Stetson University Scholarships

Stetson University Transfer Scholarship

Stetson University, a Florida university founded in 1883, is offering a full-tuition scholarship for transfer students valued at over $200,000!

Stetson’s Transfer Beyond Scholarship

Stetson created the Transfer Beyond Scholarship to recognize their high-achieving transfer students. The scholarship is a nationally-recognized and highly competitive award that covers full tuition and fees. The duration of the scholarship is 3 years, or until undergraduate graduation, whichever comes first.

Scholarship Application Information

For consideration, potential transfer students must submit the following by April 1, 2022:

  • A completed transfer application with all transcripts from previous institutions
  • A 500 word Transfer Beyond Scholarship Essay

For the essay, you must answer this question: “How am I going beyond expectation?” Here you will define what “going beyond” means to you and should include your examples from any of the following experiences:

  • Participation in community service or civic engagement
  • Outstanding leadership
  • Promoting equity and understanding
  • Work experience
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Recognition in the Arts, Humanities, or Sciences

Interested transfer students should submit the application and essay to Stetson admissions.

Stetson University Scholarships

In addition to the Transfer Beyond Scholarship, Stetson University offers many funding opportunities for deserving students.

J. Ollie Edmunds Distinguished Scholarship

This is a highly competitive academic scholarship that is awarded to students demonstrating top academic and personal leadership potential. It pays all expenses and includes a summer internship stipend between the sophomore and junior year.

For more information, read the J.Ollie Edmunds Distinguished Scholarship info page. 

Legacy Scholarship

For undergraduate students who have a family member that is currently enrolled in or has graduated from any Stetson branch, they are awarded Legacy status and are eligible for this scholarship.

The Legacy Scholarship awards $1,000 per academic year, and it is offered for 4 years or until graduation. Eligible students must apply and be accepted before February each year, and they are only eligible to apply before their first semester at Stetson University.

Student Life Scholarships

The Student Life Scholarships that are offered to first-year and transfer students from different Student Life departments around the campus. Students must apply for each of the different scholarships for which they are eligible.

Global Citizen Scholarship

The Global Citizen Scholarship is awarded to academically superior international undergraduate students. It pays full tuition for four years for top-performing students who display characteristics of a global citizen.

Donor-Funded Scholarships

Eligible students can receive scholarships that are made possible by alumni and friends of Stetson University. An endowed scholarship establishes a connection between the scholar and the donor, so it is likely that students will correspond with Stetson alumni. Submit your general application by May 15th for consideration.


>> For more scholarships for military, veterans, spouses and dependents, please use the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Stetson University hosts a number of merit-based scholarships for exemplary first-year and transfer students. They cover up to eight semesters and can award up to $31,000 annually. The top 3 scholarships in this category are:

  1. The Presidential Scholarship (up to $31,000)
  2. The Dean’s Scholarship (up to $28,000)
  3. Opportunity Scholarship (up to $22,000)

The admissions committee determines eligibility, and they are awarded to students with records of strong academic achievement.

Bright Futures Scholarship

State scholarship funding is available to qualified Florida high school graduates. There are two levels of the Bright Futures Scholarship:

  • Florida Academic Scholar
  • Florida Medallion Scholar

For more information, read about the Bright Futures scholarship opportunities.

Talent Scholarships

For students with exceptional talent in various categories, Stetson University has the following scholarship opportunities available:

  • Music – for music majors and minors. See the music admissions page for more information.
  • Athletics – the athletic scholarships are highly competitive and are available for a variety of sports. Contact Stetson’s Department of Athletics for more information.
  • ROTC – Stetson offers ROTC Scholarships to students participating in their ROTC program.
  • Sullivan Writing Scholarship – helps students with strong creative writing skills attend Stetson. The award ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 annually.
  • Lawson Scholarship – For students in Philosophy or related majors, this scholarship pays up to $6,250 annually.
  • Stetson Environmental Sustainability Fellowship Scholarship – this award is “designed to enhance the way Stetson lives our values and to assist in recruiting and retaining the best-fit students for Stetson.”
  • Dr. Richard Libby Endowed Shooting Scholarship – is awarded to high school and college students who have a demonstrated aptitude and performance in shooting sports. It awards $1,000 per year. Find more information on the Stetson University Scholarships page.
  • LaValle Scholarship – is awarded to arts students majoring in a Creative Arts discipline, like Studio Art, Art History, Digital Arts, or Theater Arts. Portfolio submissions are required.

Service Scholarships

The Bonner Scholarship

This award is funded through a partnership between Stetson University and the Bonner Foundation. Candidates for this scholarship will have a demonstrable history of involvement and leadership in areas like social justice, poverty, education, homelessness, and civil rights.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholars Program

This scholarship program is a need-based program allowing young women the opportunity to complete their education. Through a work/service requirement, the Whitehead Scholars Program’s goal is to make college education accessible to students from various social and economic backgrounds. Read more about the Whitehead Scholarship.

Study Abroad & Other Scholarships

Stetson University hosts many study-abroad scholarships. For most of them, there is one Application for Stetson Study Abroad Scholarships.

The Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship program offers eligible students a grant for international study. This is not a Stetson-specific program, so the application is separate from Stetson’s other study abroad programs.

The Horatio Alger Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded to individuals who have succeeded despite adversity. Recipients are awarded based on their commitment to supporting young people pursuing opportunities through higher education.

Opportunities at Stetson University

It does not matter what your passions, talents, and interests are. There is a program that can help you fund your education and get you closer to your dream career.
Please do not hesitate to apply for any of these grants and scholarships. Application windows will open and close regularly throughout the year, so make sure you track the dates for the funding opportunity that interests you.


>> For more scholarships for military, veterans, spouses and dependents, please use the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder.


GI Bill Extension: The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

If you are pursuing higher education in an in-demand technical field, you may qualify for an extension of your federal military education benefits thanks to a program called the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship. Technically speaking, this isn’t so much an extension of the GI Bill as it is a program meant to enhance it.

It is a scholarship, not a federal benefits program, and is used to provide additional funds to veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill for undergraduate STEM coursework.

Qualifying for the Rogers STEM Scholarship

Veterans and Fry scholars may qualify for this scholarship if enrolled in a “qualifying dual-degree program” or when the applicant has “a post-secondary degree or a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field” and wants to participate in a clinical training program. Those with a post-secondary degree in a STEM field who need teaching certification may also apply.

Approved Programs for the Rogers STEM Scholarship

The full list of approved programs is extensive; this is a small selection from that list to give you an idea of the options:

  • Agriculture science
  • Natural resources science
  • Biological science
  • Biomedical science
  • Computer services
  • Information science and support services
  • Engineering
  • Engineering technologies or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or a health-care-related field
  • Mathematics
  • Undergraduate medical residency
  • Physical science

You can browse the full list of eligible STEM degree programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs official site.

Rogers STEM Scholarship Benefits

When approved for the STEM Scholarship, you may qualify for up to 9 months of added benefits or $30,000, whichever comes first. According to, monthly benefits are the same as “the amount you received through the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship.”

STEM Scholarship Program Yellow Ribbon Options

Be advised that STEM scholarships do not allow the use of Yellow Ribbon program funds.

Transferring STEM Scholarship Benefits to a Spouse or Dependent

STEM scholarship benefits are not transferrable in any way.

STEM Scholarship Requirements for Undergrad STEM or Dual-Degree Programs

To be eligible for the STEM Scholarship in such cases, you must be in a STEM degree program for 120 standard semester credit hours, you must have completed at least 60 standard credit hours, and you must have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits remaining.

STEM Scholarship Requirements for Those in Clinical Training Programs

To qualify, you must have a STEM degree, have been accepted into a clinical training program, and you have 6 months or less remaining on any Fry Scholarship or GI Bill program.

Related: Using the GI Bill for On-The-Job Training

STEM Scholarship Requirements When Studying for a Teaching Certification

All of the following must apply: you have a post-secondary degree in a STEM field, are in a teaching certification program, with 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill, or Fry Scholarship benefits remaining.


Find the Edith Nourse and other STEM Scholarships!


