2022-2023 GI Bill Tuition Rates Out Now!

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

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

Increase In GI Bill Max Tuition & Fees

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

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

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

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

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

Post-9/11 Entitlement Charge Amount for Tests

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

Additional Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Military Housing Allowance (MHA)

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

Book Stipend

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

Rural Benefit

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

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

Plan For Success

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

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

 

 

 

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.

 

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Yellow Ribbon Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal Arts Colleges Participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program

When a college chooses to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, the school is sending a clear message that they appreciate the service and sacrifice that military members have offered. Yellow Ribbon schools voluntarily enter in a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA, choosing to make additional funds available for veteran students.  These additional funds help cover charges above what would be covered by the GI Bill.

The Yellow Ribbon program helps veterans avoid out-of-pocket expenses for tuition. The school can cover up to 50% of the tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap. The VA then agrees to match the same amount that the school contributed. In many cases, this covers 100% of any additional cost.

What exactly is a Liberal Arts College?

A Liberal Arts College, sometimes referred at as a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is dedicated to serving its students a curriculum that spans a broad general knowledge base. A Liberal Arts College encourages student education in and exposure to a wide range of academic subjects, especially in the Sciences and the Humanities. This Liberal Arts curriculum is offered in contrast to a specific professional, vocational, and/or technical curriculum.

RELATED: Liberal Studies: The Perfect Degree

Renaissance Man (or Woman)

A Liberal Arts College encourages a broad range of knowledge in their students. Curriculum is developed so that students will matriculate as a “Jack of all Trades”. Students are also encouraged to choose at least one major to become a “Jack of all Trades and a Master of (at least) One”.

The driving force behind a Liberal Arts curriculum is encouraging students to explore all knowledge. The concept of a Renaissance Man, or Universal Man, holds to the belief that people are limitless in their capacities for development. The corresponding ideals behind a Liberal Arts College are that students should be encouraged and facilitated to embrace all knowledge, thereby becoming unrestricted in their own capacity for development.

In other words, students that are on a prescribed educational path via professional, vocational, and/or technical curriculum may never develop all their true potentials.

List of Yellow Ribbon Liberal Arts Colleges

Alabama

Birmingham Southern College
Huntingdon College
Judson College
Spring Hill College
Stillman College
University Of Montevallo

 

Alaska

Albertus Magnus College

Arizona

Prescott College

Arkansas

Central Baptist College
Harding University
Lyon College
Ouachita Baptist University
University Of The Ozarks

California

California Lutheran University
Claremont Mckenna College
Concordia University-Irvine
Harvey Mudd College
Mills College
Mount St Mary’s College
Occidental College
Pacific Union College
Pitzer College
Point Loma Nazarene University
Pomona College
Saint Mary’s College Of California
San Diego Christian College
University Of Redlands
Whittier College

Colorado

Adams State University
Colorado College
Fort Lewis College
Naropa University
Western State Colorado University

Connecticut

Albertus Magnus College
Connecticut College
Eastern Connecticut State University
Mitchell College
Quinnipiac University
Trinity College
University Of Saint Joseph
Wesleyan University

Delaware

None

District of Columbia (D.C.)

American University
Catholic University Of America
Corcoran College Of Art And Design
Gallaudet University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Trinity Washington University
University Of The District Of Columbia

 

Florida

Ave Maria University
Bethune-Cookman University
Eckerd College
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Rollins College
Stetson University
Warner University

 

Georgia

Agnes Scott College
Berry College
Covenant College
Georgia State University
Mercer University
Oglethorpe University
Piedmont College
Point University
Reinhardt University
Toccoa Falls College
Wesleyan College
Young Harris College

 

Hawaii

None

 

Idaho

Northwest Nazarene University
The College Of Idaho

 

Illinois

Augustana College-Illinois
Aurora University
Blackburn College
Columbia College-Chicago
Elmhurst College
Greenville College
Illinois College
Illinois Wesleyan University
Knox College
Lake Forest College
Mckendree University
Millikin University
Monmouth College
North Central College
North Park University
Olivet Nazarene University
Quincy University
Rockford University
Shimer College
Trinity Christian College
Trinity International University-Illinois
Wheaton College-Illinois

 

Indiana

Anderson University-Indiana
DePauw University
Franklin College
Goshen College
Grace College and Theological Seminary
Hanover College
Huntington University
Indiana Wesleyan University
Manchester University
Marian University-Indiana
Saint Josephs College
Saint Mary’s College
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Taylor University
University of Evansville
University Of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne
Wabash College

 

