In the United States today there are millions of individuals who are unemployed or underemployed. While the economy is recovering from a recession, it is important that veterans returning home are able to stand out from the crowd and find jobs to benefit their families. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to obtain a college degree.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill can provide the support necessary while attending school to gain the critical skills to land a post-military job. The bill provides financial support for education and housing to eligible individuals. Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance.
Where to Get Your College Degree
Most students find that for-profit online schools or community colleges are the best option for completing their degree. For example, the University of Phoenix operates a military division with over 1,000 employees designated to assist and advise veterans. Currently, there are over 10,000 students at the University of Phoenix who are utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Community colleges are also a popular option because of their low cost and convenient locations. Even in rural areas, there is typically a community college located within an hour radius. Community colleges are also tailoring their programs to meet the needs of veterans and encouraging recruitment.
One benefit of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the “yellow ribbon” program which helps veterans to afford more costly institutions such as graduate school, private schools, and out-of-state public universities. Under this program, the federal government matches the amount of aid pledged by participating colleges above the base educational benefits for tuition and fees that are provided under the GI Bill. Last year, more than 700 colleges participated in the yellow ribbon program.
To be eligible for benefits one must meet the following criteria:
- Served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10,2001; still on active duty or honorably-discharged from the active duty; or
- released from active duty and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list; or
- released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or
- released from the active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces
- One may also be eligible if they were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001
The benefits provided under the Post-9/11 GI Bill include:
- Cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of his/her education (paid to school);
- Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents, in the same zip code as school attending (paid to student);
- Yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1000 per year (paid to student); and
- A one-time payment of $500 paid to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas.
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, students are eligible for a percentage of the total cost, depending on the length of military service.
Joining the military is not for everyone but the benefits provided by the GI Bill can help in a small way to repay our enlisted men and women and veterans for their faithful service to our country. For more information regarding the GI Bill and the specific education benefits please contact the local Veterans Affairs Office or a military recruiter. Soldiers must apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to ensure education benefits.