How to apply for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

Apply online at the VA official site. This is a 15-minute process, and it is best to have more uninterrupted time to complete your application in case you experience problems or have questions. Once the VA approves a STEM application, it notifies the recipient by mail with a formal notification letter and a copy of the applicant’s VA Certificate of Eligibility. You will also be formally notified if you were not approved for the STEM scholarship program.

Apply for the STEM Scholarship

Related: Can I Use the GI Bill to Buy a House?



When Your School Closes: The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act

The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School Credit Act was signed into law in late December 2022. This legislation was created to help students attending school on the GI Bill and other VA education benefits in cases where the school closes or is disapproved for VA programs.

How the VETS Credit Act Works

The bill addresses a serious issue–before the VETS Credit Act, students using GI Bill or other VA education benefits to pay for school faced a dilemma in cases where the school they chose is closing or has been disapproved under the GI Bill program.

In such cases, those who wanted to transfer less than 12 credits from these schools had to choose between either transferring the credit or having their VA education benefits restored as if they had not taken classes.

The student was forced to choose one or the other. But the VETS Credit Act changes the equation, adding more choices for the student.

Which programs are affected by the VETS Credit Act?

  • Post- 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33
  • Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
  • Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (Chapter 32)
  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 30)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program (Chapter 35)

Learn more: Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide

Transferring College Credits Under the VETS Credit Act

The Act pertains specifically to students using one of the programs listed above who are trying to transfer earned college credits after their school announces a shutdown or the institution is no longer participating in the GI Bill program.

The student has the option of transferring any college credits to a new program, assuming the new school accepts them.

But what happens to the student’s GI Bill entitlement? That depends on whether the student chooses to transfer credits from the closing school–and how many.

Under VETS, the VA requires students to choose–and formally declare–whether to transfer credits. The amount you choose helps the VA determine how much GI Bill entitlement to restore.

  • Students transferring less than 12 credits from a closed/disapproved school may qualify to have 100% GI Bill entitlement restored for use at a new school;
  • Students transferring more than 12 credits from the closing/disapproved school are not entitled to have full GI Bill entitlement restored.

When a student certifies in writing with the Department of Veterans Affairs that they are not transferring more than 12 credits, the VA accepts this as proof–this is all that’s required for the VA to accept that the requirement is met.

In return, the Department of Veterans Affairs issues the student a new VA Certificate of Eligibility showing they have been restored to 100% entitlement for their VA education benefit.

Those transferring more than 12 credit hours will not be awarded restoration of 100% entitlement.

While no official source appears to have gone on the record stating such, this legislation seems to imply that where college credit has already been earned and accepted by another college or university, the GI Bill or other VA benefit has not gone to waste and therefore does not need to be restored.

Another clause in the VETS Credit Act removes a previous requirement that a servicemember transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement to a dependent indicate a specific amount of time for the transfer to last. Under the new law, you may no longer be required to specify an end date for transferred GI Bill benefits.

How To Apply For GI Bill Restoration

Use VA Form 22-0989 Education Benefit Entitlement Restoration Request Due to School Closure or Withdrawal to apply for restoration of VA education benefits at a school that has permanently closed or had its approval to receive VA benefits withdrawn.

According to, the VA can restore entitlement “only for the period of enrollment in which you did not receive credit (or in which you lost training time).

Generally, this means that entitlement can only be restored for the single term you were enrolled in when your program was suspended, your school closed temporarily or permanently, or lost its approval to receive VA benefits”

That said, there are exceptions. notes, “For any affected enrollment between August 1, 2021, to September 30, 2023, VA is able to restore entitlement for the entire program of education, not just the last term, quarter or semester if you were not able to transfer at least 12 credits to a new school.”

Claims for this temporary provision must be received after enrollment at the new school and on or before September 30, 2023.

Why the VETS Credit Act was Necessary

Using the GI Bill and related options for college becomes more complicated when your selected school closes. How many credit hours were earned before the closure and will another school accept some or all of those credits? Just as importantly, how much GI Bill entitlement remains to use at a new school?

Anyone who has transferred from one school to another knows that a college isn’t obligated to accept all or even some of your past credits–the college will decide what applies and what does not. In some cases, a student may not transfer credits at all. The VETS Credit Act is designed to help these students make a fresh start where needed.

Learn more: Veteran Education Benefits Guide

Planning Your Next Move

Another way VETS can help? Planning. Not knowing whether you will have full entitlement or only a partial amount (based on your previous school attendance while using the GI Bill) can make budgeting for your college expenses and budget much more difficult.

The Act provides some added certainty in these cases. Knowing you can transfer less than 12 credits to a new institution of higher learning AND get your GI Bill restored to 100% is a lot of peace of mind when planning your next move.

And if you have to find alternative ways to fund your education, you can get a headstart if you already know you need to transfer more than 12 credits from the old school.

Knowing the credits you have already earned may transfer means you didn’t waste your time at the original school–the thought of having to start all over and repeat some of the same classes you took at the other school won’t be a problem should you choose to transfer those credits.

What To Know About the VETS Credit Act

VETS requires you to decide whether to transfer college credits to a new school as part of the VA education benefits restoration process. In some cases the restoration of entitlement may be automatic.

According to, if the closure or disapproval happened after August 1, 2021, “to receive restoration of entitlement for your entire program, you must first enroll at a new school or training institution and have them evaluate how much credit they will accept. Once the evaluation is complete, VA can determine how much entitlement may be restored.”

If you aren’t sure how these rules apply to you, contact the VA directly or speak to a school admissions representative.


Post 9/11 GI Bill Guide For Spouses and Dependents

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a military education benefit dependents and spouses can have transferred to them by an active duty parent or spouse to use to get a college degree, certification, or license through an approved program.

How can spouses and college-age dependents (military-speak for the children of the military member) access this important military benefit?

Who Qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The servicemember qualifies if at least one of the following applies:

  • The veteran served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001.
  • The veteran was awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and received an Honorable discharge.
  • The veteran served for at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and was honorably discharged with a service-connected disability.

The spouse or college-age children of a veteran who meets the above requirements may be eligible to use the servicemember’s GI Bill benefits, but only if they have been transferred.

Transferring GI Bill Benefits To A Spouse Or Dependent

As mentioned above, spouses and dependents do not automatically have access to GI Bill benefits.

They must be transferred, and that requires a specific process. The short description of this process–the servicemember must be on active duty to transfer GI Bill benefits, and they must agree to re-enlist or to extend a military service commitment as a condition of the transfer.

Learn more: How to Transfer Your GI Bill Benefits to a Spouse or Dependent

GI Bill Transfer Options: The Montgomery GI Bill

Some read about the ability to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to spouses or dependents and want to know if a similar option is available with the Montgomery GI Bill or the selected Reserve version of it.

The short answer is no, you cannot transfer Montgomery GI Bill benefits to a spouse or dependents.

Related: How to Transfer from the Montgomery to Post-9/11 GI Bill

Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits for Spouses and Dependents

Spouses and dependents may qualify for 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. This does not include any additional benefits that may be available through other VA programs for spouses and dependents such as the Fry Scholarship. Those other programs may offer additional education benefits or offer an alternative to the GI Bill.

What the Post-9/11 GI Bill Covers For Military Spouses and Dependents

Those who have had Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to them may qualify for the following benefits:

  • Full coverage of tuition and fees: Those who qualify for the maximum benefit can have 100% of the cost of in-state tuition and fees at public schools. The benefit is capped by the VA for private and foreign schools.
    A housing allowance: if you attend more than half-time, you may qualify for a housing allowance equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) offered to an E5 with dependents. The BAH rate is set for the zip code where you attend the majority of your classes.
  • Books and supplies stipend: You may qualify for a VA payment to offset the cost of books and school supplies.
  • The VA “Rural Benefit”: Some students may qualify for a one-time VA payment if they resided in a county with 6 or fewer people per square mile AND are moving at least 500 miles to attend class or “have no other option but to fly by plane to get to your school” to start your education.

Learn More: GI Bill BAH Rate Calculator

The GI Bill Housing Allowance

Those attending school using transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits may qualify for a housing stipend based on the service member’s eligibility.

