Biden Cancels up to $20k in Student Loan Debt, for Some

The Biden Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

On August 24th, 2022, the Biden administration announced their plan to provide relief from student loan debt for eligible students. The proposal focuses on three specific challenges faced by holders of student loans.

Targeted Debt Relief

First, targeted debt relief will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. Not every borrower will qualify for the max amount, but it is estimated that nearly 27 million will qualify for the $20,000 cap.

Pell Grant recipients with loans from the Department of Education can receive up to $10,000 in relief. The same is true for non-Pell Grant recipients, who will also receive up to $10,000.

To be eligible for that relief, borrowers must have an income of less than $125,000, or $250,000 for married couples. Meaning, those whose discretionary income exceeds those amounts will not qualify for this debt relief.

As an important note, any debt relief a borrower receives will not count as taxable income. Additionally, the pause on federal student loan repayment will be extended until December 31, 2022.

Fixing the System?

Next, the Biden administration’s plan intends to revamp the student loan system for current and future borrowers.

To do this, the Department of Education proposes an income-driven repayment plan that should protect more low-income earners. The plan will cap the monthly payments for undergraduate loans at 5% of the borrower’s income, which is half of the current rate.

The DoE also plans to protect any non-discretionary income by guaranteeing that any borrower making roughly the equivalent of $15 an hour will not have to make a monthly payment.

The administration also plans to forgive student loan balances after 10 years, instead of the traditional 20 year time frame. So, borrowers with original loan balances of $12,000 or less could be debt-free in less than a decade.

Additionally, the plan calls for covering any unpaid monthly interest as long as borrowers make their monthly payments. This will apply even when the monthly payment is $0 because they are considered low income.

Moreover, the DoE plans to solidify temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which extended debt forgiveness to those who have worked “at a nonprofit, in the military, or in federal, state, tribal, or local government”.

Under the PSLF program, more than 175,000 public servants have had more than $10 billion in student loan debt erased.

Extending the Pell Grant’s Reach

Finally, Biden’s debt forgiveness plan has called for a huge increase in the Pell Grant, seeking to double the maximum amount a student can receive in their lifetime.

The administration is still pushing to make community college free to everyone, but they’ve given no information about how they plan to make that happen. It is likely that the Pell Grant will be fundamental to that plan.

The American Rescue Plan also gave nearly $40 billion to colleges and universities, which should be used for emergency financial aid. Accountability is key here.

How to Apply for Student Loan Debt Relief

As of this writing, there is no application process set up for borrowers seeking debt relief. The Department of Education plans to have the application system operating before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on the 31st of December, 2022.

However, it is possible that as many as 8 million borrowers will automatically receive this relief, as their income data is already available to the Department of Education.

 

 

 

2022-2023 GI Bill Tuition Rates Out Now!

If you are planning to take courses in the Fall 2022 term, then you need to know how much your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will pay. The 2022-2023 GI Bill rates are the best place to start.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) just released the maximum tuition and fee rates for the upcoming academic year, so check it out.

Increase In GI Bill Max Tuition & Fees

The VA will use the maximum entitlement charge amounts for any training taken under the Post-9/11 GI Bill beginning on or after August 1, 2022. The following rates are effective until July 31, 2023:

Post-9/11 GI Bill Maximum Tuition & Fee Amounts

Type of School Actual Net Cost of Tuition & Fees, Not to Exceed
Public In-State / Resident Charge
Private & Foreign $26,381.37
Flight $15,075.05
Correspondence $12,813.78

Keep in mind, if you are attending a public Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) as a non-resident student, and the tuition is more expensive than the annual cap listed in the table, then you may be eligible for extra payment under the Yellow Ribbon program. The same applies to non-resident students at private IHLs.

Additionally, you may qualify for in-state tuition rates if you live in the state where the school is located. Your formal state of residence does not preclude you from receiving in-state tuition in this situation.

Post-9/11 Entitlement Charge Amount for Tests

Licensing & Certification Tests Entitlement will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test relative to the rate of $2,200.96 for one month. The maximum reimbursable amount for licensing and certification tests is $2,000.
National Tests Entitlement will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test relative to the rate of $2,200.96 for one month. There is no maximum reimbursable amount for national tests.

Additional Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Military Housing Allowance (MHA)

Don’t forget, you may be eligible to receive a Monthly Housing Allowance while using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The amount you receive depends on a number of factors specific to you, so the best way to find your housing rate is to use the CollegeRecon BAH Calculator.

Book Stipend

You could receive up to $1,000 for books and supplies each year. The actual amount you receive is based on your enrollment.

Rural Benefit

You may be eligible to receive a one-time $500 payment if you are relocating from a highly rural area, and either:

  1. Physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend school, or
  2. Travel by air to attend school of no other land-based transportation exists.

Plan For Success

Planning is key when it comes to successfully completing your chosen academic program. Knowing how much your benefit will pay allows you to know how far you can go.

Keep in mind, these are just the limits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill payments. It does not factor in any scholarships or grants that you may be able to use.

 

 

 

How to Switch From Montgomery GI Bill to Post 9/11

From the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill

Have you considered moving from Montgomery GI Bill to Post 911? It it not a complicated process, but there are some things you need to know beforehand.

From MGIB to Post 9/11

To select one benefit program over another, the process is as simple as filling out the Application for VA Education Benefits, or VA 22-1990.

Under Part II, or “Education Benefits Being Applied For”, you’ll see all the current GI Bill programs available. The first box is Chapter 33 – Post 911 GI Bill, and it is this box you must select to begin the transfer.

In the same box, there is a statement indicating that, if you are eligible for more than one GI Bill program, you must read and understand the consequences of your choice.

The Cost of Switching the GI Bill to Post 9/11

Before submitting your VA 22-1990, you must acknowledge the following:

  • You are not permitted to receive more than a total of 48 months of entitlements under two or more of the GI Bill programs.
  • If you elect Chapter 33 (Post 911) in lieu of Chapter 30 (MGIB), the months of entitlement under Chapter 33 will be limited to the number of months of remaining entitlement under Chapter 30 on the effective date of your selection.
  • You will not receive the MGIB “Kicker” under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, unless you were eligible for the kicker at the time you applied, AND you relinquished that benefit for the Chapter 33 program.
  • When you select the effective date of transfer on VA form 22-1990, you must understand that benefits for education and training under Chapter 33 are not payable prior to that date.

So, in a nutshell, you are terminating the MGIB and its benefits in exchange for the Post 911 GI Bill and its benefits.

See Also: 8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

Eligibility for Multiple GI Bill Programs

Every service member is entitled to at least one GI Bill program. However, there are some veterans who are eligible for multiple programs. Those who serve on active duty for a few years and then transition to the reserves are eligible for benefits under the Chapter 30/33 and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606).

Another example is an active duty service member who served for a period of time before September 11, 2001. If their service continued after that date, then they would be eligible for both the Chapter 30 and the Chapter 33 program.

However, since there is a cap on the duration of education benefits, 48 months, making the switch from one program to another will not extend your benefits. Additionally, you only use one benefit program at a time.

Reasons for Switching

Because there is a cap to the total amount of benefit a student veteran can receive, it may seem that all the GI Bill programs are mostly the same. This isn’t the case, as there are some very distinct differences.

One of the biggest benefits of the Post 911 GI Bill is it grants the ability to transfer the education benefits to a spouse or dependent child. This has been a game changer for many students who may have never been able to afford a college education.

Another big benefit of the Post 911 program is that it also pays out a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to the student, separate from the tuition payments that are sent directly to the school. These extra funds are designed to help pay for housing so students are not compelled to work each semester just to pay rent. It grants a small financial relief that helps them focus on their training.

Montgomery GI Bill to Post 9/11

Regardless of your reasons for switching, the process is not difficult. Just fill out the VA 22-1990, and then apply online. The average time it takes for the VA to process your claim is currently 30 days.

 

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SVA & Raytheon Scholarship for Navy Veterans

SVA & Raytheon Scholarship for Navy Veterans

Are you a Navy veteran and college student looking for scholarships?

The Student Veterans of America (SVA) and Raytheon have partnered to bring two (2) scholarships to Navy veteran personnel. Their goal is to set you up for career success after your time in the service.

The Raytheon Scholarship

The Raytheon Missiles & Defense SPY-6 Scholarships will be awarded to sailors working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree and “who demonstrate leadership in their local community.

There are two $10,000 scholarships up for grabs, and the application window closes on April 1, 2022. Are you eligible?

SEE ALSO: Military and Veteran Scholarships

Scholarship Eligibility

As a student veteran, you must meet the following criteria to apply for Raytheon’s scholarship:

  • Navy or Navy Reserve Veteran
  • Current full-time student at an accredited college or university
  • Entering the Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year of your bachelor’s degree, OR enrolled in a graduate program for the 2021-2022 school year
  • Honorable discharge
  • Make a video (2 minutes or less) explaining the following:
    • Why you’re passionate about your field of study
    • How you’ve led and engaged with your community

Ensure that you follow the Raytheon Scholarship Video Instructions before submitting it.

Application Deadline

Remember, the deadline for this awesome scholarship is April 1, 2022, by 11:59pm Eastern time. So do not delay in getting your application in.

Apply Now by logging into the Student Veterans of America Portal. If you’re not registered, you can always create an account at the time you begin applying.  For more info, please go here.

 

Find Scholarships and more for Military and Veterans!

 

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Active Duty Degrees: Army IgnitED

Army IgnitED: Completing Your Education Mission

Since the retirement of the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) in 2019, the Army has launched a new educational initiative called Army IgnitED.

Army IgnitED

This new Army program is a resource that tailors an educational path based on the needs of each Soldier. There are paths that lead to college degrees, paths that help prepare for transition, and even paths that can help Soldiers land an ROTC scholarship.

Here is a list of some of the opportunities available to Soldiers using Army IngnitED:

  • Associate’s Degree – an undergraduate degree program averaging 60 credit hours from a community or junior college.
  • Bachelor’s Degree – an undergraduate degree program averaging 120 credit hours from a college or university.
  • Master’s Degree – a graduate degree that allows for specialization in a specific field. These degrees vary in duration based on the subject area, but most can be completed in 2 to 3 years.
  • Credentials – awarded upon the verification of qualification in a given subject or skillset. This can cover a wide array of career fields from IT to the skilled trades.
  • Academic Certificate – These can be either undergraduate or graduate level courses that are shorter in duration than degree programs. Soldiers are authorized up to 21 semester hours of TA every 5 years toward academic certificates.

 

There are also Army Special Program opportunities that allow a Soldier to focus their studies on a specific subject or skillset apart from the ones listed above.

Education Roadmaps for Soldiers

One of the best features of the Army IgnitED program is that each path is tailored to the individual. Not all Soldiers want to get degrees. Some want marketable skills to use once they leave the Army, and others want to certify the skills they’ve gained during their service. This makes Army IgnitED an important part of a Soldier’s educational pathway.

However, there are some similarities to notice about the various pathways available.

For example, a Soldier looking to use Tuition Assistance (TA) to pursue a degree or certificate program would follow these basic steps:

  1. Find the best educational program for their needs. This can be done using CollegeRecon’s School Search Tool, among others.
  2. After finding their program, Soldiers will use Army IgnitED to create their educational path.
  3. Applying for Tuition Assistance Funding
  4. Start the education program.
  5. Complete the degree.

While these are general steps, they highlight commonalities that each Soldier on the TA path will have to take.

Other Educational Pathways

Credentialing Assistance (CA) Path:

  1. Use the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) tool to explore the options available based on a Soldier’s Career Management Field (CMF).
  2. Discover credentials based on Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or Additional Skill Identifier (ASI). 
  3. Choose the desired credential.
  4. Apply for Credentialing Assistance funding.
  5. Implement CA plan.
  6. Earn credentials.

Army ROTC Scholarship Path:

  1. Find the program you want. CollegeRecon’s School Search Tool will find all the schools offering an ROTC program.
  2. Apply for ROTC scholarship.
  3. Request scholarship funding in the Army IgnitED portal.
  4. Complete the degree program.
  5. Commission as an Army Officer.

RELATED: Army ROTC Scholarships

Decision Support Tool

If you’re having a hard time deciding which path you should take, the Army’s Decision Support Tool can help.

The DST will guide you through a series of 30 questions that will help determine which career field may interest you the most. Using the “Like” vs. “Dislike” paradigm, the DST using how you feel about a certain activity to eliminate or highlight potential career fields.

This tool can help Soldiers like me who retired and had no clue what to do next. If this sounds like you and you need help discovering your next career field or degree program, check out the DST for assistance.

Accessing Courses While On Active Duty

Another great feature of Army IgnitED is that the courses for each program are taken either Online, On-Site, or at an Education Center.

For online learning, educational institutions and vendors offer online opportunities that allow Soldiers to make progress towards their goals without having to attend classes in person.

However, there are many opportunities for Soldiers to take courses on nearby campuses or training sites. This approach has the added benefit of working with other students who share the same interests, which can greatly enhance the learning experience.

Most Army installations have a dedicated Education Center with access to local campuses for different colleges and universities. While some offerings may differ, there are always opportunities for Soldiers to advance their education plan.

There are over 2,000 institutes of higher learning and over 200 vendors who have partnered with Army IgnitED to bring education opportunities to Soldiers.

Active Duty Degrees Within Reach

As of this writing, Army IgnitED has completed over 500 Credentials. In 2020, Soldiers completed over 8,500 degree programs. That’s just fantastic!

If you’re a Soldier on active duty and you’ve ever dreamed of completing your degree, then Army IgnitED is the best educational opportunity to help you find your path.

Get the process started by heading over to Army IgnitED and creating your account.  You can visit this link to learn more and get started.

 

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SVA & NBC Universal Scholarships for Veterans

Scholarships for Veterans in Entertainment

The Student Veterans of America (SVA) and NBC Universal have teamed up to offer scholarships to veterans who are moving into the entertainment industry.