Kentucky

Bellarmine University
Berea College
Campbellsville University
Centre College
Georgetown College
Kentucky Wesleyan College
Lindsey Wilson College
Midway University
Saint Catharine College
Thomas More College
Transylvania University
Union College-Kentucky
University Of The Cumberlands

 

Louisiana

Centenary College Of Louisiana
Southeastern Louisiana University

 

Maine

Bates College
Bowdoin College
Colby College
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Unity College
University Of Maine At Farmington
University Of Maine At Fort Kent

 

Maryland

Goucher College
Hood College
Mcdaniel College
Mount St Mary’s University
Notre Dame Of Maryland University
St Johns College
St Mary’s College Of Maryland
Stevenson University
Washington College

 

Massachusetts

Amherst College
Hampshire College
Mount Holyoke College
Smith College
University Of Massachusetts-Amherst

 

Michigan

Adrian College
Albion College
Aquinas College
Calvin College
Concordia University-Ann Arbor
Hope College
Kalamazoo College
Madonna University
Rochester College
Saginaw Valley State University
Siena Heights University

 

Minnesota

Augsburg College
Bethany Lutheran College
Carleton College
College Of Saint Benedict
Concordia College At Moorhead
Gustavus Adolphus College
Hamline University
Macalester College
St Olaf College
University of Minnesota-Morris
University Of St Thomas (MN)

 

Mississippi

Millsaps College
Mississippi University For Women

 

Missouri

Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
College Of The Ozarks
Columbia College (MO)
Culver-Stockton College
Drury University
Evangel University
Fontbonne University
Lindenwood University
Missouri Baptist University
Southwest Baptist University
Stephens College
Truman State University
Westminster College-Missouri

 

Montana

Carroll College
Rocky Mountain College
University Of Great Falls

 

Nebraska

Doane College-Crete
Hastings College
Midland University
Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nevada

Sierra Nevada University

 

New Hampshire

Colby-Sawyer College
Franklin Pierce University
Granite State College
New England College
Saint Anselm College

 

New Jersey

Caldwell University
College Of Saint Elizabeth
Drew University
Ramapo College Of New Jersey
Saint Peter’s University

 

New Mexico

St John’s College

 

New York

Adelphi University
Canisius College
Cazenovia College
Colgate University
College Of Mount Saint Vincent
Concordia College-New York
D’Youville College
Daemen College
Elmira College
Hartwick College
Hobart William Smith Colleges
Hofstra University
Houghton College
Ithaca College
Keuka College
Le Moyne College
Manhattan College
Manhattanville College
Marist College
Marymount Manhattan College
Medaille College
Mercy College
Mount Saint Mary College
Nyack College
Saint John Fisher College
Saint Joseph’s College-New York
Saint Joseph’s College-Patchogue
Sarah Lawrence College
Siena College
Skidmore College
St Bonaventure University
St Lawrence University
St Thomas Aquinas College
Suny College At Plattsburgh
Vassar College
Wagner College
Yeshiva University

North Carolina

Barton College
Belmont Abbey College
Brevard College
Catawba College
Davidson College
Duke University
Elon University
Greensboro College
Guilford College
High Point University
Lenoir-Rhyne University
Mars Hill University
Meredith College
Montreat College
North Carolina Wesleyan College
University of Mount Olive
Wake Forest University

 

North Dakota

University of Jamestown

Ohio

Antioch College
Baldwin Wallace University
Bluffton University
Capital University
Cedarville University
Defiance College
Denison University
Heidelberg University
Hiram College
John Carroll University
Kenyon College
Lake Erie College
Malone University
Marietta College
Miami University-Middletown
Miami University-Oxford
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Muskingum University
Oberlin College
Ohio Dominican University
Ohio Northern University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Otterbein University
The College Of Wooster
The University Of Findlay
Tiffin University
University Of Mount Union
Urbana University
Wilmington College
Wittenberg University

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Baptist University
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Southern Nazarene University

 

Oregon

George Fox University
Lewis & Clark College
Linfield College-Mcminnville Campus
University Of Portland
Warner Pacific College
Western Oregon University
Willamette University

 

Pennsylvania

Albright College
Allegheny College
Bryn Mawr College
Bucknell University
Carlow University
Cedar Crest College
Chatham University
Chestnut Hill College
Dickinson College
Elizabethtown College
Franklin And Marshall College
Gannon University
Geneva College
Gettysburg College
Gwynedd Mercy University
Immaculata University
Juniata College
Keystone College
King’s College-Pennsylvania
La Salle University
Lebanon Valley College
Lycoming College
Mansfield University Of Pennsylvania
Mercyhurst University
Messiah College
Misericordia University
Moravian College
Muhlenberg College
Neumann University
Point Park University
Rosemont College
Saint Francis University
Saint Vincent College
Susquehanna University
Swarthmore College
Thiel College
University Of Scranton
Ursinus College
Washington & Jefferson College
Waynesburg University
Westminster College-Pennsylvania
Wilson College
York College Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Providence College
Roger Williams University