If the service member has full GI Bill eligibility (based on time in service and other factors) you may qualify for 100% of the housing benefit. But the rate of payment of that housing benefit depends on whether you attend full or part-time and whether you attend in-person, online, or a combination of both.

Your housing allowance is based on the zip code where you physically attend most of your classes. It is not necessarily based on the zip code of your primary residence.

How to Use Transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

You can use Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for undergraduate or graduate studies. You can use these benefits to take distance learning, online classes, and in some cases you may be able to qualify for tutoring, work-study, or co-op training. In some cases, you may be able to use the GI Bill to offset testing fees.

You may also use GI Bill benefits for other programs including:

  • Vocational/technical training
  • Non-college degree programs
  • Veterans technology education courses (VET TEC)
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeships
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Flight training

Expiration Dates For Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

GI Bill benefits may expire depending on when the servicemember departed active duty. Those who left military service before 2013 and their spouse/dependents have 15 years to use GI Bill benefits once they have either retired from the military or separated without retiring.

Those who left active service on or after January 1, 2013, do NOT have an expiration date on their GI Bill benefits.

What To Know Before Applying For Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The service member must initiate a transfer of benefits before a spouse, son, or daughter may apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Those who are on active duty or in the Guard/Reserve are allowed to apply to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if all requirements below are met:

  • The servicemember completed six years or more of qualifying service on the date the transfer request is approved.
  • The servicemember agrees to a four-year service commitment as a condition of approval.
  • The person the servicemember is transferring benefits to is enrolled in DEERS.

If a spouse or dependent is not in DEERS, this must be done before a benefits transfer can be applied for.

Applying For Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

When applying for GI Bill benefits you will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Bank account direct deposit
  • Education history
  • Military history
  • Basic information about the school you want to attend where applicable

Before you apply, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with your chosen school’s admissions department or the VA official representing that institution.

You’ll want to know if the school is VA-approved, whether it participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and whether there are any additional state-level or school-level veteran education benefits you should consider applying for in addition to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a GI Bill comparison tool on its official site you can use to compare your options and military education benefits at schools across the United States.

If Your School Closes or is Removed From the VA Approved List

Did you know that if your school closes or is no longer approved for VA education assistance programs, you may have recourse thanks to legislation such as the VETS Credit Act, which allows students to apply for a restoration of 100% VA education benefits under certain circumstances?

In typical cases, you may be required to apply to a new school and have that school agree to accept transfer credits before the VA will consider restoration of your entitlement. This assumes the student wants to transfer credits; some may not. In such cases, the VA may approve the restoration of your entitlement.

Those who choose to transfer credits are approved for full restoration of VA education benefits if they transfer fewer than 12 credit hours and certify to such in writing with the VA. Those who choose to transfer more than 12 credits will not have their benefit restored to 100%.

Why? The student used the benefit and received the credit and it’s likely that in the eyes of the Department of Veterans Affairs that this meets the spirit and the letter of VA education benefit rules. Talk to a VA rep or a school admissions advisor if you aren’t sure how these rules may apply to you.

Read more: When Your School Closes: The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act

Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an education benefit to veterans called VEAP. the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program. Qualifying veterans may be eligible for a 2-to-1 matching contribution from the government for education benefits. This program offers money for tuition and certain fees for VA-approved programs.

Depending on the amount of the student’s VEAP contributions, up to 36 months of VEAP benefits may be available.

What VEAP Offers

VEAP can help you pay for:

  • Undergraduate and graduate degree programs
  • Flight training
  • On-the-job training and apprenticeships
  • Co-op training
  • Non-college degree programs (technical or vocational courses)
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Correspondence training
  • Test fees

In limited cases, VEAP funds may be allowed for remedial classes, “deficiency” classes, and refresher courses.

When using VEAP, students typically have 10 years (from their date of discharge) to use the program or they will have their VEAP contributions refunded. Furthermore, you can request a refund if you have contributed funds to VEAP but don’t qualify or if you change your mind about the program.

How To Apply To Use VEAP

The VA official site has forms and instructions you can use to apply for your VEAP benefits(see below). But there is no way to sign up for VEAP itself if you have not contributed to the program already.

VEAP was closed to new accounts in 1987, and today the application forms and instructions found at are specifically for those who have already made VEAP contributions and want to claim their benefit.

Apply to use your VEAP benefits via the Department of Veterans Affairs official site using an Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990) online. If you are applying on active duty, contact your base Education Services Officer to have your VEAP enrollment approved.

Applicants not on active duty at application time should send a copy of DD Form 214, your proof of military discharge.

How VEAP Contributions are Paid

Active duty military members who signed up for VEAP when enrollment was open were required to make contributions to the VEAP fund, which the military matched two-for-one. The service member’s contribution could be paid in a lump sum, or paid monthly by allotment.

  • Service member’s maximum contribution: $2,700
  • Government maximum contribution: $5,400
  • Total entitlement: $8,100

Applying for a VEAP Refund

You may request a refund by filling out VA Form 22-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions. When your form is complete, submit it to the nearest VA regional office.

Who Qualifies for VEAP

All of the following must be true to qualify:

  • You entered military service between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985, for services except for the Air Force(see below), and;
  • You contributed money to your VEAP account before April 1, 1987, and;
  • You put in up to $2,700 of your own money, and;
  • You completed your first full term of service, and;
  • You did not receive a dishonorable discharge

Air Force personnel must meet the following requirements:

  • You entered service for the first time between December 1, 1980, and September 30, 1981, and
  • You workers in one of these Air Force career fields: 20723, 20731, 20830, 46130, 46230A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, or Z, 46430, or 81130, and
  • You enlisted in Beckley, WV; Buffalo, NY; Dallas; Fargo, ND; Houston; Jackson, MS; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Omaha, NB; Philadelphia; Seattle; Sioux Falls, SD; or Syracuse, NY

For those currently serving on active duty, the VA official site advises that you must have three months of contributions in order to use VEAP.

Enrollment Verification Requirement

You are required to verify enrollment to continue using VEAP. The Department of Veterans Affairs advises students to, “Ask your school or training official to verify your enrollment with us. We’ll review your application and let you know if we need anything else.”

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship is an option for qualifying veterans and dependent family members who are also eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Fry Scholarship.

This is a Department of Veterans Affairs education benefit offering up to nine months or $30 thousand in benefits related to getting degrees in a STEM field. This is a non-transferable benefit, unlike the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You are typically unable to use the Rogers funds along with Yellow Ribbon funding.

Read more: How to Transfer Your Post 9/11 GI Bill to a Spouse or Dependent

Who Qualifies for a Rogers STEM Scholarship?

You may qualify for the Rogers STEM scholarship if at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You are currently in an undergraduate STEM degree program, OR;
  • You are in a qualifying dual-degree program, OR;
  • You are enrolled in a clinical training program for healthcare professionals, OR;
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in a STEM degree field and are now completing teacher certification.

Just because you qualify does not automatically mean you are approved for the program. Some applicants have priority placement including applicants who are 100% eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and who require “the most credit hours compared to other applicants” according to

Read more: GI Bill Eligibility Percentages Explained

Overseas and Private Schools

This program may accept students at overseas or private institutions, advises, “Chapter 33 rates for private or foreign schools apply to the STEM scholarship as well.”

Rogers STEM scholarship applications are typically processed (according to the VA) in approximately 30 days. You will be notified of approval or denial by mail; if approved, you must take your Certificate of Eligibility for the Rogers STEM Scholarship to your college’s registrar.

Apply for the STEM Scholarship at

Types of Degrees/Subjects You May Pursue With a STEM Scholarship

  • Agriculture science
  • Natural resources science
  • Biological science
  • Biomedical science
  • Computer and information science
  • Computer information support services
  • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or a health-care-related field
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Medical residency (undergraduate only)
  • Physical science
  • Science technologies
  • Science technicians

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a complete list of eligible STEM programs for download as a PDF.

Applicants in an Undergraduate STEM Program or Dual-Qualifying Program

To qualify for a Rogers Scholarship under this category:

  • You must be enrolled in a qualifying undergraduate STEM degree program with at least 120 standard semester credit hours or 180 quarter credit hours to complete.
  • You have completed at least 60 standard credit hours or 90 quarter credit hours toward a qualifying degree.
  • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship remaining.
  • You are not in a graduate degree program.