The Comcast NBC Universal-SVA Scholarship

The Comcast NBC Universal-SVA Scholarship will award two (2) $12,000 scholarships to student veterans interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry.

See Also: Military Veteran Scholarships

Scholarship Eligibility

The deadline to apply is April 1, 2022. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Current graduate or undergraduate student at an accredited college or university
  • Enrolled in the 2021/2022 school year
  • Submit proof of military service
  • Send a resume
  • Upload transcript from current school showing 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Submit application with short essay

Additionally, for the proof of military service, submit a copy of your DD-214 with the Social Security Number redacted for privacy purposes. See example here.

For the essay, you will need to answer the following questions:

  1. How have you carried your leadership experiences from your military service over into the classroom or other university activities?
  2. Why are you interested in NBC Universal and a career in the entertainment industry?
  3. If you had to pick a specific function (marketing, business development, production, etc.), which one are you most interested in and why?

Moreover, there is no minimum or maximum word count listed on the NBC Universal-SVA Scholarship page.

Applying for this Veteran Scholarship

So, if you meet the above criteria and are interested in this scholarship, apply on the Student Veterans of America website. You will need to login to the SVA Portal. But, if you don’t already have an account, you can create one by following the link above.

Remember, the application deadline is April 1, 2022, so don’t delay! We’re talking $12K for school, and there are sure to be lots of applicants.

Also, be sure to check out CollegeRecon’s Scholarship Finder Tool to help you find ways to pay for college.

 

Find Scholarships for Military, Veterans, Spouses, Dependents Today!

 

 

Military and Veteran Scholarships and Grants – Finder

Scholarships and Grants for Military Veterans

Introduction

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a proliferation of scholarships for veterans, military scholarships, and even education grants targeted at the military spouse community.

There are currently about 19 million U.S. veterans, as reported by the Pew Research Center earlier this year. That’s less than 10% of America’s adult population.

Even so, only an estimated 40% of those veterans are using their GI Bill benefits. More than 2.9 million veterans have entered into higher education, some have used their GI Bill benefits, and others have not.

Why?

Because institutions of higher learning and companies across America are realizing the value that comes from the military community. The discipline, loyalty, and courage inherent in your service make you some of the best students and employees these organizations have ever seen.

Defining the Terms

What is meant by “Scholarships for Veterans” and “Military Scholarships”?

Generally speaking, a Veteran is someone who has served any portion of their life in one of the military branches. Some serve for a few years, others serve for decades. All have made sacrifices for the country.

When someone is “Military”, that usually means that they’re currently serving in the active, reserve, or guard component of a branch of service. They are on the frontline of Freedom.

Scholarships for Veterans are those sources of education funding that target the veteran community. These scholarships come from federal government agencies, state organizations, companies, and nonprofits across the country.

 

Find Scholarships, grants and more for Military, Veterans and their Families!

 

Military scholarships are those that target a current military member. Like scholarships for veterans, these opportunities come from a myriad of different sources.

Oftentimes, though, the term “military scholarship” applies to active duty, reserve, National Guard, veterans, and military spouses. Not always, but often enough to caveat that here. Be sure to read the eligibility requirements.

Regardless of where you stand in the military community, either veteran, military spouse, or currently serving, scholarships and grants serve to help you achieve your goals.

RELATED: Degrees for Military and Veterans

Why Apply for Military Scholarships?

It’s a Numbers Game

I mentioned above that the veteran population makes up less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population. Additionally, less than 1% of our citizens are currently serving.

What this means for you, the seeker of military scholarships, is that there is less competition than for those scholarships that are open to everyone.

Now don’t read that wrong, there is still competition. But, it is limited to those currently serving, or to those who have served before.

Unused Funding

Every year, scholarship opportunities go unused. This is a travesty considering that student debt continues accumulating every year. 

The reason these scholarships for veterans and military go unused is for lack of applicants. If you’re applying for scholarships to fund your education goals, then apply to every scholarship for which you are eligible.

You Deserve It

Do not feel guilty for trying to get as much funding as possible. There is money out there that companies, agencies, and state governments have set aside to support the military community.

If you meet the requirements, then you have every right to apply for that funding source. You chose to raise your right hand and defend the US of A. Now, others have chosen to show their support and appreciation by offering military scholarships and scholarships for veterans.

 

Ready to search Scholarships for Military and Veterans?

 

General Requirements for Military Scholarships

While each organization that offers money for military scholarships can set their requirements for awardees, some general guidelines apply.

First, you should somehow be affiliated with the military, usually a veteran or currently serving. While most are open to all branches of service, some target a more specific demographic.

For example, the National Ranger Memorial Foundation offers the Ranger Memorial Scholarship to U.S. Army Rangers of any age and their dependents.

In any case, be prepared to offer proof of service, either through a DD-214, using ID.me, or submitting a letter from your company commander.

For many scholarship applications, you will be required to write an essay or some other form of writing. Sometimes they just want to hear your story, and at other times they want to see if you will follow instructions. 

Pay close attention to due dates, writing requirements, and any other information listed on the application.

Finding Scholarships and Grants for Military

CollegeRecon researches and presents to you every military scholarship, grant, and funding opportunity we can find. If the information is not clear, we reach out to the organization sponsoring the scholarships for veterans and get clarification.

You deserve every funding opportunity to accomplish your education and career goals. To take things a step further, CollegeRecon offers a unique Scholarship Finder Tool that can help you find all the scholarships available to you.

Tips for Applying to Military Scholarships

Here are some helpful reminders when applying to military scholarships:

  • First, apply for as many scholarships as you can.
  • Keep a calendar of pending due dates. Don’t let those slip by!
  • Do NOT procrastinate on the essay. Take the time to write the best one you can.
  • Stick to the word count, even if that means cutting and revising.
  • Have someone else read your application and essay.
  • Be prepared for rejection. You’re awesome, but so are your military brothers and sisters.

In the end, apply the resilience you learned in the service to your applications for military scholarships.

To find more helpful ideas and insights, check out 13 Tips for Military & Veterans on How to Apply for Scholarships.

 

Types of Scholarships for Veterans

Financial Aid for Active Service

The most common form of financial aid for active service members is Tuition Assistance (TA). Each service offers TA to their active service members, and it can be used to cover the costs associated with a college degree.

Getting a degree while on active duty is easier than you think. Read Active Duty and College: College While in the Military to discover how it works.

It is also worth noting that military college students can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While many students understand that student loans are a by-product of applying for FAFSA, there are also grants you can receive.

Check out FAFSA: What You Need to Know for more information on this resource.

Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who display a financial need and have not already earned a degree.

And get this, even if you’re using the GI Bill, or receiving Tuition Assistance, you can still apply for FAFSA!  

Don’t worry about the loans, though. You can decline them once your aid eligibility is reported to your school.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Veterans Scholarships from Colleges and Universities

It’s not just the federal government and Fortune 500 companies that offer scholarships for veterans. Many universities award their veteran students with financial and academic benefits as well.

Some of these scholarships are awarded for students in specific degree programs at specific institutions. Others are awarded for academic excellence.

Check out the regional scholarships CollegeRecon has broken down for you:

Also, be sure to check out scholarships from your local community college. They are an often overlooked resource for accelerating your education.

College Grants for Veterans

Grants are monetary awards given for a specific purpose that do not need repayment. They are the antithesis to loans and are abundant for education.

We’ve already mentioned the Pell Grant, which can only be received by filling out the FAFSA Application. While not specific to veterans, it is the most widely received grant in today’s education system.

The Pell Grant does not need to be repaid, and the amount you receive depends on your financial need, the costs of school, and whether or not you’re a full- or part-time student.

The GI Bill, either MGIB or Post-9/11, tap dances on the line between earned benefit and education grant. It certainly is a benefit that all veterans deserve, and in most cases it does not need repayment.

However, unlike grants and scholarships, The GI Bill is almost guaranteed for all veteran degree seekers. (There are minimum discharge requirements that must be met.)

For more information about the GI Bill, check out the following resources:

Scholarships for Military Spouses

There has been a paradigm shift in society’s perception of the Military Spouse. This occured in large part due to the OEF/OIF campaigns, but also as a result of social media’s ability to instantly raise awareness to issues faced by the military family.

As a result, more and more scholarships are available to military spouses and dependents than at any other time in our nation’s history. The family has always been the backbone of the service members who defend our freedoms.

In our flagship article, Military Spouse Scholarships, CollegeRecon presents 15 of the best scholarships and grants available to military spouses. 

Additionally, we’ve explored College Scholarships and Grants for Children of Veterans, which highlights 14 funding opportunities for military dependents.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Grants and Scholarships for Active-Duty Service Members

For those active service members, there are unique scholarship and grant opportunities for you!

Each service has a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) that awards military scholarships to active, Guard, and reserve service members. There are over 1100 institutions of higher learning that participate in one or more ROTC programs, and most offer 2-, 3-, and 4-year options.

Read the Army ROTC Scholarships, Colleges & Requirements article for more information about the Army’s program.

The Navy ROTC program covers both the Navy and Marine Corps.

Likewise, the Space Force will likely fall under the Air Force ROTC program for their education and commissioning needs. More to follow on that topic.

Another education program available to active Army Soldiers is the Green to Gold program. This is a two-year program that provides Soldiers the opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree. This program leads to a commission as an Army officer.

Similar to the Army’s program, the Air Force hosts The Enlisted-To-Officer Path. This program gives Airmen the opportunity to earn their degrees and a commission in the Air Force.

Finally, Tuition Assistance (TA) is a program that provides education funding to military service members while they are still serving. Tuition Assistance can cover up to 100% of the cost-per-credit hour of many institutions.

Check out the following resources for more information:

Scholarships for Women Veterans

For those women veterans, there are some great programs and scholarships that will help fund your education.

Whether you’re going into STEM, Nursing, or Business, we’ve brought together some of the best scholarship opportunities for you.

First, read Top 8 Scholarships for Female Service Members & Veterans to discover the very best ones out there. Then, check out these other resources:

Scholarships for Disabled Veterans

As with other demographics, there are ample opportunities for our disabled veterans to obtain funding for their education.

Whether it’s finding money for a current degree, or paying off student loans from a previous one, check out some of these great resources.

Military Scholarships: Scholarships by Military Branch

Each military service offers programs for their members to help achieve career and education goals. We’ve touched on the ROTC programs and other commissioning programs. But what about programs that do not require a commission?

We’ve compiled a list of service-specific programs, some of which are simply scholarships for service members within those branches. Some of these scholarships apply for active military, veterans, and even family members.

Featured Scholarships

There are so many great programs out there for the military community. CollegeRecon wants you to have all the information available to help you on your way.

For this reason, here are some scholarship opportunities that have not yet been covered:

FAQs

There are millions of veterans today, and so many of you are pursuing your education goals. Because many situations are unique, it’s hard to answer every question in one article.

However, we have compiled some of the most asked questions and presented them here:

More Resources on Scholarships for Veterans

Were you looking for scholarships based on a career field? If so, CollegeRecon has numerous resources for some of the hottest job fields, and probably some you haven’t even considered!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, check out our page Paying For School, which has even more leads on military scholarships.

CollegeRecon also has one of the coolest Scholarship Finder Tools out there! By answering a few simple questions, you will get results tailored to your goals and aspirations.

Do you know what you want to study, but not where to go? Use CollegeRecon’s School Finder Tool to find schools and programs tailored to your needs.

Finally, if you are eligible for any form of GI Bill, please do not miss our GI Bill Education Information and Benefits page. 

Conclusion

There has never been a better time than now to get that degree. Whether you’re just starting, in the middle, or nearing the end, there are so many sources of funding available to you.

You deserve the education you want, so let CollegeRecon help you find military scholarships, or scholarships for veterans, that will fund your education and career goals.

Don’t wait for your future to happen. Make it what you want!

(Image courtesy of SSgt. Joshua Chacon, U.S. Marine Corps, via Marines.mil)

 

 

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!

 

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Education Questions Answered by Peers: February 2022

Education Questions Answered by Peers: February 2022

At CollegeRecon, we meet lots of people every week who have questions about their benefits. Sometimes they ask on our website, and at other times we field questions from social media groups.

This month’s question comes from a Facebook group, and we intend to highlight some of the best responses, along with our own.

The Question

Does anyone have or are seeking an MPH (Masters in Public Health)? I am looking for a good school that’s not very expensive. – A military spouse

Peer Submitted Answers

“I don’t have advice on schools…but make sure they are CEPH accredited. That’s the gold standard in PH [public health] and it’s hard to get the good jobs coming from a non-CEPH accredited school.”

So, what is a CEPH accreditation? According to the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the nationally recognized accrediting body for both schools of public health and public health programs.

“If you get an MPH, definitely look at Industrial Hygienist – GS jobs. They’re always hiring and always a need on bases.”

The “GS” in this answer refers to a federal “General Schedule” job. Someone with a GS job is an employee of the federal government and they can serve in various locations around the world. This answer also indicates that there is a consistent need for Industrial Hygienists in GS positions to work on military installations.

“I’m currently working on my MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at University of South Carolina. They have online options and offer various concentrations within their program.”

This peer answer offered a great insight: do not rule out online programs. Online programs are just as rigorous and must meet the same accreditation requirements as in-person courses. The only difference is, it takes a motivated and strong-willed student to succeed in an online learning environment.

SEE ALSO: Getting Your Master’s Degree Online

Other schools that received honorable mentions by your peers for their MPH programs were:

  • Liberty University
  • George Washington University
  • University of West Florida
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Louisiana State University – Shreveport
  • Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins
  • University of South Florida

Our Answer

The Master’s in Public Health degree continues to grow in popularity, in no small part because of the pandemic. 

It is not known if the one who asked the question is using any GI Bill benefits, but there is a great tool that I recommend to find college programs.

