If you want to get a degree without paying a penny, joining the military can be a worthy consideration. Thankfully, the government has set up a number of programs for service personnel and their dependents. The military education benefits are available to service members, whether they are on active duty or reserve. What’s more, these benefits get renewed and bring many more advantages. For instance, an updated Forever GI Bill plans to cover areas that the Post-9/11 GI Bill did not. Under the new bill, school disclosures, Military Spouse Debt Relief, and Forgiveness are the primary focus.
In case you have served in the military or plan to do so, we strongly recommend you to proceed after reading about the education benefits. You can take exams to earn credits without attending the class, transfer your earned credits or receive monthly stipends, tuition discounts, and more. There are plenty of useful programs available both to service members and their dependents. Dependents include spouses and children. To sum up, Military education benefits allow you to go through college without spending money out of pocket. If we consider for a second the number of people who get loans and then get stuck making payments, these Military programs are worth considering.
In this guide, we will present you with some excellent opportunities for education which Military service will bring. The best part of military benefits is that you will not be seeking a way out of your debt as you won’t incur it in the first place. Many financial assistance plans cover tuition fees and study costs, or provide monthly payments for education. However, finding the most suitable benefit for you and understanding every single detail of it is a complex process. Now that you have access to such great benefits, it’s important that you maximize your chance. Contact us for any questions or request expert help to guide you through the processes. With Forget Student Debt by your side, you can make the most of every new opportunity.
We start our discussion of Military education benefits with the most incredible program. Honestly, among the various options that we will talk through in this guide, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the best one that you can benefit from. It is mostly because the program is so generous and allows you to get an education without paying a penny. The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers all tuition fees, provides funds for textbooks, and even pays a monthly allowance for housing. Plus, the eligibility criteria for the program suits most applicants. You need to have served at least 90 days on active duty to qualify for the benefit. Your duty period should be after September 10, 2001, which is apparent from the name of the program. Also, it does not matter for eligibility if you are discharged or you are still serving in the military.
You should also consider that your portion of the award highly depends on the duration of the service. For instance, people who were on active duty for more than 36 months receive 100% of the award. Also, there are changes to this program under the new bill- Forever GI Bill. Currently, people who serve for 90 days get only 40% of the award. However, after August 2020, when the new bill will be in effect, they will receive 50% of the benefit.
Additionally, the Post-9/11 GI Bill also allows Military Spouse Student Loan Forgiveness. Children or spouses of military personnel who did on duty can benefit from this program. Children aged between 18 and 33 are eligible to receive 100% the education benefit. Also, spouses can get the full award if they have not married for 15 years after the death of a service member.
Although we mentioned that the Post-9/11 GI Bill is one of the best Military education benefits, there are drawbacks to this program. Therefore, the administration created a new bill – Forever GI Bill- to improve the current plan. We can also consider this program as the updated version of the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, which ceased to operate. This new bill brings a lot of additional benefits that did not exist under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
One such change protects students from school disclosures. With the previous bill, students had a limited opportunity to demand their resources back if the school closed. However, now they can take advantage of the program if they were active students during the closure.
Another update is about the active period of Military education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Before, participants of the program had only 15 years to enjoy the benefits of the program. The Forever GI Bill eliminates this unnecessary limitation and makes the benefit available to spouses and children of listed people.
This program also extended eligibility for Yellow Ribbon to Purple Heart and Fry Scholarship recipients. We will discuss the benefits and qualification requirements of Yellow Ribbon in the subsequent sections. Besides, it allocates housing allowances to participants of the Post-9/11 GI Bill after 2018. There are a lot more updates to existing bills under Forever GI. You can be aware of all the changes in our other blog post dedicated to Forever GI Bill.
Montgomery GI Bills make Military education benefits available to both active duty members and reserves. It covers the costs of education and training programs. If you have a minimum of 2 years’ experience on active duty, then it is an excellent opportunity for you to study without debt. The eligibility criteria for the program are easy-to-understand but involve many terms and conditions. Currently, there are four categories of qualifying applicants. Each of them has different education and service characteristics.
In return for your Military service, you can receive an education benefit for a 36 month period. You will receive the benefits on a monthly basis. Your reward amount also depends on the length of your commitment, type of education you want to get, your category, and more.
The first step you need to take for the benefit is checking if your school is eligible. The program should approve your plan of study. In case you want to study in an ineligible institution, then your school should request approval. The next step involves an application to the program through an online platform, via mail or in person. Lastly, you need to ask an official in your school to certify your enrollment. You have to do it at the end of each month. Otherwise, you will not receive your payments.
If you want to study in a school that the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not cover, you can get the help of the Yellow Ribbon program. You should keep in mind that it is one of the Military education benefits that are not available to service members who are on active duty. Also, this program is not part of Military Spouse Student Loan Forgiveness. However, there will be updates to the program after August 2022, which will guarantee the benefit to active service members or their spouses.
The way the benefit works is through an agreement by the school and the Yellow Ribbon Program. Therefore, both the applicant and the school should meet the eligibility requirements. The applicant should be entitled to 100% of the award to qualify. As mentioned before, this benefit is available to service members with 36 months of active duty. Alternatively, if the applicant received a Purple Heart after September 2001 or got a Fry Scholarship after 2018, then he/she will qualify for benefits. Other conditions also qualify applicants for benefits. You can get more familiar with those points on our Yellow Ribbon page.