Learn more: Check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits

Applicants enrolled in a Clinical Training Program

All of these must be true to qualify for a Rogers STEM Scholarship:

  • You have a qualifying degree in a STEM field.
  • You’ve been accepted or are enrolled in a covered clinical training program.
  • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits remaining.

Applicants Working toward a Teaching Certification

Similar to the requirements listed above for other statuses, all of the following must apply:

  • You have a qualifying post-secondary degree in a STEM field.
  • You have been accepted or are enrolled in a teaching certification program.
  • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship remaining.

School admission policies and VA regulations are subject to change. Before committing to an academic course of action, it’s a good idea to discuss your VA benefits with an admissions counselor or campus veteran’s representative.

Hip Pocket Scholarships: 2-Year, 3-Year, and 4-Year

Army’s Green to Gold ROTC Hip Pocket Program

If you are in the Army, you may be looking for a way to move forward in your career. The Army’s Hip Pocket Scholarships are one way to do so. Here is a little bit of information about what they are and who is able to get them.

What Are the Hip Pocket Scholarships?

Hip Pocket Scholarships provide selected soldiers the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate degree requirements and obtain a commission through participation in the Army ROTC Scholarship Program. 

Their mission statement is, “The Green to Gold Scholarship Program is a program that provides eligible, Regular Army (RA) Enlisted Soldiers an opportunity to complete their first Baccalaureate degree or their first Master’s degree. Upon the successful completion of their degree program, the Soldier is commissioned as an Officer in the US Army in either the Active or Reserve component.”

Each year division commanders may nominate deserving soldiers for two, three, or four-year Green to Gold scholarships. 

What Is the Process?

After a soldier applies, there is a two-part process, the Selection phase and the Qualification phase. Within the Selection phase, they would need to be verified by a board. The board is made up of eight Professors of Military Science (PMS) and two Senior Enlisted Advisors. They review completed applications. Selections are based on the Scholar, Athlete, Leader (SAL) concept.

In the Qualification phase, the soldier must be administratively and medically qualified. The soldier needs to upload all of their required documents in order to be qualified administratively.  In order to be medically qualified, the soldier would need to be cleared by the Department of Defense Medical Evaluations Review Board.

Who Can Qualify for the Hip Pocket Scholarship?

Students must be full-time, taking a minimum of 4 (3 for a master’s degree) and a maximum of 6 classes per semester. 75% of scheduled classes need to be taken in a classroom environment.

Some of the qualifications include being a US citizen, being eligible for appointment as a commissioned officer in the US Army, being under 31 years of age as of December 31st of the year of graduation and completing all requirements for commission, and having completed less than 10 years of Active Federal Service. You can find the full list of eligibility requirements here.

Who Doesn’t Qualify?

Not everyone who wants this scholarship will qualify. For example, if a soldier will not be a member of the regular Army on June 1st of the year in which the scholarship starts and/or are not eligible to reenlist, they won’t qualify. A soldier who isn’t married and has one or more dependents under the age of 18 also won’t qualify, but they might be able to get a waiver. You can find the full list of what makes you ineligible here.

What Does the Scholarship Cover?

  • Provides financial assistance toward college tuition and educational fees or room and board. The student is able to choose which.
  • There is a flat rate for textbooks, classroom supplies, and equipment.
  • There is a tax-free subsistence allowance of an annually published amount per month for up to 10 months a school year.
  • Students are paid while attending the Cadet Summer Training (CST).
  • Keep in mind it does not cover the expense of moving.

What Will I Be Expected to Do if I Get the Scholarship?

There is an eight-year service obligation upon commissioning if you get this scholarship.

How Do I Apply for an Army Hip Pocket Scholarship?

The application window opens in June. Applications are due in November, and those moving to phase two will be notified in late January. To apply, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the button that says, “TAKE THE NEXT STEP: CREATE AN ACCOUNT,” to get started.



VA Form 22-5490 Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits Step-By-Step Guide

This is a step-by-step guide to filling out VA Form 22-5490, Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits. This is the form required for both dependents and spouses to apply for Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or the Chapter 33 Fry Scholarship.

Read More: Survivors and Dependents’ VA Education Benefits

Read More: The John D. Fry Scholarship for Surviving Children and Spouses

This is NOT a guide on how to apply for the GI Bill, VET TEC, or how to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent or spouse. For those instructions, please refer to our other guides:

How To Apply For The Post 9/11 GI Bill

How To Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Course (VET TEC)

Servicemembers are advised not to use this form to apply for education benefits “based on your own service” such as the GI Bill or Veterans Readiness and Employment benefits (Chapter 31). To apply for veteran education benefits based on your own service, use VA Form 22-1990 and to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, use VA Form 28-1900.

About Terms Used In This Guide

The terms used in this guide are those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Terms like “dependent” and “sponsor” are found on the VA forms. Know that in typical cases a “dependent” is someone who is not the servicemember, but who is a member of the service member’s immediate family. A “sponsor” is another term for the military member or veteran.

Getting Started

The first thing you should do is to download VA Form 22-5490. This form asks you to provide information about the military member’s service, about the type of education you seek, and you will need to provide financial data (see below). You will also need signatures from both the dependent or spouse plus the parent/guardian where applicable.

Gather Documents And Information For Your Application

What do you need to provide besides the VA form (see below) when you begin the application process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start on working your claim. They include:

  • Social Security number.
  • Bank account direct deposit information including routing number and account number.
  • Education and military history.
  • Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).



Provide your SSN in the field provided. Failure to provide the SSN may result in your application being denied.


The Department of Veterans Affairs requires a binary answer for this form. Select MALE or FEMALE.


Enter your full date of birth using the format provided on the form.

  1. NAME

Enter your FULL LEGAL NAME. This form requires you to use the legal name that is on your government-issued ID. If you are in the process of changing your name, know that you are required to use whatever name or identity is currently shown on your government-issued photo ID.


Include all information including zip code.


List both home and mobile numbers where applicable, including Area Code.


Enter an email address you check frequently for best results.


You must not only fill out the fields for the routing number and account number but you will also be required to submit a voided check for use in setting up your Direct Deposit. You must indicate whether the account is checking or savings.



Include the full legal first name, middle initial, last name. The qualifying individual is the servicemember.


It’s best to indicate on the form which number you are submitting.


Enter the branch of military service in the field provided.


Enter the date of birth of the qualifying military member in the field provided.


Check Yes or No for this box if you are a child or spouse of an active duty service member or a member of the Selected Reserve and the servicemember died in the line of duty.


This field does not apply to all applicants, but if it applies to you, enter the date in the format indicated on the form.


If the answer is NO, the applicant does not qualify for a Fry Scholarship. If the answer is YES, complete item 13D.


Enter the date of death of the qualifying service member in the field provided.


Answer YES or NO.


Answer YES or NO. The VA advises that applicants are not eligible to receive benefits “for any period for which you or the qualifying individual on whose account you are claiming benefits has an outstanding felony warrant”.



Select the appropriate box for surviving spouses or dependent school-age children.



The VA advises that this date “will be verified against information entered on VA Form 21-686c, Application Request to Add And/Or Remove Dependents”.

Read More: VA Benefits: How To Add Or Remove Dependents With VA Form 21-686c


Answer YES or NO.


Answer YES or NO, but if YES, include the official date of remarriage.


This portion is more complex than most of the rest of the form. You will need to select between the Fry Scholarship and VA DEA benefits. You will select one of two choices (A and B) but your selection of benefits in this case is IRREVERSIBLE and you will need to carefully review your options before committing.


Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.


Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.



Select A or B, but know that when you choose, it is irreversible.


Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011 may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. Applicants eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits who would like to use the Chapter 35 benefit first should select Option A.


Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. If you are eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits and you would like to use the Chapter 33 benefit first, use Option B.

Important note: The Department of Veterans Affairs advises that those who choose Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or Chapter 33 Post-9/11 Fry Scholarship instead of “payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation” is final and cannot be changed. For applicants 18 or older, payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation (DIC) will end when approved for a DEA or Fry Scholarship.


Choose YES or NO.