The College Recon School Finder tool can help you narrow down a list of schools that may have the degree you’re looking for. In this case, the degree is an MPH.

For this search, I opened the tool and immediately went to the Filters column. Under the Educational Goals section, I selected a “Master’s Degree”. Then, I selected “Public Administration” for the Area of Study. This gave me 301 results.

Next, under the Type of School section, I selected “Public” because the question indicated that they were looking for a less expensive school. This reduced the results down to 210 schools.

Then, under the Veteran & Military Programs section, I selected both “Yellow Ribbon” and “Reduced Tuition”. The search resulted in 52 colleges that matched my selections.  You can customize your results and reduce them further.

From this point, I just sift through the results and determine which schools have the MPH program I’m seeking. The first one I found on the list is the University of Utah’s Master of Public Health program.

Here are a few others:

  1. University of North Dakota MPH
  2. Florida State University MPH
  3. Old Dominion University MPH
  4. Indiana State University MPH

After searching through 11 of the 52 results, these were the first five that had an MPH program. This process can be replicated any number of times based on your educational plans.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that even though there may not be a college or university in your backyard that offers the program you’re looking for, many institutes of higher learning do offer online programs. In fact, a few of the examples above had online options for the Master of Public Health programs.

So, if you, like the one who asked the question above, know exactly what you’re looking for, use the CollegeRecon School Search tool to find schools that suit your needs.

 

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United Services Military Apprenticeship Program

United Services Military Apprenticeship Program

The United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a training program that gives service members the opportunity to complete civilian apprenticeship requirements while they’re still on active duty.

Completion of an apprenticeship awards a nationally recognized Certificate of Completion from the Department of Labor (DoL), which can enhance employability during transition.

General USMAP Requirements

The USMAP is available to active Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel. Additionally, National Guard and Reservists who are on any of the following orders are also eligible to participate:

  • Reserves on Active Duty
  • Mobilization (MOB)
  • Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS)
  • Active Duty for Training (ADT)
  • Full Time Support (FTS)

Service members applying for USMAP must have at least 12 months remaining on active duty. This ensures you have enough time to complete an apprenticeship before your transition.

You must be working full-time and supervised in the trade of your choosing. So, extra duty and additional duties do not apply to an apprenticeship.

RELATED: DoD Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is an official training program that offers on-the-job training (OJT) and technical education in a job field or trade. The combination of hands-on work with formal training provides unsurpassed experience and industry credentials.

Service members can earn an apprenticeship with the military training and OJT from their current service, and they’d only need to record their work hours once enrolled in a program.

Formal Training

The classroom training gives USMAP participants the requisite background knowledge needed to effectively operate within their trade. There is a required 144 hours of apprenticeship-related training to complete a USMAP program.

For Navy and Coast Guard personnel, the “A” school or Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) training can meet these requirements. 

For the Army and Marine Corps, the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training can meet the apprenticeship requirements as well.

Moreover, personnel who have not completed any formal training or military schools, then college courses, vocational programs, and correspondence courses could satisfy these requirements as well.

On-The-Job Training

This is obtained by working in the trade field, employing the skills obtained through formal training and experience.

The amount of OJT required depends on the trade field, as some require more on the job hours than others. Generally, participants must complete between 2,000 and 6,000 work hours to satisfy most apprenticeship requirements.

Types of Apprenticeships

There are two types of apprenticeships in USMAP, and they are based on experience.

Time-Based Apprenticeships

A time-based apprenticeship is for those who are new to a trade and do not have the experience needed for a competency-based apprenticeship. 

Progress is measured by the number of hours spent in training and on the job.

Competency-Based Apprenticeships

Competency-based apprenticeships are for service members E-5 and above who are considered experienced in their chosen occupation.

In this type of apprenticeship, participants must demonstrate and apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by their chosen trade.

The Path to Apprenticeship

There are four primary steps necessary to complete an apprenticeship.

  1. Review Available Trades
  2. Review Program Requirements
  3. Enroll in USMAP
  4. Complete Program Requirements

Review Available Trades

The USMAP has a “Find a Trade” tool, where participants search for trades available to them based on their MOS or Rating.

First, head to the Find a Trade tool, then select your service branch.

Next, under the “Select an MOS” drop-down menu, select your MOS or Rating. That will sort the available trades down to the ones applicable to your military job. Then, look through the “Select a Trade” drop-down menu to view the results.

For example, I was an Army Infantryman (11B), and when I went through this trade finding process, only one result was available to me: Computer Operator – 0817N. For you, there may be numerous opportunities, especially if you worked in a technical or vocational trade.

Review Program Requirements

Once you’ve searched for trades, review the requirements for each to determine which is the best fit for your situation and future goals.

Each apprenticeship will have two sets of requirements: the Time-based or Competency-based options as discussed above. Choose the one that best applies to your situation.

Enroll in USMAP

Once you’ve chosen a trade and the applicable options, it’s time to enroll in USMAP. This can be done online, and a login will be required. 

Or, you can download an Apprentice Registration Application and mail it in once you’ve filled it out. Mail it to the following address:

Director, USMAP NETC USMAP

640 Roberts Ave., Bldg. 502

Pensacola, FL

32511-5155

Complete Apprenticeship Requirements

For each opportunity, participants must submit periodic reports, usually monthly, to their supervisor for approval. The DoL requires these reports to ensure that the standards of the program are followed.

Once all the training and work hours have been completed, participants will submit a Final Report to their supervisor for review and approval. Once approved, it marks the end of the apprenticeship and the issuance of a DoL Certificate of Completion, which will be available online.

When applicable to the trade, the Department of Labor will issue Journeyman Cards.

Get Industry Certified

So, if you’re getting close to transitioning from the active service and you have trade-specific military training, I encourage you to take advantage of the USMAP opportunities.

In most cases, you already have the official training and you need only record the hours worked. In others, you need to prove your skills and knowledge base before meeting the apprenticeship requirements.

No matter where you find yourself, this opportunity can really enhance and ease the transition that lies ahead. Don’t miss out!

 

Active Duty Degrees: Navy College Program

The Navy College Program Means Degrees for Sailors

Sailors looking to advance their education goals should consider participating in the Navy College Program. Through their 5-Step Volunteer Education (VOLED) Process, the Navy takes professional development through education to another level.

The 5-Step VOLED Process

The Navy College Program created a glidepath for Sailors to follow which provides guidance along each step of their education journey. Since each student is different, Sailors can start at whichever step best suits their needs.

To participate in any of the Navy College Program’s offerings, Sailors must use the MyNavy Education portal. This is the central hub for processing Tuition Assistance and other applications along their journey.

The Five VOLED Steps

  1. Explore Education and Career Paths
  2. Research, Select a School, Develop a Plan
  3. Navy College Education Counseling
  4. Funding Through Tuition Assistance & Other Sources
  5. Implement Education Plan

Step 1: Exploring Opportunities

Not everyone knows what they want to study at college. Not everyone knows what career they want after leaving the service. For those people like me, this is a crucial step to take.

As you explore what’s out there, you will encounter some fantastic resources provided by the Navy College Program. Some of these are:

Use these resources to discover what you’re passionate about.

Step 2: Exploring Education Programs

Once you’ve decided on a career path, and you’ve discovered the education requirements needed to succeed in that career, the next step involves finding a suitable education program.

In this step, you have the option to search for programs by your Rating. This option tailors those career paths that most align with what you’ve already been doing in the Navy.

Perhaps you’re looking to do something different after the military. In this case, you can search by occupation or search by degree program. Both of these options allow you to discover what is available for your desired professional goals.

See also: Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military

Step 3: Navy College Education Counseling

The VOLED process requires Sailors to complete a counseling session with an education counselor. This session is designed to cover your goals and plans, and they could cover topics you may have missed in your research.

The mandatory counseling is a requirement to secure TA/NCPACE funding.

You can schedule your education counseling by calling NCVEC at 833-330-MNCC (6622). You can also submit an “Inquiry” through the Issue Tracker in your MyNavy Education portal.

Step 4: Secure Education Funding

There are a number of ways to fund your education. Some are earned through your service, while others are available through state and federal funding initiatives.

Navy Tuition Assistance

Be advised that NAVADMIN 214/21 provides an updated list of eligibility requirements for those seeking to use Tuition Assistance. Read this policy carefully before you seek funding.

The Navy College Program has two primary programs that Sailors can use to fund their education.

  1. Tuition Assistance (TA)
  2. Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE)

Each of these programs could pay 100% of your tuition at most institutions of higher learning. Keep in mind that there can be changes to these programs each fiscal year. There are also caps and limits on how much funding you can receive over the course of your career.

While TA is available to all eligible Sailors, the NCPACE program is designed for those who are assigned to specific categories of sea duty. This ensures that Sailors afloat have similar opportunities as those who are on shore.

Through accredited post-secondary institutions, NCPACE offers distance learning college courses. The best part is, courses in the NCPACE program do not require a consistent internet connection. In most cases, the course is downloaded in-full at the beginning, and then the coursework is uploaded at the end of the course.

RELATED: Military & Veteran College Scholarships and Grants

Top-Up Program

The Top-Up Program allows students to use their GI Bill benefits for reimbursement of tuition expenses not fully covered by TA/NCPACE.

Based on which GI Bill benefit you’re using (Montgomery or Post-9/11), the process of topping-up could deplete your benefit faster. For example, using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to reimburse any remaining tuition will use up that benefit faster than the MGIB Top-Up.

For more detailed information, carefully read the VA’s how-to guide for Using Tuition Assistance Top-Up.

Navy College Fund

The Navy College Fund offers new service members an increase in the MGIB Basic Allowance. This is commonly referred to as a “kicker” and is part of the service member’s contract.

The kicker is available through the Navy College Fund for those Sailors who convert to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but it is not transferable to dependents.

Navy Education: Alternative Funding Programs

There are also Navy education programs that could fund your education. Be advised, participants in the following programs are not eligible to use TA at the same time.

Education Programs for Enlisted Sailors

Educational Programs for Naval Officers

Federal & State Financial Aid

During your mandatory education counseling, the counselor will likely cover other funding options if you have no GI Bill benefits or have not been approved for TA.

Some of these options include:

Scholarship

And of course, there are so many scholarships out there to help pay for tuition and other educational expenditures.

Since there are so many scholarships out there, it is advisable to utilize a scholarship search tool. These search tools can cut down the time needed to find applicable scholarships.

Some great search tools are:

You need to know that where there is the will to complete your goals, there is a way to pay for it.

Step 5: Implement Your Education Plan

By the time you get to this point, you have done a lot of work. You have:

  • Researched career and education goals
  • Evaluated different schools and programs
  • Received counseling from an education specialist
  • And sourced funding to pay for your education

You’ve done all of that just to get to this point where you implement your plan. As you begin taking courses, remember to stay in contact with your command and/or counselor during the course of your program.

This is especially true if you encounter problems or change degree programs. 

Once you’ve completed your program, make sure that your degree is posted to your Joint Services Transcript. You accomplish this by asking your school to submit an official transcript to the JST Operations Center.

And of course, Congratulations, Sailor! You’ve just finished an active duty degree!

Conclusion

I firmly believe that getting an education is one of the most important journeys anyone can take in their life. Whether it is obtaining vocational credentials, getting computer certifications, or chasing down a degree program, learning should never stop.

It is awesome to see how many opportunities are available for our service members to get an education. If you’re interested in completing your education goals while in the Navy, please do not hesitate to follow the 5-Step VOLED Process outlined above.

It’s not just a job…it’s an adventure!

 

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Active Duty Degrees: Coast Guard Volunteer Education

Volunteer Education Opportunities in the Coast Guard

Members of the United States Coast Guard who are interested in obtaining a college degree while in the service should check out the Volunteer Education Services department. For many of the resources that follow, you will need your Coast Guard login credentials to proceed.

Volunteer Education Services

The VOLED services portal brings together a number of resources that aid Coast Guard members in the pursuit of their education goals. These are the four main sections of the VOLED portal:

  1. Tuition Assistance & Grants
  2. Student Resources
  3. Registrar Services
  4. Course Support & Testing

Each of these sections presents targeted assistance for any issues that students face.

Tuition Assistance & Grants

This is one of the first sections that future students visit. Within this department are resources about Tuition Assistance (TA) Procedures. Like other TA programs, the Coast Guard TA program seeks to aid Coast Guard personnel who are taking off-duty education courses. 

Be advised that TA is NOT authorized for courses that are at a lower level than the degree you may currently have. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree then you cannot use TA to cover any other bachelor’s level courses, even if they’re required for acceptance into a Master’s program.

RELATED: Cost Guard Tuition Assistance Overview

For specific policy information, carefully read the latest Coast Guard TA Policy before applying.

Other services that are available in this department are Tuition Assistance Indebtedness, TA Waiver Applications, and information about Supplemental Education Grants (SEG).

There is also the Coast Guard Foundation Education Grant (CGFEG) that grants recipients funding for tuition, fees, and other expenses resulting from their education.

RELATED: 11 Best Scholarship for Coast Guard Members

Student Resources

The Student Resources Section is another high-traffic area for current and future students. It offers some programs specific to the Coast Guard, and others that are generally available to military students. Some of the resources include:

Registrar Services

Through the Registrar Services department, students can request copies of their Joint Service Transcript, and Report a Degree they’ve completed for inclusion on their transcript.

Additionally, students use these services to access the DANTES Exam Reimbursement Center to recoup money they’ve spent on exam fees.

SEE ALSO: Coast Guard College Education Programs

Course Support & Testing

The support and testing department provides all the information and resources Coast Guard personnel may need as they pursue their professional and education goals. Some of these resources include information on:

In addition to these resources, Training Materials (login required) are also available for students to use in preparation for a variety of tests and exams.

Additional Education Resources

In addition to the items above, the Coast Guard also has a credentialing assistance program called Coast Guard Credential Opportunities On-Line (CG COOL). With CG COOL, service members can earn the official recognition they deserve for the professional and technical standards required for many Coast Guard job fields.