 

South Carolina

Charleston Southern University
Coker College
College of Charleston
Erskine College
Furman University
Limestone College
Newberry College
Presbyterian College
Wofford College

 

South Dakota

Augustana College-South Dakota
Mount Marty College
University Of Sioux Falls

 

Tennessee

King University
Lee University
Lincoln Memorial University
Lipscomb University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Milligan College
Rhodes College

Texas

Abilene Christian University
Austin College
Dallas Baptist University
Hardin-Simmons University
Houston Baptist University
Howard Payne University
Saint Edward’s University
Schreiner University
Southwestern University
St Mary’s University
Texas Wesleyan University
Trinity University
University Of Dallas
University Of St Thomas (TX)
University Of The Incarnate Word
Wayland Baptist University

Utah

Westminster College-Utah

Vermont

Bennington College
Burlington College
Castleton State College
Goddard College
Green Mountain College
Landmark College
Lyndon State College
Marlboro College
Middlebury College
Saint Michael’s College

Virginia

Bluefield College
Bridgewater College
Christendom College
Emory & Henry College
Hampden-Sydney College
Hollins University
Lynchburg College
Mary Baldwin College
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
Roanoke College
Shenandoah University
Southern Virginia University
Sweet Briar College
University Of Richmond
Virginia Wesleyan College
Washington And Lee University

Washington

Gonzaga University
Pacific Lutheran University
Saint Martin’s University
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
The Evergreen State College
University Of Puget Sound
Western Washington University
Whitman College
Whitworth University

West Virginia

Alderson Broaddus University
Bethany College-West Virginia
Davis & Elkins College
Shepherd University
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Wheeling Jesuit University

 

Wisconsin

None

 

Wyoming

None

 

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Top Veteran Friendly Schools by State: Michigan

Top Veteran Friendly Schools: Michigan

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) has awarded Veteran Friendly School status to 63 institutions of higher education for the 2021-2022 school year. This program recognizes postsecondary institutions that are committed to supporting the needs of military-connected students.

Since its inception in 2013, the Veteran Friendly School (VFS) program has increased in popularity. The program has had a steady increase in the number of schools dedicated to enrolling student veterans and ensuring that these students are supported throughout their entire educational journey. The Top Veteran Friendly Schools of Michigan help military-connected students transition from boots and a helmet to a cap and gown.

The program awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze level status to institutions of higher education based on seven criteria. Gold-level certification requires six or more of the criteria, while Silver schools must complete four and Bronze schools, three. The criteria to become a Top Veteran Friendly School are:

  • Veteran-specific website
  • Established process for identifying student veterans
  • System to evaluate and award credit based on military training and experience
  • Monitoring and evaluation system for student veteran academic retention, transfer and graduation rates
  • Active student-operated veterans club or association
  • Veteran-specific career services, resources, advising and/or outcome monitoring
  • On-campus veteran’s coordinator and/or designated staff point of contact

Michigan Veteran Friendly Schools Awardees

The list for the 2021-2022 school year includes 63 universities, colleges, and trade schools across the state of Michigan. Awardees range from a boat-building school to community colleges to major universities.

These schools can be found in the CollegeRecon School Finder as well.

GOLD

  1. Alma College
  2. Central Michigan University
  3. Cleary University
  4. Concordia University, Ann Arbor
  5. Davenport University
  6. Delta College
  7. Eastern Michigan University
  8. Ferris State University
  9. Global Information Technology
  10. Grand Valley State University
  11. Henry Ford College
  12. Jackson College
  13. Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  14. Lake Superior State University
  15. Lansing Community College
  16. MIAT College of Technology
  17. Macomb Community College
  18. Michigan State University
  19. Michigan Technological University
  20. Mid-Michigan College
  21. Montcalm Community College
  22. Muskegon Community College
  23. Northern Michigan University
  24. Northwood University
  25. Oakland Community College
  26. Oakland University
  27. Olivet College
  28. Saginaw Valley State University
  29. Schoolcraft College
  30. University of Detroit Mercy
  31. University of Michigan
  32. University of Michigan-Dearborn
  33. University of Michigan-Flint
  34. Walsh College
  35. Washtenaw Community College
  36. Wayne State University
  37. Western Michigan University