If you do not know the date, skip this question. Otherwise fill in with the starting date your school has provided.


Select ONE answer from the list below:

  • CORRESPONDENCE COURSE (Fry Scholarship and DEA – Spouses only)
  • FLIGHT TRAINING (Fry Scholarship only)

Be sure to include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.


The VA asks for examples here such as seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Welding Certificate, Police Officer training, etc.


Choose YES or NO.


Choose YES or NO.


Choose YES or NO.



Check all boxes which apply below:






Select one option below:



G. OTHER (Specify benefits)

Important note: Only complete items 28 and 29 below if you selected box E above.


Enter the full legal First, Middle, and Last name.


Enter the full legal name as above.       



Choose YES or NO. If NO, skip to Part VII


Include the following information in the boxes provided:

  1. Date entered active duty
  2. Date separated from active duty
  3. Branch of service or Guard/Reserve component
  4. Character of discharge




Select from the following:

  1. DATE (Enter in MM/DD/YYYY format. Presumably this is the date of graduation, award of a GED, or the date when the applicant discontinued high school. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide any additional notes or guidance on this Date entry. )

Fill in the relevant details for each applicable school including:

34B. NAME AND LOCATION OF SCHOOL including both city and state

34C. DATES OF TRAINING including stop and start date






Fill in the following boxes with the following information:


NOTE: Only complete items 36A and 36B if you are a civilian employee of the federal government.


Answer YES or NO but if YES, complete Item 36B.


Fill in any details you have about your current educational benefits as a government employee.




Use this space to add any relevant information about your application. If you need additional space, you can attach your remarks on a separate piece of paper but be sure to include your name and Social Security Number on each separate page.


This space was designed to help you include all relevant information before you submit your application.


  • ATTACH SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (e.g., birth certificate, marriage license, DD214, etc.)



This section is informational only. No personal data is needed here.


I CERTIFY THAT all statements in my application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.


Sign your full legal name as it appears on your government-issued ID card or license. You must be at least 18 years of age to legally sign this form. If under 18, your parent, guardian or custodian must complete and sign in Part X.


Enter the date when the form is completed.

PENALTY: Willfully false statements as to a material fact in a claim for education benefits is a punishable offense and may result in the forfeiture of these or other benefits and in criminal penalties.


This section must be completed by the parent, guardian, or custodian if the applicant is a minor.


Include the full legal name of the person signing the form as it appears on their government-issued ID card or license.


Include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.


Include the area code.


Include this information where applicable.


Check the box provided IF the applicant is under the age of 18.


Enter the date of the signature in 42A.

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.




The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

What to know about the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Receiving a Federal Pell Grant for your education can be an excellent way to help lower your college costs, however, not everyone qualifies for this type of financial aid. This is where the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant can come into play. This grant is a Title IV grant for dependents of service members who died in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. Here is what you need to know.

Who is eligible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant?

To be eligible you must not be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant on the basis of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), but you do meet the remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements.

Pell Grant Eligibility – Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree.  There are some cases where a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might be able to receive a Federal Pell Grant.  You can read more about the Pell Grant at Pell Grant: Everything You Need to Know on College Recon.

In addition, to be eligible your parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.

You also will need to be under 24 years of age or be enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of your parent or guardian’s death.

How do you apply for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant?

In order to apply for this grant, you will need to submit a FAFSA form and do this for every year you are in school. Your school, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, will determine your eligibility for the grant.

How much is the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant?

The amount of the grant is equal to the amount of a max Federal Pell Grant for the award year, but it also can’t exceed the cost of attendance for the year. Meaning, that you won’t be getting extra money if your school doesn’t cost the maximum amount. For the 2022-2023 school year, the amount is $6,895.

It is important to note that due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, the 2021-2022 Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant that is first disbursed on or after October 1, 2021, and before October 1st, 2022, is reduced by 5.7%. The amount for the 2021-2022 school year is $6,495.

How do you receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant?

You would receive payment like you would with the Pell Grant. The exact date depends on your school and that varies. Some give out the money more quickly than others.

When can you no longer get the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant?

Once you earn a baccalaureate degree or your first professional degree or if you have used up all 12 semesters of your eligibility, you can no longer receive the grant.

You can read more about this grant on the Federal Student Aid website.






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.





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!





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:


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!


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!






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!






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!



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.

These changes will apply to academic periods that begin on or after August 1, 2022.

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






There is a New Update to MyCAA

The NDAA 21’ expands the Department of Defense MyCAA scholarship

MyCAA has been around since 2010, and there have been several changes along the way. From who can qualify for the program to what you can use MyCAA for. MyCAA, which stands for My Career Advancement Account, is a scholarship that provides military spouses with $4,000 to pursue their education. MyCAA is offered through the DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. 

The Fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act expands the MyCAA scholarship. This update will allow military spouses to use MyCAA for national testing and certain continuing education credits. Military spouses will now be able to use MyCAA for continuing education credits and for national testing by the end of September. 

“These latest additions to the MyCAA Scholarship provide even greater opportunities and increased flexibility for military spouses to meet their education requirements,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Patricia “Patty” Montes Barron. “This expansion will help clear a new path for military spouses to advance in their careers while contributing to the financial stability of their families.”

The FY20 National Defense Authorization Act also expanded the MyCAA by opening up the program so that military spouses can pursue any license, certification, or associate’s degree to pursue any occupation or career.

In order to qualify for the MyCAA program, military spouses will need to be married to a service member in the pay grades of either E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2.

Military spouses, school, and a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) career coach will need to work together to define a clear career path for the military spouse. This plan is called an education and training plan and it will need to be completed in order to receive the funds from MyCAA.

MyCAA will give you up to $4,000 of tuition assistance for your education. However, this is broken up as $2,000 per year for two years.

You can read more about the MyCAA on our MyCAA page at CollegeRecon. 





FAFSA Changes Coming: Good & Bad

Analysis of Changes Coming for FAFSA

On July 1, 2023, there will be big changes in the way FAFSA operates. These changes result from the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) 2021, which was passed in December 2020 to expand provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

While many policy changes were included in the CAA, one of the biggest changes happens to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a program used by students each year to determine their eligibility for federal college money. The 2022 FAFSA will first see the following changes.

From “EFC” to “SAI”

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number used by colleges to determine someone’s eligibility for financial aid. Ambiguity surrounds the term, which could be taken to mean how much money a family can provide, or the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive. 

To eliminate that confusion, the term used on 2022’s FAFSA application will be the Student Aid Index (SAI). This term will do nothing except clarify the meaning of the number used by colleges in determining aid. It does not indicate how much aid a family can or will pay towards a student’s college.

A Shorter, Easier Application

Earlier this month, Kiplinger noted that there was cause for concern as “a decrease in the number of families completing the FAFSA”. Furthermore, in a report issued by The National College Attainment Network, there has been a 10% drop in financial aid applications since January 2020. The pandemic is obviously a major factor, but there is speculation that the sheer number of questions on the current FAFSA application has deterred many families from completing it.

The provision of the new bill will eliminate many questions, some of which did not apply to most students applying for financial aid. The result will likely be a reduction in the number of questions from over 100 to just under 40. It will also allow for applicants to transfer their income directly into the FAFSA application instead of manually entering it.

Single Parent Versus Two-Parent Households

As it stands now, either parent in a two-parent household can fill out the FAFSA application for their student. However, when in single parent households, especially those where divorce or separation are a factor, the custodial parent has traditionally been the one filling it out. In the cases where the custodial parent earned less than the non-custodial parent, it benefited the student’s potential eligibility.

However, the new legislation requires the parent who provides the most financial support to complete the FAFSA. Where the support provides is 50/50, the parent with the highest annual income will be required to complete the application.

This provision could result in less financial aid eligibility, especially if there is a significant difference between the both parents’ income.

Multiple Student Discount: GONE

Under the current provisions, families with more than one child in college at the same time receive an increase in financial aid eligibility. This is pertinent for families with multiples (twins. triplets), or those whose children are closely spaced. This was a great benefit.

The new legislation has killed that discount. Starting in 2023, the financial eligibility for these families will be reduced.