The Coast Guard also offers the USCG Skillport website that allows Coast Guard personnel access to books, videos, and courses to expand their professional development. A login is required for this resource.

Get That Degree

The Coast Guard is often overlooked as a sister service to the others, I think, because it is housed under the Department of Homeland Security instead of the Department of Defense. My oldest son recently joined the Coast Guard, so addressing the programs and benefits is personal.

The Coast Guard has tailored its assistance offering to the specific needs of its personnel. It is entirely possible to complete your college degree while serving in the United States Coast Guard.

Semper Paratus!

 

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Student Loan Repayment On Hold Until May 2022

Student Loan Repayment Paused Until May 2022

On December 22nd, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) announced a 90-day extension of the pause on repayment, collection, and interest of most federal student loans. The administrative pause will now endure until May 1, 2022.

The DoE estimates that this extension will help 41 million borrowers save $5 billion per month.

The Impact on Federal Student Loans

If you have Federal Student Loans, then you need to understand how this move impacts you.

This program offers temporary repayment relief to those with qualified student loans. However, not all loans are covered.

Loans Not Covered

For example, the Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL), an older loan program, and Perkins Loans owned by the school you attend(ed), do not qualify for this pause in collection and payment. That means you should still plan to make your monthly payments if you have these types of loans.

Qualified Loans

If you have loans that qualify for this temporary relief, then there is nothing you must do at this time. The Department of Education has automatically placed all qualified loans into a state called “administrative forbearance”. This means that you can stop making payment right away until 1 May, 2022.

For those borrowers who wish to continue making payments on their federal student loans, the interest rate is currently 0%. That means that any payments you make now will all go to the principal, which would ultimately help you pay off your loans faster.

If, however, you are on an income-based repayment program, a forgiveness program, or both, you should probably check out the Federal Student Aid Coronavirus page to determine your best course of action.

Student Loans In Default

If your student loans are in a Default status, then the Department of Education should have stopped contacting you regarding payment and collection. This will only last until 1 May, 2022, so they will likely start sending letters and making calls once that time passes.

If your employer has garnished your wages as a result of your student loan default, then you will get a refund. However, the garnishment may start again once the deadline passes.

RELATED: Military Service Could Eliminate Student Loan Debt

Which loans do I have?

This temporary relief applies only to federal student loans. If you’re unsure what types of student loans you have, take the following steps:

  1. Pull your credit report to get a complete list of your private and federal student loans. You can request a free copy each week from now until April 20, 2022, by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
  2. Carefully go through your credit report, find your student loans, and write down the lending companies or loan servicers.
  3. Then, compare that list to the full list of Federal Loan Servicers. The ones on your list that match the federal list are federal student loans.
  4. For assistance, log into your Federal Student Aid account or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.

This information should help you determine whether the student loans you have are federal or not.

A Final Note of Warning

Recently, the FTC warned student borrowers about hiring a company to get this temporary relief. The process is automatic for all qualified federal student loans, so you don’t have to enroll or apply for anything.

In their words, “Anyone who tells you they can help you sign up for this program for a fee is a scammer.”

Well said. 

 

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Active Duty Degrees: The Air Force Virtual Education Center

Education Benefits in the US Air Force

The Air Force offers its personnel a world-class education system called the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC). The AFVEC virtually gives Airmen the freedom to fully participate in every aspect of their education.

The Air Force Virtual Education Center

The AFVEC provides online access to a number of education opportunities to help personnel advance careers, obtain industry credentials, and prepare for transition to the civilian world.

The AFVEC hosts seven primary services that support the educational needs of Air Force members. They are:

    1. AF COOL (Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line)
    2. AU – ABC (Air University – Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative)
    3. GEM (General Education Mobile)
    4. CCAF (Community College of the Air Force)
    5. DoD Skillbridge
    6. TA Decide
    7. MilTA (Military Tuition Assistance program)

Using these programs, Airmen are able to achieve their education goals, to include getting a degree while on active duty.

AF COOL

The Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program allows enlisted members to earn industry certifications and licenses that can enhance their service or prepare them for civilian employment.

This opportunity is available to all active Air Force, Space Force, AF Reserves and Air National Guard members. All service members must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Possess a 5-skill level in their Primary AF Specialty Code
  2. Do not have a UIF, are not on a Control Roster, and are current on their Fitness test.
  3. Have a profile in AFVEC with an approved credentialing goal.
  4. Must obtain supervisor approval and complete the credential while on active duty status.

There is a maximum allowable lifetime benefit of $4,500 for AF COOL. It can also be used to complete one program outside of one’s AF Specialty Code and one degree-related credential.

Air University – Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative

The Air University – Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (AU-ABC) program allows Air Force members who have earned an Associate in Applied Science degree from the Community College of the Air Force to choose from a collection of colleges and universities to obtain a Bachelor’s degree.

By building upon an Associate’s degree from the CCAF, this program maximizes both the career training and the education credits earned by Air Force enlisted personnel.

Each student in the ABC program receives a “binding degree completion contract” that ensures applicable transfer credits are accepted and states the remaining requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

There are currently more than 55 accredited colleges and universities participating in the Air University program. Additionally, these schools award over 200 bachelor’s degrees in critically important subject areas, like:

  • Aeronautics
  • Computer Science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Intelligence Studies
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Management
  • Psychology
  • Strategic Leadership
  • And many more…

Learn more about the Air University – Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative here.

General Education Mobile (GEM)

GEM is a partnership between the Community College of the Air Force and accredited institutes of higher learning who provide general education courses to CCAF students.

Because of this partnership, students can satisfy their general education requirements from any of the participating schools. Students also do NOT have to complete all of their GenEd courses from the same school every time.

Through their AFVEC portal, students can search for schools that meet their education goals and enroll in courses as needed. All general education courses can be completed online, which is crucial to those personnel who are deployed or TDY during the course of their careers.

Learn more about the General Education Mobile here.

Community College of the Air Force

The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is considered the Enlisted Member’s College. Through this initiative, the Air Force grants enlisted personnel the freedom to advance their education through a variety of programs leading to vocational or educational degree programs.

Through the CCAF, enlisted members can obtain an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree by following a simple formula:

BMT + Tech Training + PME + General Education = CCAF Degree

The BMT is the physical education requirement, while the PME is the leadership and military studies requirement. These two requirements are easily satisfied by all military students. 

The Technical Training and General Education courses are those that can be satisfied by taking courses at any of the accredited institutions that partner with the CCAF.

Within the CCAF domain fall the GEM and AU-ABC programs detailed above. 

Dual Degrees

There is one cool opportunity that many do not know about. Personnel wishing to obtain both a vocational degree and a civilian education degree can work on both in tandem. The general education courses from the civilian degree can be transferred to the CCAF degree, which cuts down the number of classes required. This approach gets both degrees completed and resume ready!

Check out the CCAF 2022-2024 General Catalog to learn more about what’s available.

AU/CCAF Accreditation

The Community College of the Air Force is part of Air University. Air University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This grants AU the privilege of awarding associate, master’s and doctor of philosophy degrees.

Find out Why College Accreditation Matters for Military and why regional accreditation is the highest accreditation available to any institution.

Other AFVEC Programs

DoD Skillbridge

Through the Virtual Education Center, personnel can also access the DOD Skillbridge program. Through this program, Transitioning Service Members can gain valuable work experience in the civilian world through training, internships, and apprenticeships. All of this takes place within the last 180 days of service.

Read the AFVEC Skillbridge info, and then check out our DoD Skillbridge: What You Need to Know for more information.

Tuition Assistance (TA) Decide

This offering by the Department of Defense is a comparison tool designed to aid in the decision making process for service members wanting to use TA for education programs.

Data from the tool is funneled from numerous sources who partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Education, and the DoD. This creates a tailored experience for the participant and gives them the most relevant information available.

The information provided by TA Decide includes educational costs and comparative outcomes based on the institute of higher learning selected by the service member.

To begin searching for information on TA, head over to DoD’s TA Decide search tool.

Military Tuition Assistance Program

Air Force personnel can also access the MilTA program through the AFVEC. 

Currently, the Air Force pays 100% of tuition costs up to $250 per semester hour and $166 per quarter hour. There is a $4,500 annual cap that applies to this and other educational programs.

All TA actions must take place within and through the AFVEC. Login to your account to apply for TA.

You may also want to check out the Best Online Schools for Military Tuition Assistance and the Top Schools for Utilizing Military Tuition Assistance Benefits for more information.

A Powerhouse of Active Duty Education

The Air Force Virtual Education Center is an impressive focal point for service members seeking to advance their education.

Whether you’re looking for a professional credential, a degree, or transition assistance, the AFVEC has something that will benefit you for life.

I encourage you to take advantage of these amazing educational opportunities while you can. This proves that getting an Active Duty Degree for anyone who wants it.

 

 

 

Navient Cancels $1.7 Billion in Student Loan Debt

Navient Cancels $1.7 Billion in Student Loan Debt

On January 13th, a multi-state lawsuit filed against Navient, a servicer of federal student loans, will soon cancel student loan debt totaling $1.7 billon. This amount covers the private loan debt held by around 66,000 students.

Deceptive Practice Allegations

Navient Corporation agreed to the settlement in allegations of deceptive lending practices brought against the company by 39 State Attorneys General. The company maintains its innocence, even after agreeing to the settlement.

“The company’s decision to resolve these matters, which were based on unfounded claims, allows us to avoid the additional burden, expense, time and distraction to prevail in court,” declared Mark Heleen, one of Navient’s legal officers (WSJ).

Navient gave private loans to students with poor credit, many of whom attended institutions with questionable standards. A large number were for-profit schools, who have repeatedly come under fire for promises made to potential military students. For-profit institutions must make at least 10% of their income from non-federal sources in order to accept VA education payments, which can lead them to take desperate measures.

Navient recently announced its exit from servicing student loans. The company used to be part of Sallie Mae, but it split off in 2014. A majority of the loans being cancelled are ones issued before the company left Sallie Mae.

RELATED: Debating the 90/10 Rule

The Multi-State Settlement

According to the Navient Multi-State Settlement website, the settlement includes $1.7 billion in debt cancellation and $95 million in restitution.

Restitution payments of about $260 will be distributed to approximately 350,000 federal loan borrowers whose loans were placed in forbearance.

Borrowers whose debts are soon to be cancelled will receive a notice and a refund from Navient if they’ve made any payments on the cancelled loans. Look for that after June 30th, 2022.

As an additional punitive measure, Navient must explain to its borrowers the benefits of income driven repayment plans. It must also offer to estimate income-driven repayment amounts before placing borrowers into forbearance.

Additional conduct reforms for Navient include hiring specialists who are skilled at dealing with student borrowers. Moreover, Navient shall counsel any borrowers who are public service workers to inform them of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

RELATED: Military Service Could Eliminate Student Loan Debt With PSLF

Replacing Navient Corp.

In mid-October of last year, the Department of Education announced that AidVantage, a property of Maximus Federal Services, Inc., will take over for Navient in the processing of federal student loans.

However, Navient will still service federal loans issued under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

Next Steps for Impacted Borrowers

If you believe you may be impacted by the recent Navient settlement, the only advisable action you need to take is to ensure your address is updated on your StudentAid.gov account.

As long as the Department of Education has a most current address, any settlement or restitution payments will be sent to that address.

In the Spring of 2022, the settlement administration will contact via postal mail each federal loan borrower who is eligible for restitution payments.

Keep in mind, though, that not everyone who had dealings with Navient will receive forgiveness or restitution. There are conditional requirements that must be met by borrowers. For example, students:

  • Must have studied at certain for-profit institutions
  • Received their loans between 2002 and 2014
  • Must be at least seven months behind on payments
  • Must live in certain states covered by the settlement. That’s most states, but not all of them.

The Navient Settlement website lists, at the bottom of the homepage, all the states involved in the multi-state lawsuit.

So, again, as long as your information is up-to-date with the Department of Education, you will be notified sometime in the middle of 2022 via postal mail.

 

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Military Service Could Eliminate Student Loan Debt with PSLF

Military Service Could Help Erase Student Loan Debt with Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Did you know that your military service could lead to the forgiveness of student loans? 

The Department of Education (DoE) recently made changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Problem of Student Loans

Information from the Education Data Initiative shows that:

  • 43.2 million student borrowers are in debt by an average of $37,014
  • The average public university student borrows $30,030 for their undergraduate degree
  • Student loan debt in the US totals $1.762 trillion
  • Student loan debt grows 6 times faster than the nation’s economy

Post-secondary education is important, and it can get expensive. During the pandemic, when universities either shut down or went online, indignant students demanded a reduction or refund of their tuition.

The most notable case comes from a Harvard University lawsuit that was filed by students to force a partial refund of the nearly $50,000/year tuition. The lawsuit alleged that the online learning environment was subpar compared to the in-person learning the students expected when they took out their student loans.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, but it demonstrates a crescendo of student voices who are questioning the value of their education for the price they have to pay.

RELATED: Department of Education Eliminates $5.8 Million in Student Loan Debt

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver

People who are employed by the federal, state, local, or tribal government, or a not-for-profit organization, may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

PSLF Eligibility

Eligibility for the PSLF program depends on certain factors. 

The following must be true:

  • You must be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or a non-profit organization. Military service counts as federal service.
  • You work full time for that agency or organization
  • You have Direct Loans, or you consolidate other federal loans into a Direct Loan
  • You repay your loans under an income-driven plan
  • You make 120 qualifying payments

Because you need to make 120 qualifying monthly payments, it will take at least 10 years before you are eligible for the PSLF program.

Changes to PSLF as of October 2021

On October 6th, 2021, the Department of Education announced coming changes to the PSLF.

