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THE MILITARY HELPS PAY FOR COLLEGE 

 
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TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
CREDIT PROGRAMS
SENIOR MILITARY COLLEGES
RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS (ROTC)
SERVICE ACADEMIES
OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOLS

If getting a college education is your priority, the Military is one way to meet that goal. From Mili-tary Service Academies, to Military Colleges, the ROTC, Credit and Tuition Support Pro-grams, there are many options available to young people today.

Tuition Assistance Programs
Tuition support is one of the many ways that the Military can help you with the rising cost of postsecondary education. This program is the same for full-time duty members in each military service. Selected military reserve and National Guard units also offer a Tuition Assistance Program, although the benefits may vary from the full-time duty program.

There are four main initiatives that make up Tuition Sup-port Programs:

Montgomery GI Bill. The Montgomery GI Bill is designed to help you pay for your college education.

Depending on how long you enlist with the Army and the job you choose, you can get over $50,000 to help pay for college. All you have to do is give $100 a month during your first year of service.

The GI Bill can be used not only for college degree programs but also for certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and distance education courses, among others. Members of the Reserves and National Guard are also eligible for the GI Bill, although at reduced rates. For more information, go to www.gibill.va.gov or call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is a new education benefit, effective August 1, 2009, for individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. Personnel who wish to take advantage of this program must have served at least 90 aggregate days of active duty after September 11, 2001, still be on active duty, or honorably discharged or released. Personnel currently receiving benefits under another military education assistance program may elect to enroll in the Post-9/11 GI Bill but will no longer be eligible for the benefits offered by the previous program.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill the individual would be eligible to receive the cost of tuition and fees not to exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher education, a monthly housing allowance, and a maximum books and supplies allowance of $1,000. Some individuals may be eligible for a $500 relocation payment.

Recipients may receive up to 36 months of entitlement. Eligible individuals should also be aware that if you are a member of the Armed Forces on August 1, 2009 you may be able to transfer your benefits to a spouse or dependent child.

Interested military personnel should visit www.gibill.va.gov for more information.

College Fund Programs. (Also known as the Montgomery GI Bill “kicker”). You may receive College Fund money (alsoreferred to as a “kicker”) if your branch of service awarded you the College Fund when you entered active duty. Eligibility for the College Fund is based on having a critical occupational specialty. Generally, the service’s recruiters sign up individuals for the College Fund.

Loan Repayment Pro-grams. For many college students, student loan debt becomes a very big concern and issue following graduation. As an incentive to enlistment, each of the Military Services are free to offer a College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP). Under the program, the military will repay a portion of eligible college loans for non-prior service military members. Each of the services have applied their own maximums and criteria for eligibility. Loan repayment funds can be applied to approved Perkins, Stafford, or other Department of Education Guaranteed Student Loans that the student incurred while in college. For more information contact the military service in which you are interested.

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Credit Programs
Financial assistance isn’t the only way that the Military can help a young person obtain a higher education. Credit Pro-grams enable service personnel to earn credits at schools, colleges and universities across the country. Credit Programs are offered through four ways:

Military School Credits. The American Council on Education collaborates with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to review military training and experiences and recommend appropriate college credit for members of the Armed Forces. ACE’s credit recommendations appear in the Military Guide and on military transcripts.

Servicemember Opportunity Colleges (SOC). Hundreds of thousands of servicemembers and their family members enroll annually in programs offered by SOC Consortium member universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical institutes. Military students may enroll in associate, bachelor, and graduate-level degree programs on school campuses, military installations, and armories within the United States and overseas. It’s popular because it’s a built-in way to get a college degree - even if duty stations change. SOC is a group of 1,900 colleges and universities that agree to transfer credits between themselves for members of the Military and their families. Be it Key West, Florida or San Diego, California, you can continue college studies via SOC. Coursework is done in the classroom, at a distance by computer or by mail. For information contact Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, 1307 New York Ave., NW, Fifth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-4701, 800-368-5622 or 202-667-0079, fax 202-667-0622, E-mail: socmail@aascu.org or visit the Web site www.socmail.aascu.org.

Credits Earned Through Testing (CLEP). Enlistees need to look no farther for college credit than the local Base Education Center (most bases have one). There they can take the CLEP examination series (general exams like Mathe-mat-ics or subject exams like West-ern Civilization), the DSST subject series, or the well-known Regents examination series. Name the subject, and the Mili-tary probably has a test for it. Pass, and the credits are awarded, usually three credits per subject exam. For more information visit www.dantes.doded.mil, E-mail: dantes@navy.mil, call 850-452-1111.

Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is an accredited two-year college open to enlisted Air Force men and women. CCAF offers nearly 70 different associate degree programs in many scientific and technical fields including computer science technology, avionic systems technology, air and space operations technology, allied health sciences, paralegal, information management and more.

Registration is free, and CCAF establishes a special study program for each student. Go to www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf for more information. You may also call 334-953-2223 for questions about admissions.

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Senior Military Colleges
For students who would like to experience a military environment while getting an education, a Senior Military College (SMC) offers both. Learn more about SMC’s by visiting their Web sites: Norwich Univer-sity (www.norwich.edu); Virginia Military Institute (www.vmi.edu); The Citadel (www.citadel.edu); Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (www.vtcc.vt.edu); North Georgia College and State Uni-versity (www.ngcsu.edu); Texas A & M University Corps of Cadets (www.aggiecorps.org); and Mary Baldwin College - Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (www.mbc.edu/vwil).

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Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
ROTC programs, offered by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and the Air Force, train qualified young men and women to become officers in those services upon graduation from college. (Coast Guard does not have an ROTC program. However, high school seniors, and college and vocational students between the ages of 17 and 28 can enroll in the Coast Guard Student Reserve Program.) ROTC is available in over 1,000 colleges and universities through-out the U.S., both those that host ROTC units or detachments and those with cross-enrollment agree-ments with them. During college, students take a full course load. However, included in the curriculum are Military Science courses that provide the specialized knowledge needed as an officer. In addition to academic courses, ROTC candidates wear uniforms once a week during military labs, drills, military science presentations and other practical training activities. ROTC summer programs offer a taste of military life - such as midshipmen cruises in Naval ROTC - and round out a candidate’s military training.

For more information, visit www.todaysmilitary.com.

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Service Academies
The four military service academies: the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, New York), the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland), the U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut) offer still another way to pay for college. Tuition, books, board, medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years - and you get paid a monthly stipend as well. The “catch” is that the competition to get in is fierce. They each look for (and get) the cream of the crop - high-achieving men and women with leadership potential. Admis-sions criteria include: high school academic performance; standardized test scores (SAT or ACT); athletics and non-athletic extracurricular activities; leadership positions; community involvement and work experiences. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree (four-year college degree) and a leadership job as a junior officer in the Military - Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. There is a minimum service obligation of five years, but most academy graduates make the Military their career.

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Officer Candidate Schools
College graduates who missed out on ROTC but who would still like to become military officers can do so by attending the Officer Candidate (or Training) School (OCS/OTS). OCS/OTS is available in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, and lasts between 10 and 17 weeks. Admission right after graduation.

For more information: Army OCS, www.goarmy.com/ocs/; Marine Corps OCS, http://officer.marines.com/; Navy OCS, http://usnavyocs.com; Air Force OTS, www.afoats.af.mil and follow the link for Officer Training School; or Coast Guard OCS, www.coastguardocs.org.

Source: www.todaysmilitary.com

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