Pell Grant Made Easier

The federal government doles out vast sums of financial aid through the Pell Grant because it is the most accessible program to lower income families. In addition to a slight increase in the max amount ($6,345 + $150 = $6,495), the new legislation simplifies eligibility by requiring that families make less that 175% of the federal poverty level. The Pell Grant is usually awarded to those whose annual income is less than $60,000 per year.

Changes to Student Loans

With the CARES Act, interest and payments on federal student loans was waived until the end of January, 2021 – just a few weeks ago. The new CAA legislation did not extend those waivers as many had hoped. The bill is also devoid of any provisions relating to student loan forgiveness. However, employers can still contribute towards the student debt held by their employees, tax-free up to $5,250 until the first day of 2026.

The new administration did eventually extend the waivers until the end of September, 2020. 


The FAFSA will remain a required step in obtaining federal aid. The new bill has certainly disrupted the FAFSA environment, with some portions becoming easier. Although, it remains to be seen if those changes have the impact legislators believe. It can also be argued that the legislation may have complicated other aspects of financial aid that were never a problem. 

As more information becomes available, we will report it to you.

(Image courtesy of BDoss928 via Shutterstock)





Air Force Restores the Cap on the Air Force Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance Program Restored by Air Force

Last week, the Department of the Air Force announced that it has restored the military tuition assistance cap back to $4,500 per fiscal year. They also announced that the Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) funding has been restored, effective immediately.

Air Force Previously Cut the Tuition Assistance Cap

We previously reported that the Air Force cut the TA cap in response to an increase in applications for the program, coupled with funding questions as the government transitioned into a new fiscal year beginning October 1, 2020.

Previous TA Cap Restored

Now, as it was before, Airmen and Space Professionals are eligible for up to $4,500 per fiscal year, with a max allowance of $250 per semester hour or quarter hour equivalent. The Air Force COOL funding for preparatory courses or “boot camps” is also restored, with its previous funding limits being $4,500 per life-time.

This is a great day for all Air Force personnel who are motivated to advance their education. Lieutenant General Brian Kelley stated that his command was “excited that our members are taking advantage of their time under COVID-19 to improve themselves and pursue education.” He further noted that the Air Force had to reprioritize funding to restore the original program.

If you are a member of the Air Force / Space Force, here’s a link for more info on the Air Force’s Tuition Assistance Program page which gives you the information you need to get started. You may also wish to reference the Air Force Instruction 36-2670, “Total Force Development” publication.

Please visit this page for more information on Tuition Assistance for all services.

(Image courtesy of Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, DVIDS)





Top Schools for Utilizing Military Tuition Assistance Benefits

Ranking Most Popular Schools for Military Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance for the military is a wonderful added benefit for active duty service members to utilize.  Military TA provides the ability to pay up to 100% of tuition. Each service does have its own criteria and restrictions, though. Regardless, there are a number of institutions that are very popular among the military community, for reasons such as ease of use, better understanding of TA rules, and ability to reach service members, to name a few.  Here are the most popular schools for military using their tuition assistance benefits.  These are ranked by the number of students utilizing their TA benefits.

RELATED: Schools Where Tuition is Fully Covered by Tuition Assistance

Around 220,000 service members from the four main services used Tuition Assistance benefits in 2019, totaling more than $492 million in tuition.

In terms of popularity based solely on enrollment, these are the top 15 schools chosen by service members to use their TA for the year 2019:


Rank Institution Type # of TA students  Total Spent
1st American Public Education, Inc. (APUS) For-Profit 39,812 $80,987,863
2nd University System of Maryland (UMGC) Public 28,569 $51,823,194
3rd Ashford For-Profit 10,967 $24,037,975
4th Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Private 8,829 $18,260,937
5th Central Texas College Public 8,792 $10,268,099
6th Columbia Southern & Waldorf University For-Profit 7,174 $13,884,528
7th Purdue University Campuses Public 6,825 $14,431,283
8th Liberty University Private 6,679 $14,873,918
9th Excelsior College Private 6,241 $12,368,674
10th Park University Private 4,521 $9,292,331
11th Southern New Hampshire University Private 4,515 $10,290,424
12th Trident University International For-Profit 4,498 $11,871,069
13th Columbia College Private 3,293 $6,680,686
14th Arizona State, NAU, & U of A Public 2,787 $6,619,034
15th Saint Leo University Private 2,769 $6,397,750


*Data for table credited to Military Times

“Popular” Doesn’t Equal “Best”

Popular doesn’t always mean it’s the best option for everyone, however. And the list above does not mean that the first ranked college is better than the last ranked college.

For example, while Embry-Riddle is 4th on the above list, its graduate cost per credit hour is almost $200 more than Park University’s graduate cost-per-credit hour, ranked 10th. In terms of getting the most out of your dollar, being offered the best incentives, and having the best support system, not every university is primed to be the best fit for every active duty member.

Schools Accepting TA That Also Provide Incentives for Military Students

Here are a few schools that offer military incentives.  This may help give you an idea of what to look for in any institution you may be interested in.

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

4-year, public college with in-state, undergraduate tuition of $6,380. Attending as an online undergraduate, the tuition is $3,876.

The biggest military benefits the university provides are:

  • Credit for military training
  • In-state tuition rates without residency
  • DOD Voluntary Education partner in tuition assistance

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

4-year, private non-profit college which has both in-state undergraduate tuition rates and online college tuition rates (that differ vastly).

However, their website states, “Active military personnel, veterans, National Guard, or Reserve, and their immediate families (including spouses, children and parents) are eligible for a 10–50% tuition reduction.”

The university also offers military scholarships, a military transition program, and is a DOD Voluntary Education partner in tuition assistance.

The University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

4-year, public college which also has both in-state and online tuition rates.

According to their website, “If you are a military member or a dependent, you may be eligible for tuition assistance and fee reimbursement.”

They are also have multiple ROTC programs and accept military transfer credits.

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK

4-year, public college that participates in the DOD Voluntary Education transition assistance program.


  • Waives application fees for active duty and veterans
  • Has limited ROTC programs
  • Has various tuition rates based on online, in-person, in-state, or out-of-state
  • Accepts military transfer credits
  • Has contingencies in place for military leave and deployment situations

Also, numerous military scholarships are available for different circumstances.


Find schools approved for military tuition assistance with CollegeRecon today!





List of Navy & Air Force Tuition Assistance Benefits Changes

Changes to Tuition Assistance Benefits for Navy and Air Force

Tuition Assistance (TA) is more popular now than ever thanks to COVID, with most service members having a little extra time on their hands to focus on higher education. Because of this increase in use, changes have been made to both Navy and Air Force Tuition Assistance benefits.

Navy Tuition Assistance Changes

In late September, the Navy announced plans to increase fiscal year 2021’s TA funding by nearly $20 million.

The TA fund was underbudgeted in 2019, which caused caps to be applied in 2020 to recoup the mistake. For 2020, the Navy imposed restrictions such as barring use in the first two years of service, limiting annual assistance to $3,000, and more. But that isn’t the trend that the Navy wants to continue.

“One of the greatest benefits of serving in uniform.” –  Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite

Navy Requests Additional Funding for TA Benefits

In his 100-Day Message, Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite praised TA as “one of the greatest benefits of serving in uniform.” In an effort to continue the furthering of education to make the Naval Force more effective and well-rounded, Braithwaite said, “We have requested more funding for [this] program to prevent future funding shortages.”

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, said that while these additional provisions are slated to begin fiscal year 2021, “it appears we will be under a continuing resolution… [immediately] lifting the caps could result in a repeat of fiscal year 2019 when we exhausted TA funding in the middle of the 3rd quarter.”

Hecht said that reassessment of caps will occur throughout the fiscal year to determine when they can be removed. No specific deadline has been set.

RELATED: Colleges Fully Covered by Military Tuition Assistance

Air Force Tuition Assistance Changes

Similarly in September, the Air Force also released changes to their TA benefits. Officials announced a drop in TA caps, from $4,500 annually to $3,750 as a measure to ensure fiscal sustainability and program availability. However, only 2 months later, the Air Force decided to restore the original AF Cool limits and TA cap of $4,500.