The changes to the program include:

    1. A limited PSLF waiver that allows all payments by student borrowers to count toward PSLF, regardless of loan program or payment plan. This includes past payments that were late, or payments for less than the amount due.
  • Allows active duty service members to count deferments and forbearances toward PSLF.
  • Automatically provides credit toward PSLF for military service members and federal employees.
  1. Reviewing denied PSLF applications for errors and giving borrowers the chance to have their PSLF determinations reconsidered.
  2. Borrowers can receive forgiveness even if they’re not employed or not employed by a qualifying employer at the time of application and forgiveness.

The press release also mentioned that the current administration has approved more than $11.5 billion in loan cancellation for over 580,000 borrowers.

These temporary changes will last only until October 31, 2022. 

Check out the PSLF Waiver page for more information on Qualifying Payments. They also have a robust Q&A section that covers a lot of ground specific to each category of student borrower.

Applying for a PSLF Waiver

Your first step should be to use the PSLF Help Tool, which lets you search for qualifying employers and to learn what actions you should take to become eligible for PSLF. To use the PSLF Help Tool, you must first login to your student aid account.

Every time you submit a form, the office of Federal Student Aid will evaluate your eligibility for forgiveness, and then grant that forgiveness if you are eligible.

Loan Forgiveness Problems

While the elimination of student loan debt is a highly politicized arena, there have been ambiguities and issues that have plagued the PSLF program for some time.

The nonprofit organization Education Data Initiative provides recent statistical data that sheds some light on these problems. According to EDI:

  • The Higher Education Act has never been funded by Congress
  • 0.7% of eligible borrowers will benefit from the forgiveness program
  • 6.7% of eligible student borrowers apply for the program
  • Slightly more than 1% of applications to the PSLF have been approved since the program began
  • In the first year of PSLF, 0.032% of all applications were approved
  • 3 million student borrowers are eligible for the PSLF, but little more than 200,000 have applied
  • The Department of Education approved only $26.9 million of the $700 million appropriated for the PSLF

One of the main problems with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is that very few student borrowers even know about it.

Another is the historically selective and rigorous demands of the program. You can make all the money in the world available for loan forgiveness; but if the regulations are so tight, then it eliminates most of the student borrowers.

Time is Running Out

Let’s hope that these temporary changes will allow more applicants to benefit from the PSLF program. The changes are only in effect until October 31, 2022, which means you need to have your application in by then.

If you are an active duty service member who is carrying student loan debt, please do not miss this chance to have your military service count toward debt forgiveness.

The process sounds like it’s not easy, so take advantage of the time available to square yourself away!

 

 

Skillshare Scholarships for Online Learning

College Students Eligible for Skillshare Scholarships

Skillshare is an online learning platform that offers thousands of classes for creative learners. On this platform, you can learn skills that advance your career or help you discover new passions in life.

Skillshare Learning

Skillshare opens up about their platform and the benefits it brings to its students:

“At Skillshare, we’ve seen again and again how the seemingly simple act of creating can be a force for growth, change, and discovery in people’s lives. We want to inspire and multiply the kind of creative exploration that furthers expression, learning, and application.”

As an online learning platform, Skillshare offers courses that are taught by experts in their respective fields. By engaging with teachers, students can also get hands-on experience by completing projects and sharing them online.

In this way, students are able to get feedback on their work from the instructors. This pushes learning past the passive, theoretical methods of some learning platforms and engages students on a deeper level.

Skillshare Topics of Learning

The courses on Skillshare are generally broken down into four categories: Creative, Business, Technology, and Lifestyle.

Creative Curriculum

Under the Creative umbrella, students can choose from a myriad of courses that cover topics like:

  • Animation
  • Graphic Design
  • Adobe Suite
  • Calligraphy
  • Fine Art
  • Photography
  • Storytelling
  • Video Editing
  • And so many more…

Business Curriculum

Skillshare’s courses and instructors bring a wealth of business knowledge to the table. Students can learn almost every facet of the business world with courses in:

Technology Curriculum

For those students wanting to begin or advance their careers in Information Technology, then check out some of Skillshare’s offered courses:

  • Data Science
  • Game Design
  • HTML
  • Javascript
  • Web Development
  • WordPress

Lifestyle Curriculum

Outside of work, most of us are looking to discover hobbies and passions that can enrich our lives. Skillshare brings together instructors who share the love of creation. Some topics covered in this category are:

  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Embroidery
  • Flower Arranging
  • Interior Design
  • Jewelry Design
  • Screen Printing
  • Sewing

Signing Up for Skillshare

To sign up for Skillshare, you can set up an account with Facebook, Google, Apple, or with an email address. You must be over 16 years old to use Skillshare.

Skillshare does not advertise how much their subscription is, even in their terms of service. I’ve contacted the company to inquire about a monthly or yearly cost, but as of this writing I’ve not heard back from them.

On Apple’s App Store, the in-app purchases are listed as follows:

  1. Monthly Premium Membership – $31.99
  2. Premium Membership – $18.99
  3. Annual Premium Membership – $169.99

So, it looks like there are two tiers for monthly membership, ranging in price from just under $20 to just over $30, monthly. The annual membership fee is unambiguous and is comparable in price to other services like Wondrium and MasterClass.

Skillshare Scholarships

However, Skillshare does offer Scholarships that cover 50% of Skillshare membership for current college and university students. For the annual membership, that comes to be about $85 in savings. All you need to apply for this scholarship is a valid student email address. 

Additionally, Skillshare awards a free year of access to 10 students every month. They encourage everyone to apply for this scholarship opportunity, especially those who are struggling financially. This is a good move for a growing company!

Finally, for anyone living in the United Kingdom, Skillshare is offering a free year of membership to workers whose furlough ended on 31 September 2021. There are only 100 of these scholarships, and they will go to the first eligible applicants. You have until December 31, 2021, to apply.

 

Looking for Scholarships for Military, Veterans, Spouses, and Dependents?

 

The Beauty of Lifelong Learning

What I love most about Skillshare as a platform is a fresh approach they’re taking to learning in general. I’ve had past subscriptions to the Great Courses and LinkedIn Learning, and I love the courses and lectures. 

But Skillshare has taken online learning and married it to practical application, so students are applying what they’re learning, not just watching the instructor. The feedback students get is also a priceless benefit that sets Skillshare apart from other online learning platforms. 

If you’re interested in upgrading your skills, learning new ones, or discovering your next hobby, then check out Skillshare. Make sure you apply to all the available scholarships for which you are eligible, as it may save you some of your hard-earned money.

But most importantly, always be learnin’!

For more info on Skillshare, please go here.

 

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VA Approved Flight Training: An Overview

Looking at VA Approved Flight Training

You probably already know that your VA education benefits can help pay for flight training. However, you may not have any details about how it all works. For example, you may be wondering,

Can the GI Bill be used to pay for flight training?

Are there VA approved flight schools?

What benefits are included for flight training through VA schools?

If you’ve asked any of these questions and are interested in getting your commercial pilot license, then read on to discover some programs available and how to apply your VA education benefits to pay for training.

VA Approved Flight Training

You can use your GI Bill to pay for flight training, provided you meet certain requirements. 

All of these must be true to qualify:

  • You must qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, and
  • You must have a private pilot’s license, and
  • Have a second-class medical certificate valid for second-class privileges – or a first-class medical certificate if you want to get the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate

Please note, the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program can not be used to pay for flight training. However, the Fry Scholarship can pay for flight training.

Available Benefits Based on Program

There are some differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill when it comes to available benefits.

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

You will be reimbursed for 60% of the approved fees that may be charged by your flight school.

Additionally, your MGIB entitlement will be charged at the rate of one (1) month for each $2,150 paid. So, hypothetically, if you are in flight training and you have 36 months of MGIB entitlement remaining, then the max amount you can receive for that training is $77,400. 

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you’re using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to pay for flight training, the payment you receive depends on a few factors:

  1. You level of eligibility, which is a percentage based on how long you served, and
  2. How much entitlement you have left for training, and
  3. The type of school and program in which you’re enrolled.

Here are some details regarding how the program you attend determines the benefits available. If you are enrolled in:

  • A degree program that contains flight training at a public college or university. The VA will pay for up to the full in-state tuition and fees. You may also get a monthly housing allowance and money to cover books and supplies.
  • A degree program that contains flight training at a private college or university. The VA will pay for the “net cost of tuition and fees” up to a yearly limit. The limit depends on your level of eligibility and the amount of benefit remaining. A housing allowance and money for books are available, as is the ability to use the Yellow Ribbon Program at participating schools.
  • A vocational program at a stand-alone Part 141 pilot school. The VA pays for the net cost of training up to a yearly limit. In this option, there is no housing allowance available, nor is there extra money for books and supplies.

Keep in mind, these requirements largely apply to stand-alone schools that are not colleges and universities.

Regardless of which school you plan to attend, your VA education benefits can help pay for the following flight qualifications:

  • Rotary wing
  • B747-400
  • Dual Engine
  • Flight Engineer

Applying for VA Education Benefits

To get started on the path to your commercial pilot license, you will need to apply for VA education benefits. There are multiple ways to do this:

  1. Apply Online! Follow the link to the GI BIll application page, fill out a short questionnaire, and get the process started.
  2. Apply by Mail. Call 888.442.4551, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, and request an application be sent to you through the mail. Once you fill it out, mail it to the VA regional claims processing office that is located in the same region as your school. Here’s a list of regional claims processing offices to explore.
  3. Apply In Person. If you are able, go to a VA regional office to have a VA employee help you fill out an application for benefits. Here’s a list of VA regional offices near you. You can also work with your school’s certifying official for help with the application.

As of right now, it takes the VA an average of 30 days to make a decision regarding your education benefits. So, keep that in mind when enrolling in a flight program.

Colleges & Universities with VA Approved Flight Training

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle is a world-class, private university that offers degree programs for veteran and military students. 

Additionally, Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, FL and Prescott, AZ campuses offer Bachelor’s degrees in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas. So, students have the opportunity to get a degree and obtain a commercial pilot’s license at Embry-Riddle University.

Embry-Riddle offers two ground schools: Commercial Pilot Fixed Wing and Private Pilot Fixed Wing. The ERAU campuses for which these programs apply are located in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona.

Embry-Riddle also participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, and the university offers college credit for military experience.

Colorado Northwestern Community College

Colorado Northwestern Community College is a public, 2-year school located in Rangely, Colorado. Colorado Northwestern does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, but they are approved for Tuition Assistance, and they have GI Bill approved programs.

Additionally, CNCC offers an associate degree program that covers the Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas.

University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College

The University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College is a public two-year college that offers technical programs, university transfer programs, and other specialized programs serving central Arkansas.

This school also offers an associate’s degree program covering the Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew subject areas.

The Pulaski Technical College does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, however they are approved for Tuition Assistance, and they offer credit for military service.

Texas State Technical College – Waco

The Texas State Technical College is a military- and veteran-focused technical college that offers a vast array of two-year degree programs.

One of them happens to cover the commercial and professional pilot subject areas. While TSTC does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school does offer GI Bill approved programs. It also offers college credit for military experience, which is helpful for service members in transition.

Central Texas College – Main Campus

The main campus of Central Texas College is a two-year public college located in Killeen, Texas.

The CTC main campus offers a professional and commercial pilots program that can lead students to the acquisition of their professional pilot’s license.

Central Texas College participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, as well as the Tuition Assistance Program.

Additionally, eligible military-affiliated students can use the Texas Hazlewood Act, which is a benefit from the state of Texas that provides qualified veterans, spouses, and dependent children with up to 150 credit hours of tuition exemption.

More Colleges & Universities with Flight Training

The following schools also offer some form of flight training. This list has been populated from CollegeRecon’s School Finder searching by the “Aviation” subject area.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of North Dakota

Cochise Community College

Sacramento City College

Mt. San Antonio College

Aims Community College

Middle Georgia State University

Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell

Community College of Beaver County

Palo Alto College

Mountain View College

Letourneau University – Longview

Green River College

Lewis University

California Baptist University

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Big Bend Community College

Honolulu Community College

Vincennes University

Lansing Community College

Orange Coast College

Indian Hills Community College

Southwestern Illinois College

Guilford Technical Community College

Sinclair Community College

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Portland Community College

Lane Community College

Salt Lake Community College

Cypress College

Mercer County Community College

Wallace State Community College

Yavapai College

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Palomar College

Metropolitan State University of Denver

St. Petersburg College – Clearwater

Palm Beach State College

Polk State College

Miami-Dade College

Broward College

Jacksonville University

University of Dubuque

Iowa Central Community College

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Lewis and Clark Community College

Kishwaukee College

Hutchinson Community College

Eastern Kentucky University

Louisiana Tech University Ruston

North Shore Community College

Eastern Michigan University

Western Michigan University

Jackson College

Northwestern Michigan College

Oakland Community College

Lake Superior College

Inver Hills Community College

University of Central Missouri

Saint Louis University

Delta State University

Rocky Mountain College

Lenoir Community College

Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute

County College of Morris

San Juan College

College of Southern Nevada

Dutchess Community College

Jamestown Community College

Northern Oklahoma College

Central Oregon Community College

Treasure Valley Community College

Lehigh Carbon Community College

Luzerne County Community College

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

San Jacinto Community College

Midland College

Tarleton State University

Baylor University

Central Washington University

Farmingdale State College

Utah State University – Logan

Indiana State University

Westminster College – Utah

Utah Valley University

Vermont Technical College – Randolph Center

Clover Park Technical College

Walla Walla University

Gateway Technical College

Fox Valley Technical College

Casper College

Quincy University

 

The colleges and universities listed above have some form of flight training curriculum. Be advised, they may not all be the full curriculum, where some schools may only offer rotary wing training, while others only offer fixed wing. Check with the school first to verify that the training you’re looking for is available.

Conclusion

Our transportation infrastructure depends upon those who have pilots licenses. Air travel is currently the fastest form of transportation used by businesses to move people and products around the world. 