SILVER

  1. Aquinas College
  2. Baker College
  3. Bay de Noc Community College
  4. Calvin University
  5. Compass College of Cinematic Arts
  6. Detroit School for Digital Technology
  7. Finlandia University
  8. Focus: HOPE
  9. Glen Oaks Community College
  10. Gogebic Community College
  11. Grace Christian University
  12. Grand Rapids Community College
  13. Kettering University
  14. Kirtland Community College
  15. Lake Michigan College
  16. Madonna University
  17. Monroe County Community College
  18. North Country Heavy Equipment School
  19. Rochester University
  20. Clair County Community College
  21. Suburban CDL
  22. West Shore Community College
  23. Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School

BRONZE

  1. Great Lakes Boat Building School
  2. North Central Michigan College
  3. Southwestern Michigan College

 

 

Education Questions Answered by Peers: February 2022

Education Questions Answered by Peers: February 2022

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

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

The Question

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

Peer Submitted Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEE ALSO: Getting Your Master’s Degree Online

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

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

Our Answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few others:

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

 

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Navient Cancels $1.7 Billion in Student Loan Debt

Navient Cancels $1.7 Billion in Student Loan Debt

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

Deceptive Practice Allegations

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

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

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

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

RELATED: Debating the 90/10 Rule

The Multi-State Settlement

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED: Military Service Could Eliminate Student Loan Debt With PSLF

Replacing Navient Corp.

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

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

Next Steps for Impacted Borrowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Skillshare Scholarships for Online Learning

College Students Eligible for Skillshare Scholarships

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

Skillshare Learning

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

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

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

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

Skillshare Topics of Learning

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

Creative Curriculum

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

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

Business Curriculum

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

  • Accounting
  • Bitcoin
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Public Speaking
  • Social Media Marketing
  • The list goes on…

Technology Curriculum

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

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

Lifestyle Curriculum

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

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

Signing Up For Skillshare

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

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

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

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

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

Skillshare Scholarships

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

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

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

 

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

 

The Beauty of Lifelong Learning

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

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

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

But most importantly, always be learnin’!

For more info on Skillshare, please go here.

 

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Support Our Scholars: Scholarships & Mentorships for Women Students

Scholarships & Mentorship for Women Students

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

Support Our Scholars

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

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

What do Scholars Receive?

After selection, each SOS Scholar receives:

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

How to apply for Support Our Scholars

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

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

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

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

Support Our Scholars Timeline

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

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

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

More Information about Support Our Scholars

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

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

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

(Image courtesy of Take A Pix Media via Shutterstock)

 

Search for Scholarships for Military and Veterans

 

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New Law Guarantees In-State Tuition for Survivors & Dependents

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

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

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

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

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

What happens when a course is disapproved by the VA?

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

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

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

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

Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance (Chapter 35)

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

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

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

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

Next Steps for Using Chapter 35 Under the New Law

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

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

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

(Image courtesy of Andrey Popov via Shutterstock)

 

Find Scholarships and more for Military and Veterans

 

 

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Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) & Dependent Payments Increase Oct 2021

For Veterans using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), on October 1, 2021, your benefit payments are set to increase by an average of 2.6% over the previous year’s rates.

MGIB Active Duty – Chapter 30

In 2020, the rate for a full-time student was $2,122, while a half-time student received $1061. The new rates for 2021 are $2150 for full-time students, and $1075 for those veterans attending half-time training. That’s an additional $28 and $14, respectively.

View the full 2022 Active Duty MGIB rates. The rates listed above apply to students attending institutes of higher learning. If your training takes another format, review the chart for more information.

 

MGIB Selected Reserves – Chapter 1606

Beginning 1 October, those full-time student veterans using the MGIB Selected Reserves will see an increase in your monthly benefit to $407, a $10 increase. Half-time students will see their benefits move up to $203.

View the full 2022 Selected Reserve MGIB rates. Again, the rates highlighted above are for students attending colleges or universities. The rate charts will also show other training formats and their respective increases, if any.

 

Survivors and Dependents Under Chapter 35

For those of you who may be using the Survivors’ and Dependents’ benefits given under Chapter 35, your full-time institutional rate will be $1298 beginning 1 October. That’s a bump of $33 per month. Half-time rates will be $753 per month.

View the full 2022 Chapter 35 chart for survivors and dependents.

RELATED: VA Benefits for Family Members, Survivors, and Caretakers

MGIB Buy-up & REAP Rates

If you participated in the MGIB $600 Buy-up program, check out the $600 buy-up rate table to see any changes that may apply to your monthly benefit payments.

RELATED: Military Benefits Changes for 2021

Additional Information

If you’re looking for specific information on your current or future rates, or even your eligibility for education benefits, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs by calling 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551), between the hours of 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday thru Friday.

