Exactly What Benefits Do Active-Duty Military Students Have Available?

Being an active duty military member can be one of the most rewarding careers available. Not only do members receive full time pay, comprehensive medical benefits, and all the perks of having a full time job, they also can receive these and other benefits while being a student. There are several benefits that make being a student while also an active duty member of the armed forces an excellent choice for your future.

Tuition Assistance

If you are an active duty military member who is interested in going to school, you just might be able to do it for free. First, many states give members of the armed forced in-state tuition, which means you can continue your education at a low tuition rate even as you are moved to different areas. Second, the military will pay 100% of your tuition up to $4,500 per year . There are other programs that can cover some of the remainder, if tuition costs exceed $4,500. In addition, military members are eligible for grants, scholarships, and financial aid programs just as civilians are. Many schools, known as Yellow Ribbon Schools, also reduce tuition for active duty military members.

GI Bill

The GI Bill has changed since 9/11 to make it even more generous to members of the active duty military and their dependents. The GI Bill offers full tuition and living expenses for up to four years of education, including both universities and trade schools. A stipend is also provided for books and supplies. In addition, members of the military who do not use their GI Bill benefits can transfer them to dependents such as a spouse or children. As with the Tuition Assistance program, people who use the GI Bill are still eligible for the full range of scholarships, grants, and financial aid.

Independent Study

Because being active duty military is a demanding job, military branches contract with schools and universities so members can complete classes while receiving the flexibility that they need to succeed. In these programs, active duty members can attend classes on base or study independently. When they have mastered the material they can then test for full class credit when their schedule allows. These testing programs are usually known as CLEP and DANTES. Only limited classes, usually general education, are given in this form, so it is important to make sure that the university you eventually plan to attend accepts these credits.

Getting a degree is necessary in order for active duty members of the military to be promoted to higher ranks. In addition, having a degree is undeniably advantageous in civilian life, with holders of a bachelor’s degree making $27,000 per year more than high school graduates on average. The education benefits available to active duty members reduce the cost to either free or very affordable, so there is no reason not to begin furthering your education.