According to the Department of Labor, the median income for airline and commercial pilots was over $130,000 in 2020. Furthermore, the job outlook is expected to grow at 13% until 2030, which is faster than the national average.

If you’ve ever considered becoming a pilot, now is a great time to get that training. Find a school that suits your needs, and apply the GI Bill benefits to secure your future!

(Image courtesy of SFIO CRACHO via Shutterstock)

 

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Support Our Scholars: Scholarships & Mentorships for Women Students

Scholarships & Mentorship for Women Students

If you are a transitioning female veteran, military spouse, or family member, there is a fantastic scholarship opportunity for you through Support Our Scholars.

Support Our Scholars

“Our organization selects young women with exceptional academic achievement and mentors them throughout their four years of college and beyond. We know that disadvantaged and/or first generation students need the support of mentors and stipends to accomplish their goal of graduating from college.”

This scholarship and mentorship opportunity seeks to improve the chances of graduation for women students, especially those from disadvantaged communities and those who are the first college students in their families.

What do Scholars Receive?

After selection, each SOS Scholar receives:

  • A trained mentor
  • $10,000 stipend, to be paid incrementally over four years of college
  • Complete dorm room provisions
  • A laptop computer
  • A support team of Business Women for contacts and internships

How to apply for Support Our Scholars

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2022, so don’t wait to apply. Candidates must submit an online application, where you will enter basic demographic information and answer questions about your education goals.

Furthermore, you must submit the following documents along with the application to be considered. These documents can be uploaded and attached at the time you submit your online application or mailed in separately.

  1. Transcripts – Mail transcripts to: Support Our Scholars, PO Box 1985, Winter Park, FL 32790-1985
  2. Letters of Recommendation – You must submit three letters of recommendation, and one of them must come from a guidance counselor.
  3. Essay – Submit a 500-700 word personal statement explaining why you should be chosen as an SOS Scholar. Make sure you address how a mentor could help you through your education.
  4. FAFSA and Student Aid Reports – Login to you account at FAFSA.gov and print your SAR from the “My FAFSA” page. Scan this and upload to SOS application.
  5. 1040 Tax Form – Provide a copy of your parent or guardian’s 2020 1040 Tax Forms.
  6. Proof of Citizenship – This can be any of the following:
    1. Passport
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. Social Security Card
    4. Certificate of Naturalization
    5. Certificate of Citizenship

Fortunately, most of these items can be uploaded along with the online application. Only the Transcripts provide a specific mailing address.

Support Our Scholars Timeline

Again, the deadline to submit your application is February 1, 2022. Then, on or around March 18, 2022, Applicants will receive notification of their interview date.

On April 2nd and 3rd, 2022, all applicants will be interviewed by the Support Our Scholars review board. About two weeks later, on April 18th, those candidates who have been selected as SOS Scholars will be notified.

Finally, on May 1, 2022, SOS Scholars will attend a Scholar + Mentor Bootcamp, followed by a Dorm Shower on May 20th, 2022. Attendance at these events is mandatory for all SOS Scholars.

More Information about Support Our Scholars

If you need assistance with an application, or have questions about any of the required documentation, please do not hesitate to contact Support our Scholars at:

  • (407) 622-4422
  • 400 N New York Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789-3159

So, please do not miss this opportunity to secure additional funding for your college education. If you are eligible, Apply Today!

(Image courtesy of Take A Pix Media via Shutterstock)

 

Search for Scholarships for Military and Veterans

 

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Debating the 90/10 Rule in Veteran Education

Three Sides of Two Coins: The 90/10 Dilemma

In October, 2021, the Department of Education (DoE) began rewriting regulations that could negatively impact for-profit schools. It is possible that the DoE could create tighter restrictions by imposing limitations on what for-profit schools can count as “non-federal revenue sources”. These limitations, both current and projected, form the basis of the 90/10 Rule.

The 90/10 Rule

Conceptually, the rule is simple: for-profit schools can receive no more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal “Title IX” student aid programs. 

The inverse of that statement is: for profit schools are expected to make at least 10 percent of their revenue from other than federal sources.

Currently, the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance programs do not count as federal student aid classified by Title IX definitions. Which means that any VA benefits received by any school do not count against the 90% limit on federal funding. They count towards the 10% of non-federally funded revenue.

However, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 plans to expand those definitions to include ALL federal education benefit programs, like those used by military and veteran students. The law is set to take effect in 2023.

Debating the 90/10 Rule

Advocates for this change, which includes some veterans’ organizations, are excited that the “90/10 loophole” will be closed by congressional action. The “loophole”, to which it is commonly referred, alludes to the predatory practice of some for-profit institutions who heavily incentivise the recruitment of military and veteran students.

This predation on veteran students does not seem to be isolated. Some states like Maryland have passed their own state-level limitations on for-profit schools in response to these problems. Maryland’s new education law will also take effect in 2023.

Organizations like Veterans Education Success have taken a strong stance against for-profit institutions, claiming that the 90/10 Rule “gives for-profit colleges an incentive to see service members as nothing more than dollar signs in uniform”. 

The Veterans Education Success also released an article documenting the findings by the Department of Education that for-profit colleges used the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance programs to “skirt the 90/10 regulation”. You can find the article here: New Analysis Finds Many For-Profit Colleges Skirt Federal Funding Limits (Dec. 2016).

However, critics of the legislation, to include the Veterans Education Project, are speaking out about what they consider an unfair targeting of for-profit institutions.

The Opposition to the 90/10 Rule’s Existence

The Veterans Education Project published a punchy response, titled Collateral Damage, in which the VEP decried the 90/10 rule as outdated. It is a good title and one that advertises their opposition well.

“The rationale for the policy is that a worthwhile educational provider should be able to attract other sources of revenue beyond federal grants and loans, and that students should be willing to put some of their own money toward their education.”

The VEP refers to the notion of a student or family contribution as having “skin in the game”, which, in my opinion, has got to be the most-repeated phrase threaded throughout their 23-page response to the 90/10 Rule. 

Even so, one of their most concise arguments, and one that makes a lot of sense, highlights the inconsistencies between the 90/10 Rule and other federal rules. The meat of their argument revolves around the use of the Student Aid Index, a new name coming in 2022 for the current Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The EFC is calculated for federal aid by projecting the amount of money the student or the student’s family can contribute to higher education. The VEP cites the Department of Education data indicating that 40% of undergraduate students have an EFC of $0. 

This means that if a student can’t contribute any money toward their education, and is then required to take out federal funding, then the for-profit schools must charge a higher price for education to ensure that the federal loans only account for 90% of the total revenue.

When framed in that manner, the “skin in the game” paradigm makes little sense. However, it is all about framing and rhetoric, as both advocates and opponents to the 90/10 Rule argue for what they think is best for the student.

A History of Best Intentions

Land-Grant College Act of 1862

Federal involvement in education can be traced back to the 19th century with the Land-Grant College Act of 1862. Also known as the Morrill Act, this legislation provided federal land grants to states in order to finance the establishment of colleges.

The Morrill Act granted 30,000 acres of land to each state for each congressional seat it possessed. Some states sold the land to start schools, while others gave the money to existing colleges to create agriculture and mechanic (A&M) schools.

As an interesting note, all land-grant schools were required to have military training as part of their curriculum, which led to the formation of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944

In June, 1944, President Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act which gave WWII veterans money for college, unemployment insurance, and housing. It is the first instance of federal money being given for the purposes of financing higher education.

Since the establishment of the GI Bill of Rights in 1944, the possibility of making access to college more equitable has gained tremendous attention. The reasoning, it is supposed, is that if the federal government can grant college money to veterans, then why can’t it do the same for lower income students.

The Growing Beast of Financial Aid

In 1958, Congress passed the National Defense Education Act which gave low-interest loans to college students. If, after graduating, students became teachers, then their loan debts were cancelled.

In 1972, legislators determined that funding aid directly to the student, rather than to the colleges and universities, was the best way to make higher education more accessible to low income families.

This is also the year that the legislative verbiage changed from “higher education” to the more inclusive “postsecondary education”. The goal was to highlight that there were other options available besides the full-time, four-year college experience.

As it relates to the 90/10 Rule debate, it was also in 1972 that for-profit schools, also called proprietary schools, were granted full rights to participate in the Title IX programs.

The Proliferation of Education Profiteering

From a business standpoint, it is not surprising that for-profit institutions are responsive to policies impacting federal student aid. Their livelihood depends on it.

From the early 1970s and throughout the 1980s and 1990’s, the for-profit industry exploded as a result of their inclusion in federal programs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Hundreds of for-profit schools emerged, many in low-income metropolitan areas. 

These schools not only offered programs in business, but they also brought other vital training that would feed employment opportunities to those disadvantaged students. Programs in welding, mechanics, truck driving, and other trades certainly helped keep some people away from poverty.

So, what’s the big deal?

As in every business industry, there were some for-profit schools that abused the federal aid programs, which obviously prompted a legislative response. As a result of this bad publicity and congressional intervention, the for-profit industry shrank considerably.

But that didn’t eliminate the problem. It just eliminated the number of players in the education game that provide learning opportunities to students around the country. This, on its face, is the foundation of VEP’s objection to the 90/10 rule. 

They argue that most for-profit schools offer legitimate learning opportunities, which is true. The VEP also argues that the instruction received at for-profit schools, which ties directly to student outcomes, is comparable to public and private colleges and universities that are not proprietary in nature.

Another part of the VEP’s argument is rightfully focused on the provable outcomes faced by students at these public and private universities. Not every student that starts a program finishes it. Not every student that graduates goes on to make a middle-class income. Many do, but not all. 

So, by comparing the outcomes between both the for-profit schools and the gargantuan non-profit university systems around the country, the VEP has created the image of equal-footing between proprietary schools and every other school.

But are they equal?

All schools that remain eligible to receive VA benefits on behalf of their veteran students must adhere to rigid protocols and regulations. There is now this idea that for-profit institutions are being unfairly targeted for simply being “for-profit”. When you read the VEP’s rebuttal of the 90/10 Rule, you get the sense that they stopped just short of labeling the current legislation as “prejudicial”.

In a sense, all legislation is prejudicial, as it judges some things to be good and others to be bad. It accepts certain social and universal behaviors, and it rejects others. So, the legislation that places limitations on for-profit schools should not be seen as unfairly targeting proprietary institutions, despite what the VEP says.

Legislation changes, which is why they wrote Collateral Damage. They have every right to be concerned, but so does the government.

A Different Perspective

If you take a satellite view of the situation, here’s what it looks like to me. The federal government, through taxation and legislation, funds the federal student aid programs that make up a hefty portion of the annual budget.

This means that the taxpayers are the ones who ultimately fund the education grants and loans issued by the federal government. The money doesn’t care if it ends up in the vaults of a non-profit or the coffers of a for-profit school. The distinction, and the reason for federal intervention on behalf of the taxpayer, lies in the category in which each school falls.

When federal funding is granted to students and used at non-profit institutions, there is an understanding that the school brings value to the outcome of the student’s life, even if they fail. Even if they do not make a billion dollars over the course of their life. These institutions are not-for-profit, even if they do in fact make a profit. It’s how they’re classified.

Now, when federal funding, or taxpayer funding, is granted to a student and used at a for-profit institution, there is the understanding that the school is a business first, and an institute of higher learning second. When student outcomes, like graduating and making decent money, are less than what was advertised, then there is a consumer concern. 

For-profit schools are run like a business, because they are, in fact, businesses. And yet, they are businesses that draw most of their revenue from the federal government through student aid. In essence, taxpayer funding is paying for a large majority of the revenue received by for-profit schools.

Because of this, it seems to weaken the notion that for-profit schools should be somehow protected from the forces of the market. They are businesses, so shouldn’t they live and die based on the market’s desire for their products?

The answer should be “yes”.

These proprietary institutions should want their education services to be desirable enough to attract consumers of all kinds, not just the veterans. But, since many for-profit schools have tied their very existence to programs like the GI Bill, they are in danger of closing if they can not update their policies before the changes take effect.

Countdown to 2023

It must be known that I am not for or against proprietary schools. I think they have a place in society and educate thousands of students every year. In fact, in today’s terms, wouldn’t Plato’s Academy be considered for-profit?

The fundamental flaw that I see in the argument against the 90/10 Rule is that for-profit institutions want more than anything to have the protections of their non-profit counterparts. This is understandable, but all of their problems exist at a legal level.

No one forced these proprietary schools to organize and register themselves as “for-profit”. It was an entrepreneurial drive that founded most proprietary schools. I will also concede, though, that forming a nonprofit college or university is much harder to do. Which means that the decision to become a for-profit institution was done with the knowledge that they will operate both in the realms of business and education for the duration of their existence.

Students First

Ultimately, it’s about what is best for the student. Whether those students are veterans, come from homes below the poverty line, or even if they hail from other countries, no one wants to have a poor education. 

To my mind, education is one of the most valuable investments anyone can make in their lives. I believe that an educated citizenry is the foundation of a free society. Knowledge should be available for everyone.

It is foolish, however, to think that education will cause everyone to agree on everything. Humans have disagreed on most things for as long as we’ve walked this planet. But education does grant the freedom to think differently, and even dissent from what is popular at the time.

This extends to the 90/10 debate. I believe that both sides are arguing for what’s best, both for their students and, as it directly ties to their livelihood, their schools. I don’t want to see good schools go under because of a whimsical legislative change. But I also don’t want to see bad schools continue to dupe students and taxpayers.

This debate is sure to heat up as we draw closer to the deadline. In 2022, there will certainly be significant developments as the Department of Education rewrites the rules for federal student aid.

Make sure you follow CollegeRecon and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about the changes ahead!

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Survivors & Dependents VA Education Benefits

VA Education Benefits for Survivors & Dependents

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides education benefits to dependents and survivors of our nation’s heroes.

The Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, also known as Chapter 35 Benefits, can be used to pay for college, vocational schools, certification tests, and apprenticeships, among other things.