Top-Up is another example of supplemental Military education benefits. If the tuition fee is high and the Tuition Assistance is not enough to cover it, you can take advantage of this benefit. This program only includes the amount of tuition fee that you are short of. In other words, the award of the program is the difference between the tuition fee and your current financial assistance. For this reason, your total benefit from both of the applications cannot exceed the study cost.
You need first to be a receiver of Tuition Assistance of the Military Department to qualify for top-up from GI Bill. Also, you should be on active duty with a minimum of two years of service background. Your cost of the course should exceed the Tuition Assistance benefit to be eligible. Lastly, only Veterans can apply to the program.
Some Military education benefits assist enlisted individuals with better service instead of just directly providing funds. One such program is Servicemembers Opportunity College. This program makes studying easier for people in active duty. Plus, their spouses or children can also participate in the program.
Service members usually face hardships while studying because they frequently move to different regions. As a result, they cannot maintain their studies. However, SOC assists people in transferring their credits easily. Also, gaining credits is much simpler with SOC. Service members need to answer simplified tests about the services or skills they have to earn credits. This way, when active-duty members complete their service, they will own an adequate number of credits and hasten the degree obtaining process.
DANTES also belongs to the category of Military education benefits, which ease studying for Military personnel. In general, this program allows people to take exams, either CLEP or DSST, to test their knowledge on different subjects. If they pass the test, they earn credit without gaining this knowledge in college. This program is available to service members, spouses of Coast Guard active or reserve members, and employees of the Air Force.
DANTES Credit-by-Examination program provides several benefits. With its help, individuals can earn credits for prior knowledge by saving time. The exam lasts only a few hours and gives you credits instead of spending weeks in the classroom. Plus, the program provides financial help as DANTES funds the first attempt per exam. Participants can also find useful material and test preparations online, entirely for free.
Basic Allowance for Housing is an excellent opportunity for Military members to get help for housing. This program provides an allowance for housing in the form of monthly funds. Both service members and their dependents, such as spouses or children, can take advantage of the program. However, you should not receive government housing to qualify for this program.
Several factors affect the eligibility of applicants. One of them is marital status, which requires legal marriage documentation. Plus, your rank in the military matters considerably. The higher the level, the more chances you have for getting the benefits. Having children also improves your chances. The reasoning is that people with dependents need housing more than singles. Yet, keep in mind that the number of dependents is not essential.
There is an extra advantage of this program for people who receive Military education benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If the participants are studying full-time, they will get the allowance no matter their rank or dependent existence.
You should also be aware that BAH rates mostly depend on the location. Service members living in expensive places receive more financial assistance than people in poor regions. Also, the government conducts annual surveys to determine the standard rates of rent of properties and adjust the rates accordingly. You can find your BAH rate with the help of online calculators. Usually, these tools need you to input information like Zip Code, pay rank, etc. to estimate the probable BAH rate.
There exist different types of benefits available to spouses of enlisted people, such as life insurance discounts or Military Spouse Student Loan Forgiveness plans. Military education benefits are one of the most useful programs that spouses of service members can enjoy. It is much easier for them to get a degree without sharing the burden of high costs of education.
Among the current benefits, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a prominent one. We have already discussed the benefits of the bill. Luckily, it is also transferable to dependents, both spouses and children. The eligibility criteria require that the service member should have served for a minimum of six years to qualify for the program. Plus, they should agree to continue their commitment for an additional four years after they receive the support of the program.
There are also many Military Spouse Student Loan Forgiveness and other benefits available to dependents based on the branch of service. Army, Navy, Air Forces- all have access to different programs. For instance, dependents can get a 50% reduction in tuition fees through Overseas Education Program and the Stateside Education Assistance.
With the help of this program, you will not be seeking Military Spouse Debt Relief programs because you will not get any debt in the first place. This program provides educational assistance in the form of monthly payments. These funds can cover degree, certification programs, as well as career counseling, apprenticeships, or vocational training. People who applied and received the award before August of 2018, enjoy the benefits for 45 months. However, after that period, applicants who want to apply can only get the benefit for three years.
As its name suggests, this assistance is available to spouses and children of service members. However, it requires some undesirable conditions. You can be eligible if the service member is dead, captured, or missing. Alternatively, if the Military member has disabilities, then you, as a dependent, will receive assistance for education. There is also an age restriction that allows people aged between 18 to 26 to get the benefit. Also, the availability and other details of the program changes based on who receives the award.
In this guide, we presented you with some of the available programs for Military service members to get an education. Some of these programs are also part of Military Spouse Debt Relief, which gets spouses of enlisted people out of debt. Now that you have information about the current Military education benefits, it is time to choose your program and enjoy the benefits. However, if you cannot decide or you have questions, contact Forget Student Debt. We provide you with expert help as we deal with student aid issues regularly. Forget Student Debt has the required expertise level to guide you through the whole process and maximize your chance to take advantage of the benefits available to you.