College! Education! Spending years on learning! Nothing sounds more fun that
that right? The military has many great benefits but one of the best is
education. The GI Bill which will pay for most education programs including is
a four-year bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university. Here are
how your college years can be even more affordable by receiving thousands more
potential dollars in your bank account to cover college expenses.
Military Tuition Assistance
Each branch has their version of Tuition Assistance (TA), including guard
and reserves. This is a program that is not utilized enough from people who
only plan to do a few years of military service. Guys, EXTRA FREE COLLEGE and
you save time knocking out classes while you’re still serving. This program
could be one of the most beneficial things out of your years of service no
matter how long you are serving. Education and experience are what you will
rely on to continue a career outside the armed forces.
TA is a program that will pay for your college classes up to a certain number
of classes or dollars per year. This allows you to take colleges classes and work
toward earning a degree, and it does not impact your GI Bill benefits.
During a four-year enlistment in the military you could knock out more than
a year of college courses. Your friends that went straight to college will be
done with their bachelors when you separate. You will only be two or three
years behind them instead of four as well as have no debt. You will also have spare
months from your GI bill which could help pay for a master’s degree or additional
classes in other interests you may have.
If you plan to do 20 years or more in the service, TA can allow you to
progress your career more rapidly. Commanders and supervisors love to see their
troops attain degrees. You can knock out bachelors, masters, or even a doctorate
during your time in service. Help yourself achieve higher ranks, commission, or
for a career after your time serving comes to an end.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TA!
If a COOL program is available to you, take advantage of it. Some careers
are better for degrees so this may not be the focus. Other careers care much
more about certifications, so this is the program for those jobs.
Rules are changed all the time on TA and COOL programs, some branches allow
their people to receive nearly any certification with COOL. You may want to use
COOL to help with your current career and knowledge or use COOL to attain a certification in something you enjoy. Refer to the education office to see what is allowed and what can be added through a waiver.
When I was serving, I was only allowed to get certifications that aligned
with my career, that is no longer the case as of December 2020. If I was still serving, I’d be able to get a skydiving certification or possibly even a pilot’s license,
find an interest and see if COOL covers it!
Post 9/11 GI Bill
The post 9/11 GI Bill is one of two main GI bills offered to active duty
military members. Guard and reserve have their own version of the GI bill.
Most of us know that both GI bills will give you enough money to have college
paid for. What are the other perks that could allow you to pocket some extra
cash? Could you even save some money while in college?
If you are eligible for full benefits here are some great perks that you can
For books and supplies, you can receive up to $1,000 per school year. This
money is given to you based on the needs of your classes, is should be spent on
supplies and books however it is given to you through direct deposit/check so
you won’t be told exactly what supplies and books need to be purchased.
If you are full time student, you will receive a housing allowance based on
E-5 with dependents in your area. So, if you are going to college in San
Francisco it will be much higher than rural Oklahoma. You will also only
receive this money while you are in school (not during breaks) and you will
only receive this money if you are separated from the military.
If you are not a full-time student it will be reduced based on the amount of
credits you are taking, 6 credits is half the money. Online students will only
receive up to half of the money if they are full time students.
For more information you can go to https://www.va.gov/
This housing allowance given to you through direct deposit. Nobody is
tracking how much you spend on housing. If your cost of housing is half the
price you will still receive full payment.
For example, in Phoenix the current 2020 BAH for E-5 is $1,710. The normal
college school year is about 9 months. You will receive about $15,390 per
school year if you live in Phoenix just by going to school full time. That is
for 36 months or 4 school years. That is a ton of money for a few hours of
class per week. This should allow you to spend all of your time focusing on
Both GI Bills will pay for many colleges overseas and this GI Bill provides
a flat rate of housing allowance no matter where you go to school. As of 2020 you
will receive a flat rate of $1,500 per month while attending overseas colleges.
Montgomery GI Bill
This GI Bill can be better if you are going to use the GI bill while still
active duty. Of course, TA should be used first if possible. The Montgomery GI Bill
pays you directly and you pay the school. The school will say how much it will
cost you to attend the school, including cost of supplies. The VA will pay you
based on that dollar amount. Most schools will be generous in the dollar amount
they provide to the VA so you can receive as much money as possible for your scholarly requirements.
Look into your situation to see which GI Bill will provide you with more
money over the 36 months. This could be tens of thousands of dollars
ALERT!!!!! YOU CAN GET FAFSA WHILE USING TA! This is something I found out
while using TA early in my military career. Even if you are taking one or two
classes your FAFSA will just be split based on how full time you are. If you
are taking 6 credits you will receive half of the FAFSA that you qualified for.
This could be hundreds of dollars per semester!
FAFSA can be a way to help pay for things like books, fees, laptops, etc.
which TA does not cover. You can also receive FAFSA while using GI Bills.
Depending on your situation this could be thousands of dollars per year. So,
FAFSA does not require veterans to input their parent’s income when
submitting for FAFSA. This is a big reason many people don’t receive money from
FAFSA as normal college students (their household income is too high) but due
to your independence as a veteran not putting your parents’ income should help
you qualify for a higher Pell Grant.
Some colleges will pay a scholarship to transfer students. For example,
Arizona State University will pay students about $2,000 per semester as of 2020
if they are a transfer student with a 3.5 GPA or higher. So, while using TA at
a community college or any college for that matter, be sure to keep your GPA up,
you never know what scholarships you miss out on from slacking on one or two
classes tanking your GPA. (also, a higher GPA gives you more options for
programs and colleges to attend)
These will vary depending on your school so don’t count on this to help pay
for college costs.
Getting a housing allowance, book allowance, scholarships, high GPA incentives,
and FAFSA combined could be an extraordinary sum, on top of having college paid.
Combining this money can be well over $25,000 each school year. Take advantage
of these benefits to get the best education you can!
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