Eligibility for Chapter 35 Education Benefits

You may be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits if you are the spouse or child of a service member who meets any of the following criteria.

The service member:

  • Died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001
  • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
  • Was detained by force while in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
  • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability.

Additionally, you may be eligible for VA education benefits under Chapter 35 if you’re the child or spouse of a Veteran and one of the following items is true.

The Veteran:

  • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability

For the Child of a Veteran or Service Member

The following information applies of you are the child of a Veteran or Service Member described above:

  • You can receive benefits between the ages of 18 and 26, but there are exceptions.
  • You can be either married or unmarried.
  • If you’re over 18 and using DEA, you can NOT get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the VA at the same time.
  • If you join the military, you cannot use this benefit while on active duty.
  • When using the benefit after leaving the service, you must not have a dishonorable discharge.
  • While military service can extend your eligibility for this benefit, the increase does not extend past your 31st birthday.

For the Spouse of a Veteran or Service Member

The following information applies if you are the spouse of a Veteran or service member described above.

  • Your benefits start on the date of your determined eligibility, or on the date of the Veteran’s death. The benefits last 10 years.
  • If the VA rated the Veteran as “permanently and totally disabled”, with an effective date that is years after the Veteran’s discharge, you will qualify for benefits for 20 years from the effective date.
  • If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
  • You can get both DIC and DEA benefits simultaneously.

Moreover, if you are a dependent or spouse who does NOT meet the above criteria, there may still be other VA education benefits you could receive, especially if the service member transferred any portion of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to you.

RELATED: New Law Guarantees In-State Tuition for Survivors & Dependents

Chapter 35 Benefit Details

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, some great benefits may be applicable to your education situation. You stand to receive any of the following benefits:

  1. Education and training
  2. Money for tuition
  3. A housing stipend
  4. Money for books and supplies

The VA will send you a monthly payment that can help cover the costs associated with your education. This can include college courses, career training, education counseling, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.

In most cases, you can receive these education benefits for up to 36 months.

Applying for Chapter 35 VA Benefits

There are two GI Bill programs that offer assistance to survivors and dependents of Veterans. For both of them you can Apply Online, or fill out a Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-5490) and mail it to the VA regional office where you want to go to school.

Find a VA Regional Office near your school.

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

The Fry Scholarship is for children and spouses of:

  • Active-duty service members who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, or
  • Members of the Selected Reserve who died from a service-connected disability on or after September 11, 2001

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

The DEA program offers education and training to eligible dependents of Veterans who:

  • Are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition

You may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the DEA program, but you can only use one of them. Once you decide which to use, you can’t change to the other program.

Comparing the DEA to the Fry Scholarship

 

DEA Program Fry Scholarship
How are payments made?

The benefit payment is sent directly to the student at the most current rate. Currently, the monthly payment for full-time payment is $1,265.

How are payments made?

Tuition and fees are paid directly to the school, which covers full in-state tuition and up to $25,162.14 per year at private or foreign schools.

The monies for books and supplies are paid directly to the student, up to $1,000 per year.

The monthly housing allowance is paid directly to the student at the local Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for an E-5 with dependents. Online students get half the national BAH average.

Duration of Benefits for Spouses:

20 years from the service members date of death if they died on active duty. Or 10 years from the date of qualification after the Veteran passes.

Duration of Benefits for Spouses:

There is no time limit to use these benefits, but they will lose them if they remarry.

Duration of Benefits for Children:

A child may use the benefits between the ages of 18 and 26.

Duration of Benefits for Children:

A child who becomes eligible on or after January 1, 2013 has no time limit to use the benefits.

MAX months of Benefits? 

45 months of the first use was before August 1, 2018. 

36 months if the first use of benefits was after August 1, 2018.

MAX months of Benefits?

36 months.

Spouse Eligible for DIC and Education Benefits?

Yes.

Spouse Eligible for DIC and Education Benefits?

Yes.

Programs Covered:
  • College, business, technical, or vocational programs
  • Certification tests
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Tutorial assistance
  • Work Study
Programs Covered:
  • College, business, technical, or vocational programs
  • Certification tests
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Tutorial Assistance
  • Work Study
  • Vocational Flight Training

Additionally, it is worth noting that only the Fry Scholarship can be used to pay for Flight Training.

Next Steps for Survivors and Dependents

After the loss of your Veteran or service member, your life will never be the same. You’ve endured a tragedy that few can comprehend.

Even so, to honor your loved one, take full advantage of the educational assistance available to you as a surviving spouse or child through the VA’s Chapter 35 benefits.

Your life can and will go on. Apply for Chapter 35 Benefits today!

(Image courtesy of David Kay via Shutterstock)

 

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Correspondence Courses & VA Education Benefits

VA Approved Correspondence Education

A Personal Tribute to Correspondence Courses

When I was a young soldier in the mid-1990s, correspondence courses were a big thing. I would go through a large paper catalog, select courses that sounded interesting, and weeks later they would arrive in the mail. 

Once I got those courses, I read the material and took the tests before sending them back to be graded. It was pretty easy and it worked well around my busy schedule as a Soldier. The best part was, completing military correspondence courses awarded promotion points. Needless to say, I did as many courses as I could.

And then, the internet happened. 

I was slow to adopt the opportunities found in a connected society. In fact, I didn’t get an email address until 1999, a Hotmail account, in fact. You can’t even get those anymore, which is probably why I still have mine.

In any case, once the paper correspondence courses were phased out, I looked for other means to get promotion points. I found a flyer in a magazine promoting a school that offered an associate’s degree completely by correspondence. There were only a few subject areas, but getting a degree would grant me a lot of promotion points.

Since I was already used to the correspondence method of learning, I mailed in the flyer. Within months, I was studying for a degree with courses through the mail.

I did not end up finishing that degree, as the Army moved me around and then the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started. It was a challenge to have stuff mailed to me overseas, and some of my tests had not arrived at the school. So, I let the dream of a degree go until I retired many years later.

Correspondence Training & The VA

Believe it or not, in this age of technological advancement, the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence, and thousands of ways to get an education, correspondence courses are still a thing.

Much like the few remaining bookstores that did not get torpedoed by the rise of Amazon, there are still a handful of schools that offer degrees, diplomas, and career certificates completely via correspondence courses.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes that the correspondence methodology may be a good fit for some students, especially those that wish to take classes from home, and they are too far from any institutes of higher learning.

But why not just do courses online like everyone else?

Great question, and there is an answer. When you enroll in online courses at a college or university, you are still held to a timeline for the submission of assignments and the completion of all coursework. For example, my online graduate courses lasted anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks, and there were assignments that were due each week.

In a correspondence setting, a student can work at their own pace, often balancing family and work obligations like online students. However, they do not have the same regimented timeline for the completion of their coursework. In fact, some students can take months to complete one course if that’s all they can do with their schedule.

The fact remains that the correspondence course programs are a viable option for some students who wish to further their education. Not all of us go to college right out of high school. Some of us had to serve in the military to get money for college. And still others are single parents who are working three jobs just to feed their kids.

Are Self-Paced Programs Credible?

When the pandemic forced colleges and universities to embrace online delivery for their classes, it caused a paradigm shift away from the mentality that online learning was substandard to in-person learning. In much the same way, correspondence courses are often seen as sub-par when it comes to the rigidity of the instruction.

But keep in mind, these schools offering correspondence courses undergo the same evaluation and accreditation by the VA as other brick and mortar schools in order for GI Bill benefits to be used at those institutions. So, if they are evaluated in the same way, and they are still approved by the VA, then it stands to reason that there is some value in the education available.

As with most learning paths, you get out what you put into it. If you want to learn and you apply yourself to the subject matter, then you will have positive outcomes regardless of whether you’re an in-person, online, or correspondence student.

Institutions Offering Correspondence Courses

The following institutions are the only ones still in business that offer correspondence programs that are approved by the VA. While I recognize that this list is smaller than in years past, and it may get smaller as time moves forward, these schools and the programs they offer still provide a quality education to some students.

Ashworth College

Founded in 1987, Ashworth started out as a family-owned school offering only one course in Real Estate Appraisal. Now, the school offers associate and bachelor degrees in over 20 subject areas. 

Additionally, Ashworth offers career certificates and diplomas that allow for faster completion in numerous in-demand job fields. They also have a curriculum that allows students to finish high school.

Degrees are available in the following subject areas:

  1. Accounting
  2. Business
  3. Computer Information Systems
  4. Construction Management
  5. Criminal Justice
  6. Early Childhood Education
  7. Healthcare Administration
  8. Paralegal Studies
  9. Psychology
  10. Veterinary Technician

At-Home Professions

Based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, this correspondence school has one offering:

This course of instruction provides training in Healthcare Documentation which can lead to careers in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and any place that requires the processing of medical claims. The program also covers training in the use and employment of Electronic Health Records.

Blackstone Career Institute

Blackstone is considered to be one of the oldest correspondence schools in America, having served students since 1890. Today, it is a private, licensed distance education school that offers affordable and flexible programs.

Specifically for military and veteran students, Blackstone accepts both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills. It is also accredited by the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program, and it was labeled by GI Jobs as a Top Military Friendly School.

Blackstone offers online, self-paced programs in the following career fields:

  • Paralegal
  • Veterinary Assistance
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Medical Billing & Coding
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Home Health Aide
  • Dental Office Assistant
  • Medical Transcription
  • Child Care Provider

One cool thing that separates Blackstone from other correspondence institutions is that they host a Paralegal Program for the Incarcerated. This program allows for inmates to gain valuable and marketable skills in the Paralegal profession while still in prison. This program helps lead to gainful employment once inmates are released back into society.

Modern Gun School

The Modern Gun School is the only VA approved institution that offers instruction in Gunsmithing. They proudly accept both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill programs, and they have been training gunsmiths since 1946.

The MGS offers two programs to those students looking to break into gun repair:

  1. Basic Gun Repair Course
  2. Advanced Gunsmithing Course

In their Advanced Gunsmithing Course, which is it’s most popular among military veterans, students will receive over $300 worth of tools and materials, an FFL Kit, and a number of hands-on projects.

As an added bonus, the Modern Gun School is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). 

National Tax Training School

The National Tax Training School has trained successful income tax preparers for over 60 years. They started out giving lessons by mail and have transitioned to offering interactive courses of instruction to distance students.

National Tax offers two tax training courses:

  1. The Federal Income Tax Course
  2. The Advanced Federal Tax Course

Additionally, National Tax offers an IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Course. Tax return preparers who complete this course are listed in the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers, which is a great credential to have.

The National Tax Training School is also accredited and certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program, and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). 

Penn Foster Career School

Penn Foster has been training students for over 125 years. They offer over 100 self-paced programs for in-demand career fields. They host a College, a Career School, and a High School, to accommodate every level of student and career seeker.

Penn Foster accepts military education benefits, including:

  • The Montgomery GI Bill
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program
  • The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program

Most other correspondence schools only accept the GI Bill, which sets Penn Foster apart from the rest. The school boasts an annual student enrollment of over 300,000 each year.

Penn Foster’s course offering span many of today’s most in-demand career fields, including:

  • Business Programs like Accounting and Business Management
  • Computer and Electronics Programs like IT Support Specialist and Computer Programming
  • Legal Programs like degrees in Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies
  • Healthcare Programs like Pharmacy Technician and Medical Administrative Assistant

These are just a few of the subject areas for which Penn Foster offers 2- and 4-year degrees or certificates.

University of Florida Flexible Learning

The University of Florida has a Flexible Learning Department where students can take courses without even being registered students with UF.

The Flexible Learning Program allows for students to take actual college courses from the university, for credit, which can then be applied to degree programs at the UF or other colleges and universities.

This approach by the University of Florida is unique in that students are taking general education courses a la carte, like math, psychology, and even foreign languages. What makes UF’s approach different from other correspondence programs is that students do not have to select a specific degree or program of study before taking classes, or even at all.

US Career Institute

This correspondence school was founded in California in 1981 as the Notereader Career Institute. Their name changed a couple of times over the years, but in 2005, they settled on the U.S. Career Institute.

The USCI offers career certificates in the healthcare, business, and legal career fields, as well as a high school curriculum.

Furthermore, the school offers self-paced Associate degrees in:

  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Health Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Medical Specialties
  • Social Work

While most of these programs can be completed in under 18 months, USCI proudly allows students to work at their own pace and to complete their degrees on their own timeline. 

VA Pays for Correspondence Training

Now that you know what correspondence training is and which schools offer those programs, how exactly can you use your VA education benefits to pay for them?

The VA states the following when it comes to using your GI Bill benefits for correspondence training:

“We’ll pay you back for the cost of your correspondence training classes if you’re using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at an in-state school. If you’re using other GI Bill programs, we’ll pay you back for 55% of the approved costs.”

So, if you’re planning on using the GI BIll for programs at any of these institutions, you should also be aware of the current payment rates for your reimbursement.

Conclusion

Education is a big deal. Whether your family can afford an ivy league school, or you have to serve in the military to pay for a state school, there are countless paths to getting a degree.

For those students who need a self-paced program, there are options available to you, and they are covered by your VA education benefits.

Don’t delay in getting started on your education!

(Image courtesy of fizkes via Shutterstock)

 

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New Law Guarantees In-State Tuition for Survivors & Dependents

On November 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law legislation that nearly guarantees in-state tuition rates for individuals using the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program.

Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act of 2021 (SB 1095)

This law requires that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disapprove courses at institutions of higher learning that charge a higher rate of tuition and fees than those in-state rates for individuals using the Survivors’ and Dependents Educational Assistance program.

Many colleges and universities have adopted policies granting active service members in-state tuition rates while stationed in various states. This law ensures that those survivors and dependents receiving educational assistance will receive the same benefit.

However, instead of waiting for each state to pass its own version of the law, this legislation directs the VA to disapprove courses at approved institutions who are still charging out-of-state tuition rates to survivors.

