Are you thinking about going back to school after your service in the military? Or are you still in the military but you want to increase your knowledge and skills before continuing your service?
This is not unusual for members of the military. After all, the military will only require a high school diploma or a GED for applicants.
If you joined the service right after your high school graduation, it is only right that you try to pursue a higher education. This is the best way that you can invest in yourself and your future.
Benefits of going back to school
You will find it easier to ease back into the civilian world
You can start where you left off.
You can improve your knowledge and skills.
You have the chance increase your connections – socially and professionally.
You will qualify for more jobs after getting a degree.
You have a chance to increase your financial security.
Back to school tips for military members or veterans
Look for a military-friendly school
There are schools that offer the best terms for military service members and veterans. They are known to be helpful and even offer benefits to a veteran or active duty soldier enrollees. You can benefit from special programs and flexible terms.
Take it easy in taking in credits
You do not have to maximize your credit load. Take it easy during your first semester. That way, you will not feel too stressed with school work while you are adjusting to life outside of the military. College life brings a different level of stress – something that you have to get used to. An easy credit load will help you adjust without compromising your studies.
Know who your VA is
Your VA will help you with a lot of things – tips, pointers, and even access to resources that you will need to complete your higher education. There is usually a VA in every campus who can be a great help to students like you.
Use the financial aid available for veterans and military soldiers
A college education is not cheap. In fact, young adults are struggling with their student loan debts. If you want to avoid this, you need to take advantage of programs like the GI Bill that will help pay for a portion of your education. There are other funding programs available – you just have to research them so you can apply.
Prepare your documents and requirements before applying
Make sure all your paperworks are done before you take care of your application. Connect with the VA and know the school that you will apply to. See if you have earned DD-214 credits – this can help you save money.
Enjoy your studies
Once you have applied and gotten in, just relax and enjoy your stay in college. This is a great way to prepare for your future. Make sure you enjoy every moment because that will make you more open to learning.
How to pay for your education
As a veteran and military soldier, there are many ways that you can get financial assistance for your college education.
Military’s Tuition Assistance Program
This only available to accredited colleges, universities, and similar schools. The details of the financial aid and the requirements to qualify will depend on what military service you belong to. You can get assistance for professional certifications to graduate degrees.
Post 9/11 GI Bill
This became effective on August 1, 2009, and it is considered to be the most comprehensive of all the benefit packages for education. This is available for all veterans who served after September 10, 2001. If you have at least 90 days of continuous service, you will become eligible for this benefit. You can tap into it to help you pay for your tuition and fees, living costs and even your books and supplies.
GI Bill “kicker”
This is actually known as the College Fund Program that will provide qualified veterans and military soldiers with an additional fund on top of what they can receive from the Post 9/11 GI Bill. All the branches of military services have a counterpart of this fund – except for the Air Force but they have their own version of it. There are only two qualifications – you have to hold a high school diploma and you should qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Community College of the Air Force
This is the Air Force equivalent of the College Fund Program of the other military branches. This is exclusive to Air Force men and women only. There are almost 70 associate degree programs that include scientific and technical fields.
These are academic exams administered by the Military to help military soldiers earn college credits. This is usually earned for the skills that you acquired while training in the military.
Loan Repayment Program
This is not necessarily give you money to pay for college – but it will help you pay off any student loans that you will borrow. There are many repayment programs that will vary depending on where you serve in the military. You can use programs on top of each other so make sure you study all the repayment programs available. You might end up paying $0 each month and still qualify for student loan forgiveness.