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Active Duty Degrees: An Overview

Degree Programs for Active Duty Military

Today’s active duty military members operate in some of the most challenging and dynamic environments in the world. When they’re not on the front lines of Freedom, their lives still have a number of demands: family, kids, hobbies, and in many cases, college degrees.

In 2020, Inside Higher Ed reported that about 6% of all undergraduate college students were either military veterans, current active military members, or in the Reserves and National Guard. That doesn’t sound like a lot until you know how many college students there were in the same year.

The Education Data Initiative estimates that there were approximately 19.7 million college students in 2020. Of those, an estimated 3.1 million were graduate students. Even so, 6% of 16.1 million (996,000) is nearly a million veteran or active military undergraduate students.

How is it that this many military students are pursuing their degree? You’re about to find out!

Active Duty Degrees

These days, there are countless programs available to assist active duty members complete their college degrees. With everything from Tuition Assistance (TA), the Forever GI Bill, and a whole host of service-specific programs, military members have the path to a quality education right at their feet.

The next few sections, we will cover the specific programs that are available to members of each branch of the military. There is even one program that applies to multiple services.

Army IgnitED

The Army IgnitED Program is a fresh approach to the GoArmyED campaign from previous years. The IgnitED program lets Soldiers have more control over their educational path. That way, Soldiers can pursue the degrees, credentials, or certifications that they want for professional development or preparation for transition.

Air Force Virtual Education Center

The Air Force has developed a Virtual Education Center which synthesizes a myriad of programs available to Air Force personnel. The flexibility of this system is just amazing, and it presents every educational program that Airmen can use to get their active duty degrees.

Navy College Program

The Navy College Program offers a structured 5-step process to facilitate the education goals of Navy personnel. Students can start at whichever step best suits their current situation, which frees up time to get the process moving. All actions take place in the MyNavy Education portal, where students can access information about TA, the GI Bill, Scholarships, and even request guidance from a certified education counselor.

Marine Corps College Programs

The Marine Corps boasts a ton of education programs that are tailored to meet the needs of today’s Marines. The brunt of their college programs fall under the umbrella of the Voluntary Education Program. The VOLED program is where Marines access information about TA, CLEP, DANTES, COOL and DoD Skillbridge. There are too many to list here, so click the link to read more.

Coast Guard Volunteer Education

The Coast Guard’s VOLED program is designed to serve those personnel who are interested in getting their college degree while still in the service. The Coast Guard developed a Student Toolkit that guides students through the process of applying for TA, getting their Joint Service Transcript, and obtaining professional credentials for the military training they’ve completed.

US Military Apprenticeship Program

The US Military Apprenticeship Program is a training program that places service members into apprenticeships while they’re still on active duty. This program aids in the transition success for those who complete the apprenticeships in their chosen field. This program is open to active members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Education Goals

No matter which service you’re in, there are programs that can help you accomplish your educational and career goals. The sections listed above are a great starting point because we have brought to you all the programs we could find and presented them in one place.

Don’t forget, if you need help finding a school, check out our CollegeRecon School Search Tool. You can search by location, area of study, veteran & military program availability, and your education goals. 

Looking for a Yellow Ribbon School? We’ve got you covered.

Looking for schools that accept Military Tuition Assistance? Done.

If you have a school preference, we can help. Now, take that first step toward your Active Duty Degree!