What happens when a course is disapproved by the VA?

That’s an excellent question, but the text of the bill does not indicate what will happen if a course required for a program is disapproved.

The implication is that the school will be denied funding for the courses until it charges the correct tuition rate. At which point, it is assumed that the VA will approve the courses.

Even so, there is still time to figure all that out. As of this writing, the VA hasn’t responded to our emails. However, these changes will apply to academic periods that begin on or after August 1, 2022.

So, hopefully we’ll hear something from the VA before that.

Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance (Chapter 35)

This program helps pay for school and job training for approved participants. It applies to children or a spouse of a Veteran or service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities.

You may be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits if at least one of the following is true. The Veteran or service member:

  • Is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability
  • Died while on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected disability
  • Is missing in action (MIA) or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
  • Was forcibly detained in the line of duty by a foreign entity
  • Is hospitalized for a service-connected disability that is permanent and total

Find out more about the eligibility requirements for spouses and dependent children of Veterans or service members who wish to use Chapter 35 assistance.

Next Steps for Using Chapter 35 Under the New Law

If you are eligible for Chapter 35 benefits and you plan to use them on or after August 1, 2022, make sure that you understand the in-state tuition rates for your institution.

You must be aware that not all schools may be tracking these changes, although they should be. If you’re still being charged out-of-state tuition rates after August 2022, let your School Certifying Official know. 

A course disapproval may impact your graduation timeline, but you should take full advantage of in-state tuition rates.

(Image courtesy of Andrey Popov via Shutterstock)

 

Find Scholarships and more for Military and Veterans

 

 

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Top 10 Yellow Ribbon MBA Programs

The Top Yellow Ribbon MBA Schools

To obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) demonstrates professional mastery in the business arena. Many veterans find that transitioning into the business world to be a natural step after the completion of their service to the country.

CollegeRecon has created a list of the top 10 MBA programs for veterans.

RELATED: How to Determine if Business School is Right for You

Choosing the Top 10

There are thousands of colleges in the United States, and sifting through them all is a huge undertaking. The Wall Street Journal 2022 College Ranking List formed the foundation of our analysis. Based on their results, we present to you the best schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Wall Street Journal’s Methodology

The Wall Street Journal’s College Ranking focuses on student success and learning achievement. The WSJ looks for key indicators that illuminate issues related to student engagement, interaction with teachers, and overall satisfaction with their education.

The Wall Street Journal’s methodology encompasses four important areas of analysis:

  1. Resources – “Does the college have the capacity to effectively deliver teaching?”
  2. Engagement – “Does the college effectively engage with students?”
  3. Outcomes – “Does the college generate good and appropriate outputs?”
  4. Environment – Is the college providing a good learning environment for all students?”

The results of their survey helped determine which schools were better than others relating to these key areas. For more information, read the full Wall Street Journal College Rankings 2022 methodology.

RELATED: Vet Success on Campus

CollegeRecon’s Top 10 Yellow Ribbon MBA Schools

After sorting the schools by program, we eliminated the ones that did not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. So, the schools that follow are the top schools, in order of the WSJ ranking, that do participate in this VA program.

#10: Rice University

The Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program at the maximum possible level. To that end, once your Chapter 33 annual cap has been exceeded, Rice Business school covers half the remaining costs with a Yellow Ribbon Scholarship.

This could mean that eligible veterans may have their FULL tuition covered by the Jones School of Business.

Additionally, the university hosts the Rice Business Veterans Association which provides assistance to transitioning veterans and their families.

#9: Washington University in Saint Louis

Each year, Washington University offers 150 graduate business students the max allowable contributions through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Participation is first-come, first-served. So if you intend on using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you must let the school know as early as possible.

Washington University also hosts a Student Veteran Association (SVA) chapter that offers support and assistance for military-connected students. 

Specifically for MBA students, the Olin Veterans Association (OVA) assists the Olin Business School veteran students transition into the business world

#8: Columbia University

Columbia University’s graduate school of Business allows an unlimited number of students to participate in its Yellow Ribbon Program. The maximum contribution amount the school will pay per student is $20,000.

Furthermore, to receive veterans benefits at Columbia, students must submit a Veterans Request for Certification for each term they’d like to receive benefits. This is not an automatic process at Columbia.

The Columbia Business School hosts the Military in Business Association (MiBA) veteran student group. This community offers support to Columbia’s veteran population by providing advocacy and skills development through their network of professionals.

#7: University of Pennsylvania

Penn’s prestigious Wharton School of Business allows for unlimited Yellow Ribbon Program availability for veterans in their MBA program. Additionally, Wharton students can receive up to $20,000 provided by Penn to match their VA contributions.

The VA provided Certificate of Eligibility must be submitted to the School Certifying Official, which is located in the Registrar’s office.

The Wharton Business School is also home to the Veterans Club, which offers community and support to its veteran student population. This is an important aspect of life at Wharton, where only about 5% of the students are veterans.

#6: Cornell University

All degree granting schools at Cornell University voluntarily participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. For graduate students, there is a limit to the number of participants each year.

Veteran students must qualify for a 100% entitlement as demonstrated with their VA Certificate of Eligibility. To notify the school of your Yellow Ribbon eligibility, complete Cornell’s Yellow Ribbon program application.

Cornell University maintains a robust Military Community offering programs and services to military and veteran students.

#5: Northwestern University

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management allows for unlimited participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. It also has a maximum contribution of $18,000.

In addition to accepting every VA educational benefit, Northwestern also accepts the Illinois Veteran Grant and Tuition Assistance.

Moreover, the school hosts the Northwestern University Veterans Association, NUVA, which provides resources and support to its veteran students. Those resources include:

Check out Northwestern’s impressive page for Student Veterans’ Resources.

#4: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School maintains the annual tuition cap of $10,000 for 25 eligible veteran students. The VA will match that $10,000 and apply it towards tuition.

Johns Hopkins eagerly directs their students with information about Scholarships for MBA Students to ensure their successful completion of their MBA program.

The Carey Student Veteran Network is a support group led by students to provide networking support to military and veteran students. The CSVN partners with local organizations like FourBlock, 6th Branch, the Mission Continues, and Team River Runner, to help veteran students transition into academic and professional success.

#3: Brown University

Brown’s annual Yellow Ribbon Program contribution to graduate veteran students is $7,500. This support also extends to spouses and dependents who are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The Brown University Student Veterans Society (BUSVS) has helped foster a supportive veteran community since 2009. The BUSVS plays an integral part of raising awareness for issues faced by veterans in their student community.

Brown University is also home to PAVE, the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education group. This is a peer support program that connects new military-connected students with student veterans already on campus. This approach plugs veteran students into the pipeline of resources and support during their academic journey.

#2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s Sloan School of Management allows 30 students into their Yellow Ribbon Program. Sloan also offers up to $20,000 per student annually in their partnership with the VA.

The MIT Sloan Veterans Club helps veteran business students transition to academic life by offering support and counseling. It also offers access to exclusive networking and job opportunities.

#1: Harvard University

The Harvard Business School grants unlimited Yellow Ribbon access to veteran students in their MBA programs. The maximum contribution, which will also be matched by the VA, is $20,000 per year.

Harvard’s Armed Forces Alumni Association assists student veterans with professional development and job search resources. The club also helps raise awareness for the military-connected students on Harvard’s Business School campus.

From Battlefields to Business

Our nation’s veterans endure tremendous stress during their military service. It is not surprising that many veterans transition into the Business arena, for they have the grit and leadership skills necessary to succeed.

Earning an MBA, especially through any of these superb institutes of higher learning, will distinguish you from others in the business world. The VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program will assist with your education goals.

Get started on the path of your choosing today!

 

(Image courtesy of fizkes via Shutterstock)

 

10 Top Law Schools with Yellow Ribbon Programs

The Top Yellow Ribbon Law Schools

Not all colleges and universities are created equal. While attending college is a dream for most people, choosing where to apply can be a tough challenge.

For this reason, CollegeRecon compiled a list of the top ten law schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) initiative that can extend the duration of GI Bill benefits.

RELATED: Veteran’s Guide for Going to Law School

Choosing the Top 10

There are thousands of colleges in the United States, and sifting through them all is a huge undertaking. The Wall Street Journal 2022 College Ranking List formed the foundation of our analysis. Based on their results, we present to you the best schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Wall Street Journal’s Methodology

The Wall Street Journal’s College Ranking focuses on student success and learning achievement. The WSJ looks for key indicators that illuminate issues related to student engagement, interaction with teachers, and overall satisfaction with their education.

The methodology emcompasses four important areas of analysis:

  1. Resources – “Does the college have the capacity to effectively deliver teaching?”
  2. Engagement – “Does the college effectively engage with students?”
  3. Outcomes – “Does the college generate good and appropriate outputs?”
  4. Environment – Is the college providing a good learning environment for all students?”

The results of their survey helped determine which schools were better than others relating to these key areas. For more information, read the full Wall Street Journal College Rankings 2022 methodology.

RELATED: Vet Success on Campus

CollegeRecon’s Top 10 Yellow Ribbon Law Schools

After sorting the schools by program, we eliminated the ones that did not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. So, the schools that follow are the top schools, in order of the WSJ ranking, that do participate in this VA program.

#10: Michigan State University

The Student Veterans Resource Center at MSU promotes educational and career advancement of military students. MSU ensures that veterans have the resources they need to get a quality education. These include:

  1. Financial Aid application support
  2. Transition services
  3. Career development
  4. Employment and Internship opportunities
  5. VA benefit and health assistance
  6. Space for meetings, studying, and socializing

Additionally, the MSU Disabled Veterans Assistance Program allows for “new and returning veterans with a military related disability who are Michigan residents working on their first baccalaureate degree” to qualify for a full-cost financial aid package without loans.

#9: University of California – Santa Barbara

The UCSB Veteran Resource Center exists to support Veterans in their transition and academically. They will help you apply for education benefits with the VA, find housing for you and your family, and offer general counseling during your academic career.

There is also an active Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter at UCSB. This great Veteran community is an invaluable resource on the path to your degree.

#8: Tulane University

The Student Veterans Services (SVS) office provides veteran students with assistance while attending school. Tulane’s SVS department also acts as a liaison between the student and the regional VA office.

In 2019 Tulane University implemented a requirement that all student veterans using VA education benefits must complete a mandatory Veterans Enrollment Form. A new form is required each semester, and it appears to be in addition to, not a replacement of, other reporting required by the VA.

#7: University of Richmond

This school offers a maximum of $5,000 to each of 25 student veterans for the school year. This is the amount that will be matched by the VA. The funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

For consideration, you must

  • Be accepted into a degree program, AND
  • Submit a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to the School Certifying Official (SCO)

There doesn’t appear to be a specific office for assisting student veterans. The Yellow Ribbon Program contact is from the Registrar’s Office.

#6: University of Wisconsin – Madison

The University Veteran Services (UVS) encourages their student veterans to apply for both the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Wisconsin GI Bill. 

Additionally, UW-Madison has their own Benefit Eligibility Survey that they recommend student veterans take. This survey gathers information and offers specific guidance to the student regarding federal and state benefits that may apply.

You will also need a Certificate of Eligibility to secure a spot in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Space is limited, but it will cover fees for non-resident students eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

#5: University of Miami

The office of Veteran Student Services helps veteran students transition from the service to campus life. The university offers services such as:

  • The UM Counseling Center – offers specific programs  to the veteran student population
  • The Toppel Career Center – offers specific veteran student programs and career advising
  • Academic Resource Center – offers tutoring services
  • Student Health Service – assists with medical and insurance needs

The UM Law School offers a maximum of 15 Yellow Ribbon grants per year. These grants apply to Fall and Spring semesters only.

#4: Boston University

Boston University Veterans Services acts as an intermediary between the university and the VA. Once you are certified, your eligibility will automatically be certified each semester, which is a great benefit.

Boston University accepts 52 Yellow Ribbon Program participants each year, totalling $7,000 each ($3,500 from BU plus $3,500 from the VA). Once all the slots are filled, BU opens a waitlist that is populated chronologically based on when the applications are submitted.

Please note, being placed on the waitlist does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

#3: University of California – Berkeley

UC Berkeley’s Veteran Benefits office is located in the Office of the Registrar. In addition to providing assistance to veteran students and their families, they assist eligible students apply for the California Department of Veterans Affairs College Fee Waiver (Cal Vet) program.

To be eligible as a graduate student, i.e. law school, you must meet basic requirements (undergrad degree and minimum 3.0 GPA). However, there are limited spots in the program, and there are tons of applicants. There are also departmental requirements that must be satisfied.

Check out the Cal Veteran Services Center for graduate students to view their recommendations and requirements.

#2: Northwestern University

Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law allows for unlimited participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. It also has a maximum contribution of $99,999, which is one big reason why Northwestern is at the top of our list.

In addition to accepting every VA educational benefit, Northwestern also accepts the Illinois Veteran Grant and Tuition Assistance.

Moreover, the school hosts the Northwestern University Veterans Association, NUVA, which provides resources and support to its veteran students. Those resources include:

Check out Northwestern’s impressive page for Student Veterans’ Resources.

#1: Harvard University

The Harvard Law School is one of the nation’s most prestigious schools, and it proudly participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program. This allows Harvard to offer additional funding to veterans for tuition and fees that exceed those covered by the GI Bill.

Harvard University has pledged to contribute the maximum amount matched by the Department of Veterans Affairs for all eligible veterans. For more information, check out Harvard’s VA and Military Benefits page.

Law School Within Reach

If you’ve dreamed of becoming a lawyer and legal professional, the schools listed above are the best ones that participate in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program. 

Furthermore, many of these schools offer benefits outside of the VA that can ensure you earn your coveted Juris Doctor or LLM. You can get there by using every benefit available to you!

(Image courtesy of r.classen via Shutterstock)

 

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