Whether you’re future military personnel, active-duty personnel, a veteran, or related to active duty personnel or a veteran, both the federal government and nonprofit organizations offer money to help you pay for your higher education expenses. A few types of aid available for military members include scholarships, grants, and loans. Continue reading to get a more in-depth look at the type of programs available from each option.
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Scholarships
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships are available for Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines branches. This scholarship is awarded based on merit instead of financial need. Army ROTC scholarships are available at hundreds of college campuses across the country. Although the Air Force scholarship is open to students entering a wide variety of majors, it does target those planning to pursue technical and certain foreign language degrees.
The Navy offers both two-year and four-year ROTC scholarships, and students can join the Navy, Navy Nursing Corps, or the Marines when they complete their education. Finally, the Marine Officer NROTC Program will pay your way through approved schools, as well as offering additional scholarships if you attend one of the approved Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
Students who lost a parent as a result of military service in Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001, might be eligible for additional financial aid. To be eligible, students must be 24 years old or younger or enrolled at least part-time at a career school or college at the time of their parent’s or guardian’s death. If you meet these requirements and you’re eligible to receive a Pell Grant, you’ll get an Expected Family Contribution of zero. This maximizes what you’re entitled to with Pell Grant eligibility and can increase your chances for other federal student aid programs.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
If you served on active duty for 90 more days after September 10, 2001, you’re eligible to receive education benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This bill can completely cover your tuition and fees, as well as offer an allowance for housing and up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies. Additionally, you have the option of transferring these benefits to a family member. You can use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for a variety of education programs, including:
- Associate, Bachelor, and advanced degree programs
- Vocational and technical training
- Licensing and certification
- On-the-job apprenticeship training
- Flight training
- Correspondence training
- National testing programs, such as SAT and AP
Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is available to service members and veterans to help them meet their education and training costs by offering monthly benefit payments. It provides over $69,000 in support for 36 academic months, which equals eight semesters or four years of traditional academic education. You can use your MGIB benefits for numerous programs, including college courses, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, licensing, certification, and flight training.
You qualify for MGIB if you:
- completed high school or earned the equivalency certificate before you applied for benefits,
- contributed $100 a month for the first 12 months of active duty, and
- have served at least two years of active duty.
Additionally, if you’re interested in using the MGIB benefits and you’ve already left active duty, you must have received an honorable discharge.
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve
The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) is open to members of the National Guard and the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, or Coast Guard Reserves. This program offers over $11,000 in support to help these members with education and training costs. You’re eligible for the MGIB-SR if you:
- complete your initial active duty for training (IADT),
- earned a high school diploma or equivalency before completing IADT,
- have a six-year obligation to serve in the National Guard or Selected Reserve, and
- remain in good standing while serving.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VetSuccess
If you’re a veteran who has an employment handicap and a VA disability rating, you might be eligible for help through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VetSuccess program. You’re eligible if you have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent and received a discharge other than dishonorable. Some of the services available through the program include:
- a rehabilitation evaluation to determine your needs, skills, abilities, and interests
- vocational counseling
- financial assistance for post-secondary training at a college, technical, business, or vocational school
- assistance in finding and keeping a job
It doesn’t matter if you currently serve or you’re related to someone who serves, there are plenty of financial aid options available to help military members further their education.