If you’re calling from overseas, use 001-918-781-5678 to get connected to a customer service representative.

RELATED: 2021 Military Retiree and VA Disability Pay Increase

(Image courtesy of Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock.com)

 

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Post 9/11 GI Bill Recipients Must Verify Enrollment

Post 9/11 GI Bill Recipients Can Verify Their Courses Via Text

With the new 2021-2022 school year, there has been a change with the verification process for those who are receiving the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Those who are receiving Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) and/or Kicker payments will need to verify their enrollment in order to continue to receive payments. They will need to verify that they have remained enrolled in their courses or training each month. This won’t be a one-time verification.

See Also: VA GI Bill Upgrade Makes Life Easier

The New Verification Process

This requirement is only for those receiving the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and doesn’t affect programs such as VET TEC, DEA, VEAP, or the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship. Those who are receiving MGIB (Montgomery GI Bill) have already been required to verify.

Those going to a Non-College degree (NCD) facility will need to have already started doing this, as of August 1st. All other Post 9/11 GI Bill students will need to start this later this year.

Opt-in for Text Verification

The verification process will be relatively easy, as you can do so via text message. If you’ve opted to receive text verification, then you will receive texts from the number “44354“.

To opt in, students with a US-based mobile number should receive a text message informing them that they’ve been registered for enrollment verification. This happens after you’ve enrolled in an approved program. Within a day or two after that first text message, students will again receive a text with the following message:

“Post-9/11 GI Bill housing and kicker payments now require monthly enrollment verification. Would you like to submit yours via text? Please reply YES or NO.”

If you choose to opt-in, reply with YES. Keep in mind that the message link will expire after 14 days.

Using Text Verification

Once you’ve opted in to receive verification text messages, you will receive monthly messages from the VA (44354). The message will be:

“Did you remain enrolled in your courses in MONTH YEAR as certified? Please reply YES or NO. If you have dropped all your courses, you must reply NO.”

If you do not respond within six (6) days, the message will expire. If that happens, you must call the Education Call Center at 1.888.GIBILL.1 (1.888.442.4551) to verify your enrollment. If you are overseas, you will need to call 001-918-781-5678 to verify enrollment.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) explains the verification process in more detail via their VA Verification Enrollment infographic.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

Opt-in for Email Verification

If you opted out of text message verification, you will automatically be enrolled in email verification using the email address on file with the VA.

You will receive verification emails from the address “do-not-reply@notifications.va.gov” with the subject line “Confirmation: You’ve been enrolled into VA’s email verification!”

Using Email Verification

On the last day of each month, you will receive an email with the subject line: “Action Required: Verify Your Monthly Enrollment”. Within that email, select “Yes, my enrollment is the same” to verify your enrollment.

You will then be taken to a confirmation page thanking you for verifying. A response is required within 14 days, after which time the link will expire. If that occurs, you must call the Education Call Center to complete enrollment verification.

Telephone Verification

If you are unable to receive text messages or emails to complete your verification, call the Education Call Center (1.888.GIBILL.1) and ask a representative to verify your enrollment for you. Please note that you may have to wait on hold for a while.

Contact VA for Assistance

Changes like this can be difficult to navigate. If you are having problems with the new process, contact the VA’s Education Call Center by dialing 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

You should also ensure that they have the most current contact information for you, i.e. email address, phone number, and mailing address. Don’t let your payments lag because of this new GI Bill verification process.

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The Best GI Bill® Schools

You Earned It, Use It Wisely – 6 of the Best GI Bill Schools

You earned it and you deserve it. Utilize your GI Bill at a great school for a quality education. Here are 6 of the Best GI Bill Schools.

Features of the Best GI Bill Schools

The following features are common practices among 6 of the Best GI Bill Schools:

Accreditation

The Best GI Bill Schools will be regionally accredited. In some cases, depending on a student’s long term goals, a nationally accredited option may be suitable.  In most cases, regionally accredited schools are the preferred option.

Additional Tuition Assistance

The Best GI Bill Schools will take part in additional tuition assistance for active duty military, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program or Tuition Assistance, which can help pay for school costs not covered by the GI Bill.

Graduation Rates

The Best GI Bill Schools will be transparent in their graduation rates. Typical graduation rates are around 50%. Even 30% is considered acceptable.  Lower than that should raise doubts.

Job Placement

The Best GI Bill Schools will have an excellent network to help students succeed in their chosen career after earning their degree. Effective job placement can be found in programs such as internships, apprenticeships, strong alumni connections, etc.

