Many individuals sign up to be in the U.S. Armed Forces because of the education benefits that come along with serving. Sometimes, many years of service are put into getting those benefits. Because so often, people have spent years of their life expecting to utilize this benefit, we wish to educate those prospective GI Bill users so that they don’t make the mistakes that could both limit them and how far their GI Bill will take them.

Enrolling at For-Profit Institutions

Wasting your money on predatory for-profit schools is exactly that – a waste. As unfortunate as it is that there are schools out there that take service member’s GI Bill without delivering them with a high quality educational program and degree, it’s extremely important that we acknowledge it.

Sometimes you aren’t even aware that an institution is for-profit. When doing your college search, make sure to find out first if this is a for-profit or non-profit school. After that, dig into their military and veteran assistance programs. After that, dig into the extra scholarships and funding they offer military and veterans. If the school doesn’t have any of the above, then do not use your GI Bill there.

Using Your GI Bill While Active Duty

You don’t need to! All branches have some sort of tuition assistance (TA) while you are on active duty, and that assistance won’t dip into your GI Bill allowance down the road.

Related: 7 Schools Fully Covered By Tuition Assistance

It is important to note that even if a school is “DoD Tuition Assistance Approved”, that doesn’t mean that you can go there for free. TA will cover up to $250 per credit hour. We’ve compiled a list of schools that cost $250 or less per credit hour. Start your college search for using TA there.

By using your GI Bill while active duty you are missing out on financial incentives.  However, there are programs in place to help you get your degree while on active duty.  Take advantage!

Using Your GI Bill Before Finding Your Ideal School

Finding the right school for your needs is far more important that starting your degree program in a hurry.

It takes time to reflect on what kinds of resources you need, whether that be an SVA Chapter for support, an on-campus Veteran Center, acceptance of DSST exams or ACE credit, or participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Reaching out to admissions counselors to get these answers before you go any further is critical.

Instead of being wooed by their degree programs, you first need to know if the basic support for student veterans is there.

Explore these Mil-Friendly colleges & universities:

RELATED GI Bill Links:

Post-9/11 GI Bill

Transferring Your GI Bill to Spouse and Dependents

Beyond the Post 911 GI Bill: Additional Money for Veterans

Biggest Mistake GI Bill Users Make

Mistakes GI Bill Users Should Avoid

8 Misconceptions About the GI Bill

GI Bill FAQ

RELATED Links:

4 Memes All GI Bill Users Can Relate To

GI Bill BAH Rates

Colleges with the Highest GI Bill BAH Rates

Latest Updates: 

Here’s the latest on the Forever GI Bill and Post 911 GI Bill transferability

(Featured Image Courtesy: USC Veterans Resource Center)