RELATED: Air Force Restores Tuition Assistance

TA Usage Numbers Continue to Increase

Of the reversion, Lt. Gen Brian T. Kelly said, “We are excited our members are taking advantage of their time under COVID to improve themselves and pursue education. The Department of the Air Force was able to reprioritize funding to encourage our service members to maximize their development through these educational benefits.”

Just as highlighted by Braithwaite, Chief Master Sgt. Of the Air Force Joanne Bass said, “Voluntary education and military tuition assistance programs continue to be important to the development of our force.”

This trend in increased TA usage is also mimicked in other branches of service. For example, the Army saw a 10% increase in soldiers using benefits in fiscal year 2020. If the trends seen in the Navy and Air Force are any indication, we may be seeing a rise in funding for educational related benefits moving forward.





12 States With the Most Unclaimed Veterans Education Benefits

Don’t Forget These Veterans Education Benefits in These 12 States

Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs published information about the most underused benefits, as reported by each state’s veterans department. The following states reported that these education benefits were the most underused by veterans.


The Deputy Executive Director of Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs, James S. Hartsell, explained that, “Florida waives undergraduate-level tuition at state universities and community colleges for Florida recipients of the Purple Heart and other combat-related decorations superior in precedence to the Purple Heart.” This benefit also applied to the state’s career and technical training facilities. Learn more about Florida’s education benefits for veterans.

For more info, please go here.


The Brandstead-Reynolds Scholarship Program receives the least applications each year from this state. This program provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children of deceased military service members who died on active duty after September 11th, 2001. Another underused program is the War Orphan Tuition Assistance Program.

For more info, please go here.


The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services reported that the most underused benefit offered by their state is the Veterans Dependent Education Benefit, which is only offered to those veterans who have received a 100% Permanent and Total Disability rating. David Richmond, director of Maine’s Bureau of Veterans’ Services, explained that “dependents and spouses of qualifying veterans are provided 100% waiver of tuition and all mandatory fees for spouses and dependents of veterans at all University of Maine System Schools, Maine Community Colleges, and Maine Maritime Academy.” He laments that many veterans who qualify do not use the benefit.

For more info, please go here.


The Children of Veterans Tuition Grant, which provides undergraduate tuition assistance to students aged 17-25 who are the natural or adopted child of a Michigan veteran, is this state’s most underused benefit. The director of Michigan’s Veterans Affairs Agency, Zaneta Adams,  explained that a veteran must have died or have become permanently disabled as a result of their military service. “The families of our veterans are just as important to us as our veterans, which is why we want to ensure that they take advantage of all their benefits,” she said.

For more info, please go here.


Larry Herke, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs reported that the Minnesota GI Bill was among the least used benefits by veterans in his state. The program provides a maximum benefit of $10,000, up to age 62, for any eligible Minnesota veterans, currently serving military, National Guard and Reserve members who served after September 11, 2001, and eligible spouses and children. Participants can use the benefit at institutes of higher education, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or licensing and certification.

For more info, please go here.


The Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs reported that their most underused state benefit is the Reservist Tuition Credit. Under this program, Nebraska residents who are enlisted members of the Nebraska-based unit of the Active Selected Reserve may be eligible for a 50% tuition credit to the University of Nebraska campuses, state colleges and community colleges.

For more info, please go here.


Sean McCarthy, assistant director of Ohio’s Department of Veterans Services, explained that “[t]he Ohio National Guard offers tuition assistance at over 150 Ohio colleges and universities for Veterans who serve in an enlisted drilling status with the Guard – up to four semesters of full time tuition for a three year commitment, and up to eight semesters for a six-year commitment. If you’re transitioning out of the active service and join the Ohio National Guard, this benefit would net you some excellent college time!

For more info, please go here.

Rhode Island

This state’s Office of Veterans Services reported that the most underused benefit is for eligible active duty military and veterans to receive in-state tuition rates at University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College “immediately upon establishing residence in Rhode Island.” Wow! No waiting period. That’s fantastic!

For more info, please go here.

South Carolina

South Carolina provides free tuition or education assistance for qualified children of certain military veterans applying to or enrolled in a South Carolina state supported college, university, or post-secondary technical education program. This waiver can also apply to acceptance into dual enrollment/early college credit programs prior to graduating high school. Certain residency requirements must be met.

For more info, please go here.

South Dakota

Education benefits are the most underused portion of South Dakota’s suite of veterans benefits. Greg Whitlock, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, encourages all veterans of the state to contact their local county or tribal veterans service officers, or the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs office (605-773-3269) to learn more about their benefits, or visit the link above to visit their benefits website.

For more info, please go here.


The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has a goal of becoming the “most veteran friendly higher education system in the nation”. They believe that the military training you have endured should be appropriately recognized at the college level. Using their TN-SOP tool, Tennessee is providing a head start to veterans on obtaining college credentials.

This tool is actually pretty cool. First, I selected my branch of service. Then, I entered my MOS (11B Infantryman), then my highest pay grade, and finally the date of my initial training. With that information, the SOP tool populated a list of Tennessee colleges and universities with the amount of transfer credits I’d be eligible to receive. For example, Middle Tennessee University would grant me 18 credit hours with just my MOS. That six less classes I would need to take for a degree program. Please check this tool out!

For more info, please go here.


Tim Sheppard, executive director of the Wyoming Veterans Commission, said that the most underused benefit for his state is the honorary high school diploma. “We haven’t had a request in over three years.”

Here’s how it works: “The following personnel who have attended a Wyoming high school, entered military service on these specified dates (shown below) prior to completing necessary high school graduation requirements, and who did not receive a high school diploma, may apply to the state superintendent of public instruction for an honorary high school diploma.”

An honorably discharged veteran of:

  • World War II who served in the U.S. military between December 8, 1941 and August 14, 1945.
  • The Korean War, who served in the U.S. military between June 27, 1950 and July 28, 1953.
  • The Vietnam War, who served in the U.S. military between February 28, 1961 and August 15, 1973.

While this is not the typical education benefit, it is one of my favorites. It reminds us that there are citizens among us who stopped their whole lives to fight for our country. Some of them were only in high school when they made that choice. I commend Wyoming for this benefit.

Importance of Education Benefits

To sum up this piece, I want to make it clear that most states have tremendous benefits available to their veterans and service members. The ones listed above reported an underuse of their state’s education benefits. So, if you are veteran of any of these states, please take advantage of these amazing opportunities!

(Image courtesy of Hong Qi Zhang via






Air Force Cuts the Cap on the Air Force Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance Cap for Air Force Reduced

Beginning October 1, 2020, the Air Force will cut the cap for their Tuition Assistance (TA) program. The maximum amount of money airmen can receive in the next fiscal year will drop from $4,500 to $3,750, according to an announcement from the Department of the Air Force. These cuts apply to both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Tuition Assistance Cap Cuts Due to COVID-19

The cuts come as a result of a spike in applications for TA since this past spring, when many personnel were given stay-at-home orders. This second-order effect of the coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in airmen enrolling in college programs, which has also prompted an increase in requests for assistance.

How Many Service Members Are Impacted?

According to the AF Times, a total of 80,430 service members used the Air Force’s Tuition Assistance program, which is a fundamental tool for recruitment and retention. Based on those numbers, the Air Force projects a similar number for fiscal year 2021.

With that increase in the number of applicants, the Air Force is trying to ensure that every service member can get some assistance, even if that means cutting the cap available to each applicant. While extra funding was available for 2020’s increase in students, to the tune of nearly $18 million, the Air Force wants to avoid seeking extra funding for the next fiscal year.

The Air Force has no plans to change the credit-hour limits, which will remain at $250 per semester hour, and $166.66 per quarter hour.

Waivers Possible

As with anything in the military, there is the possibility of a waiver for exceeding the annual limit. Under extremely unique circumstances, like a degree program requiring a lab or non-traditional degree deadlines, waivers can be granted to exceed the $3,750 cap by one semester hour or two quarter hours. 

Lieutenant General Brian T. Kelly, the Air Force personnel chief, stated in yesterday’s new release that “tuition assistance aids in the development of a highly educated and skilled military force. By making these adjustments, we ensure this key benefit continues for all airmen and space professionals.” Indeed, tuition assistance is a tremendous benefit for today’s service members, especially when civilian students are struggling with excessive student loan debt.