Adherence to the Principles of Excellence

The Best GI Bill Schools will strictly adhere to the Principles of Excellence, a set of standards that is a requirement of schools that get federal funding (through programs such as the GI Bill). This includes standards such as not participating in fraudulent (deceitful) methods of recruiting and providing students with an educational plan outlining how and when students can fulfill graduation requirements.

Program Availability

The Best GI Bill Schools will have consistent availability for the chosen degree including classes and any other program requirements. This allows students to effectively use their time to complete their degree while still fulfilling other obligations such as military service, work, and family commitments.

RELATED: List of the Best Online Colleges for Military

Distinguishing the Best GI Bill Schools

Degree mills have been a pervasive problem since the GI Bill was introduced post-WWII. Problems with these pay-to-play degree mills include inadequate training and substandard education. This degree dilemma is through no fault of the student as these institutions often operate under the guise of legitimacy. Yet it leaves students with what amounts to a worthless degree (that ironically cost tens of thousands).

Education is a billion dollar industry, so is education fraud. Degree mills waste billions of dollars of educational funds including GI Bills. You earned it, use it well. Below is a selection of 6 of the Best GI Bill Schools.

6 of the Best GI Bill Schools

Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs: University of Florida

UF has been offering online degrees since 2001 and boasts a 60% graduation rate for its undergraduate degree seeking programs. UF is consistently ranked as one of the best public universities and ranks high on “Best of” lists including:

  • #3 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (US News)
  • #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans (US News)
  • #1 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs(US News)
  • #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs(US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, UF participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

Best Online Master’s Degree Programs: Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Pennsylvania State University World Campus offers over 120 Master’s degrees and graduate certificates. Penn State World consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including:

  • #1 in Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs for Veterans (US News)
  • #3 in Best Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs (US News)
  • #3 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans (US News)
  • #5 in Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans (US News)
  • #5 in Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs for Veterans (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, Penn State World Campus participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

Best College for Full-Time Undergraduate Students: University of California Los Angeles

The University of California Los Angeles is part of the 10-campus University of California system. UCLA is unique in that it does not offer part-time enrollment or evening coursework for undergraduate degree programs. Students must enroll full time and attend daytime classes. The result is a high-quality degree earned from one of the country’s most prestigious universities in a minimal amount of time. UCLA has an amazing 70% graduation rate. UCLA consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including:

#20 in National Universities (US News)

#5 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)

#30 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)

#13 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (US News)

#1 in Top Public Schools (US News)

#19 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, UCLA participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

Best Historically Black College and University: Spelman College

Consistently ranked high both as an HBCU and Women’s College, Spelman has a fantastic 70% graduation rate. Spelman receives many accolades including:

#1 HBCU (by Niche and US News)

#10 Best Women’s College (Niche)

#54 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (US News)

#19 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)

#10 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)

#4 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, Spellman College is also approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

Best Liberal Arts College West Coast: Pomona College

Pomona College has an amazing 90% graduation rate and an average class size of 15 students. Pomona College is strictly undergraduate yet is part of the “Claremont Colleges” consortium and does offer some combined opportunities for graduate studies. Pomona College consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including:

#1 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Niche)

#1 Best Small Colleges in America (Niche)

#1 Most Diverse Colleges in America (Niche)

#4 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (US News)

#7 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)

#2 in Best Value Schools (US News)

#29 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, Pomona College participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

Best Liberal Arts College East Coast: Bowdoin College

Test optional for a half-century and always centered on student collaboration, Bowdoin has a staggering 90% graduation rate. Bowdoin College consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including:

#2 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Niche)

#3 Best Small Colleges in America (Niche)

#7 Best Colleges for Global Studies (Niche)

#11 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (US News)

#12 in Best Value Schools (US News)

Along with being a GI Bill approved school, Bowdoin College participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

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How to Pay for College as a Veteran

In America today, there are more opportunities for veterans seeking college education than at any time in history.  From education benefits earned through your service, to tuition assistance offered through some states, achieving your education goals is within your reach.  Read on to learn more about what is available to you.

Veterans Affairs Education and Training Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers education benefits to veterans, service members, and their qualified family members. These benefits include paying for tuition, assistance in finding a training program, or even career counseling.

The GI Bill

The GI Bill is one of the most cherished benefits that veterans have when leaving the service. Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped veterans pay for most or all of their education expenses. There are a few different versions of the GI Bill, and you may fall under more than one of them.

The Montgomery GI Bill

When I joined the Army in the mid-1990s, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was the education benefit most soldiers selected. It required a deduction of $100 per month for the first 12 months of service, and then continued service for at least two years to confirm your eligibility.

This version of the GI Bill is being phased out and replaced by another one, but it is still an option available to you if you had your pay reduced during your first year of service.

There are four categories within which you could qualify for this education benefit.

You may get up to 36 months of education benefits under the MGIB. The amount you get depends on the length of your service, the type of program you’re enrolled in, and your eligibility category.

The MGIB Selected Reserve

This program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. It was designed for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard Reserve, the Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard.

There are a few eligibility requirements for those veterans seeking to take advantage of this benefit.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps a new generation of veterans pay for school or job training. It covers tuition and fees and provides money for housing, books and supplies. Unlike other education benefits, the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not expire if your service ended after January 1, 2013.

It is possible that you may be eligible for the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills. When I joined the service, the MGIB was the only option, so I had my pay reduced each month for the first year.

In 2012, I received word from my command that I had to pick either the MGIB or transfer my benefit to the newer Post-9/11 version. I opted to hold onto the MGIB because I’d already paid into it. I’d also participated in the $600 Buy-Up Program, which was designed to give me more money each month through the GI Bill payments.

Shortly after retiring in 2014, I found out that I was eligible for both benefits, but I was only able to use one at a time. Since the MGIB only granted 36 months of benefit, an additional year under the Post-9/11 GI Bill was authorized to me. Using them together, I was able to complete my degree program.

RELATED: Forever GI Bill

Other Opportunities to Pay for College

Yellow Ribbon Schools

If you have the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the If you have the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program may help pay tuition for a degree or training program. The amount available to you depends on the school, the degree type, and the academic program you’re considering.

This is one program that can make your education benefit last longer, go further, and get you more training.

Please go here for a list of Yellow Ribbon Schools which may help pay tuition for a degree or training program. The amount available to you depends on the school, as well as the degree type.

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

This scholarship allows some Veterans and dependents in high-demand fields to extend their Post-9/11 benefit. The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship could net you up to 9 months, or $30,000, of added benefits.

Some of the high-demand fields covered by this scholarship include:

  • Biological or biomedical science
  • Computer science and IT programs
  • Various Engineering fields
  • Health care or related field
  • Mathematics or Statistics
  • Medical Residency (undergraduate only)

If you’re enrolled in one of these or other high-demand career fields, do not pass up this opportunity. Here’s a PDF of the full list eligible STEM degree programs.

Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

If you seek computer experience to start or advance your career in the IT industry, the VET TEC program could be your best bet.

If you meet the VET TEC eligibility requirements, you could get training in one of the following exciting career fields:

  • Computer software development
  • Data Processing
  • Information Science
  • Media Applications

Veteran Readiness and Employment

If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work, or even one that prevents you from working, the Veteran Readiness and Employment may benefit you.

This program helps you explore employment options and address your training needs to ready yourself for employment.

This program has multiple tracks based on your future goals, but one of them does offer assistance with training and education.

The Employment Through Long-Term Services track can help you find training and education that can help you transition into a different field of employment.

Determine your eligibility, then apply for VR&E benefits.

National Call to Service Program

You may qualify for the National Call to Service program if you performed a period of national service. This program allows you to choose an education benefit as an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill.

The eligibility requirements are very specific:

  • You completed Initial Entry Training
  • You served for 15 months in a military occupational specialty
  • Without a break in service, you served a period of active duty as determined by the Secretary of Defense, OR
  • You served a period of 24 months in active status while in the Selected Reserve
  • AND, without a break in service, you served the remainder of your obligated service on active duty, in the reserves, in the Individual Ready Reserves, or in AmeriCorps

If you meet the eligibility requirements, then you could receive:

  • A cash bonus of $5,000, OR
  • Repayment of qualifying student loans not more than $18,000, OR
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly MGIB rate for 12 months, OR
  • Educational assistance equal to 50% of the less-than 3-year MGIB rate for 36 months

The Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

Under this program, you may be able to continue your education by using part of your military pay to help cover school costs.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for VEAP, then you could secure money for tuition at VA approved schools.

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for high-demand jobs to veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VRRAP covers education programs which are approved under the GI Bill and VET TEC programs that lead to high-demand jobs. These programs could include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs.

For the purposes of this program, the Department of Labor (DOL) determines which jobs are considered high-demand.

If you’re eligible for VRRAP, you can get:

  • Up to 12 months of tuition and fees, AND
  • A monthly housing allowance based on Post-9/11 rates

Please note, at the time that you apply for VRRAP, you can NOT be eligible for any of the following benefits:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • MGIB
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

States Offering Education Benefits for Veterans

In addition to the federal benefits covered above, many states offer education benefits to veterans. Some even cover the cost of tuition if certain criterion are met.