Cuts Are The Best Option

Lieutenant General Kelley also noted, “In 2013, under sequestration, tuition assistance was suspended for some time and our service members were negatively impacted. As we go forward and budgets get tight, we want to prevent that from happening again and we made hard decisions in order to keep this program viable and accessible to our force.”

If the money dries up before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2021, then those service members whose applications were not approved will have to wait until the following fiscal year beginning October 1, 2021.

Apply Now!

Air Force and Space Force members can apply for tuition assistance up to 45 days before the start of their classes by using the Air Force Virtual Education Center. For further guidance on this new policy, consult Air Force Instruction 36-2670 Total Force Development. 

Alternatives to TA

Ending his statement, Lt. General Kelly encouraged his personnel to examine the “several avenues members can use to get their degrees and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.” Those interested in other resources should research the Post-9/11 GI Bill (official site), Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) subject standardized tests (DSSTs), and the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Air Force officials are also urging airmen to pursue degrees from the Community College of the Air Force.

These are certainly challenging times, and it is great that many institutes of higher learning are finding ways to adapt. The Air Force is the first to make such cuts, and it may not be long before the other services follow in their boot steps.

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MyCAA: Highest Paying Careers Without a 4-Year Degree

Hit the Ground Running on High Paying Careers with MyCAA

Not all careers require four-year degrees from expensive colleges. Military spouses who want to hit the ground running in a lucrative career field should take advantage of the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA) program.

MyCAA offers up to $4,000 of tuition assistance to military spouses. An expansion of the program announced at the beginning of 2020 approves the application of the scholarship to academic training in any field or career. This tuition assistance can be put toward the pursuit of:

  • Licenses
  • Certifications
  • Associate Degrees

MyCAA Eligibility Requirements

Eligible spouses must meet the below requirements:

  • Successfully completed high school, and be eligible to apply for tuition assistance.
  • Spouse’s service member must be on active duty in the Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Army
  • If spouse’s sponsor is in the National Guard or Reserves, they are only eligible while their spouse is activated on Title 10 orders.
  • Spouse’s service member must be in one of the following pay grades at the time of enrollment in the program:

E-1 to E-5

W-1 to W-2

O-1 to O-2

For further details on the MyCAA program, read College Recon’s article MyCAA: Everything You Need to Know.

We’ve put together some information on a number of the highest paying, portable, entry-level career positions which can be acquired with only one of the above academic accomplishments.

Radiation Therapist

Starting Salary: $56,000

Median Salary: $80,000


  • Associates Degree in Radiation Therapy
  • State License
  • Pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam

Find related associate’s degrees or certifications in the CollegeRecon search tool here.

Radiation Therapist Job Overview

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients via treatments of carefully calculated doses of radiation. Strong interpersonal skills and an empathetic personality are important traits when working with ill patients.

Real Estate Agent

Starting Salary: $32,000

Median Salary: $57,000


  • State License

Although a degree is not required, an associates degree or certification in finance or business might make you a more attractive applicant to real estate firms.

Find related associate’s degrees or certifications in the CollegeRecon search tool here.

Real Estate Agent Job Overview

This career is highly suited to a military spouse, in that in you typically set your own hours, it is highly portable, and a strong work ethic intrinsic to military life is a necessity in a commission-based career. A commission-based salary means that you get out of it what you put in, which means you could just as easily either maintain this career on a part-time basis, or grind to the top of your field.


Starting Salary: $30,000

Median Salary: $60,000


  • High School Diploma

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Obtain an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science

Firefighter Job Overview

Firefighters respond to fires, but that’s far from all that they do. They also dispatch to vehicle accidents, and other incidents where there is risk to life or property, for instance in the case of a bomb threat or a flood. Day-to-day tasks also include activities such as preventative building inspections and community involvement and education.

Funeral Director (or Mortician)

Starting Salary: $30,000

Median Salary: $58,000


  • Be 21 years of age
  • Associate’s Degree in Funeral Service or Mortuary Science
  • Pass State/ National Board Exam
  • An internship lasting 1-3 years

Funeral Director Job Overview

Funeral directors help plan and carry out funeral services, wakes, and memorial services. Most funeral directors are also practicing embalmers, which involves the preparation and preservation of the body before burial. Considering the intensely personal and emotional nature of this career, empathy, tact, and excellent customer service skills are paramount.

Electrocardiograph (EKG) Technician

Starting Salary: $30,000

Median Salary: $45,000


  • High School Diploma or GED
  • EKG training certification

Electrocardiograph (EKG) Technician Job Overview

Electrocardiograph Technicians perform testing on patients to determine their cardiovascular health. They administer diagnostic testing and monitor blood pressure, collecting data for doctors to analyze and translate into a diagnosis.

To find schools with programs in the above fields, visit the MyCAA website to use their search tool.




College and Career Prep Programs for Military Connected High Schoolers

College and Career Prep Programs for Military Connected High Schoolers

The whirlwinds of military life and PCSs can make time seem to move in fast forward. This can feel especially true for active duty families with dependents on their way to high school or college.

Understanding the resources available can help with making decisions as to which school will best support students in success after high school. Choosing the right school district is one challenging aspect of PCSing.

Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Did you know, that most military children have changed schools 6-9 times by the time they complete high school?

In the works since 2006, an agreement between all 50 states and the District of Columbia has worked to address challenges related to education faced by children of military families. The compact only applies to public and DoDEA schools.

The goal is to develop consistent policies in every school district. The agreement addresses issues regarding:

  • Eligibility for enrollment and participation in extracurricular activities
  • Attendance and absence related to deployment activities
  • Placement flexibility in courses and educational programs
  • Graduation requirement flexibility including waiving requirements if comparable course work has been completed, alternative testing, and which school issues a diploma during a relocation

When a family with middle or high school students PCSs, it is important for these students to stay on track for graduation and this agreement supports just that.

DoDEA Resources for College and Career Readiness

Of the nearly 1 million military connected students, 70,000 are enrolled in DoDEA schools around the world. These schools are fully accredited and support students in learning necessary skills and knowledge to be college and career ready. Listed here are some of the programs that support success among DoDEA students.

College and Career Ready Standards

DoDEA schools support college and their career success by establishing clear and consistent standards. Consistency is key to supporting military connected students who relocate frequently.

As of 2018, these standards are assessed through an online Comprehensive Assessment System. While there are arguments for and against standardized testing, the value in these assessments is related to the information collected. This information informs parents, those who make decisions about improving educational programs, and supports student learning. Many of these tests are required for college admission and some can result in earning college credit.

Tests offered by DoDEA that prepare students for college include:

  • The ACT assesses English, math, reading, and science and (optional) writing. The test is administered by DoDEA, but paid for by families. It gauges general educational development and ability to complete college-level work.
  • Advanced Placement exams are taken in May after completing an AP course. Students can earn college credit after successfully completing these exams.
  • CCRS Summative Assessments measure mastery of College and Career Ready Standards.
  • International Baccalaureate programs, like AP exams, are taken in May. Students can earn college credit after successfully completing these exams.
  • PSAT tests are taken in the fall by middle school and early high school students. These tests help students identify areas where they need to improve to be successful on more advanced tests like the SAT.
  • The SAT Reasoning Test assesses how well students can apply their knowledge of reading, writing, and math. Like the ACT, this test is administered by DODEA, but paid for by families.

Test Prep

Test prep resources for ACT, SAT, PSAT and AP exams are available for free through MWR Library resources. These are available to any eligible student, even those not attending DoDEA schools.

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

Offered by DoDEA and available at 6,000 other schools nationwide, AVID strives to support students in preparing for college. The program begins supporting students as early as 7th grade. AVID provides support through:

  • Equity – create opportunities among all demographic groups
  • Teacher Effectiveness – support inquiry-based and student-centered instruction
  • Leadership – develop students’ leadership skills that they can carry into college
  • Student Learning – inspires students to control their own learning


Offered by both DoDEA and other schools, Choices360 is an online planning tool for students to set and achieve goals related to graduation, college, and career. Students can develop a portfolio to support them after high school.



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