Conclusion

If you are a veteran and you are looking for ways to pay for education and training, there are so many programs out there to assist you.

Please look into any and all of these programs to get your journey started.

 

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4 Top Online Schools for Active Duty Military

4 of the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military

Why wait? Get a degree now! 4 of the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military.

Active Duty Military Deserve the Best Online Schools

Online schools often get a bad rap as being “degree mills.” In fact, degree mills have been a pervasive problem since the GI Bill was introduced post-WWII. Problems with degrees from these pay-to-play degree mills include inadequate training and substandard education. This equates to a worthless degree that is of no value to the student and offers zero assistance in securing a job.

Determining the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military

The following features are common practices among the best online schools for active duty military

  • Accreditation: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will be regionally accredited or in some cases, depending on a student’s long term goals, nationally accredited.
  • GI Bill Acceptance: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will accept the GI Bill and follow the Principles of Excellence. This program requires schools that get federal funding (through programs such as the GI Bill) to follow certain guidelines.
  • Additional Tuition Assistance: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will take part in additional tuition assistance for active duty military, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program or Tuition Assistance, which can help pay for school costs not covered by the GI Bill.

Additional Considerations for the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military

The following factors should also be considered when deciding on the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military.

  • Graduation Rates: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will be transparent in their graduation rates. Typical graduation rates are around 50%. Even 30% is considered acceptable but lower than that should raise doubts.
  • Job Placement: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will have an excellent network to help students succeed in their chosen career after earning their degree. Effective job placement can be found in programs such as internships, apprenticeships, strong alumni connections, etc.
  • Program Availability: The Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military will have a consistent availability for the chosen degree including classes and any other program requirements. This allows students to effectively use their time to complete their degree while still fulfilling other obligations such as military service and family commitments.

Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military

A Leader in Online Education

Colorado State University Global

One of the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military is CSU Global. CSU Global is the first 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States. CSU Global has a 50% graduation rate and has consistently received high-ranking accolades including:

  • Gold School of Distinction by BestSchools.com
  • #1 Top Military Friendly Online College by Guide to Online Schools

CSU Global is a GI Bill approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Top Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

University of Florida

UF has been offering online degrees since 2001 and boasts a 60% graduation rate for its undergraduate degree seeking programs. UF is consistently ranked as one of the best public universities and ranks high on “Best of” lists including US News and World Reports rankings:

  • #3 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • #2 inBest Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans
  • #1 inBest Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 
  • #2 inBest Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs 

UF is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Best Online Master’s Degree Programs:

Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Pennsylvania State University World Campus offers over 120 Master’s degrees and graduate certificates. Penn State World consistently ranks high in national “Best of” lists including US News and World Reports rankings:

  • #1 in Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs for Veterans
  • #3 in Best Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs
  • #3 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans
  • #5 in Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans
  • #5 in Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs for Veterans

Penn State World Campus is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

Same Excellent Programs Online and On Campus:

Arizona State University

One of the best campus-based schools is also one of the Best Online Schools for Active Duty Military. ASU has a 60% graduation rate, offers over 80 online bachelor’s degree programs and nearly as many master’s programs. ASU offers the same excellent curriculum and instruction on campus and online. Arizona State University consistently receives top national accolades including:

  • #1 in Innovation for 6 consecutive years
  • Top Ranked by Forbes for America’s Best Value College

ASU is a GI Bill approved school, participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, and is approved for Tuition Assistance.

 

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Proposed Legislation Could Increase GI Bill Benefits for Guard, Reservists

Increased GI Bill Benefits for National Guard and Reservists with Proposed Legislation

In mid-March, the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 was introduced, which would make it easier for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers to accumulate GI Bill benefits.

“House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Chair Mike Levin (D-CA) and Chair Mark Takano (D-CA) reintroduced the bipartisan” bill on March 11. It was originally introduced to Congress in February of 2020, but referred back to the Veterans’ Affairs committee. The bill aims to create uniformity in GI Bill benefits for Guard and Reservists “who increasingly conduct similar training and missions as other servicemembers, but do not receive equal benefits.” More specifically, the bill expands the benefit eligibility of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to count each day that any activated servicemember is paid and in uniform; this specification of each paid day in service should help eliminate “confusion over which types of duty allow Guard troops to qualify for federal education benefits.”

Current Service Requirements

Currently, National Guard members are required to serve 90 days (at least 30 days of continuous service) to reach eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Automatic qualification is granted to Purple Heart recipients. While the average Guardsman does serve around 60 days during a normal year, without any missions or deployments, one “day in the Guard doesn’t always equal one day of service.” Required weekend and annual training does not count toward benefit eligibility.

“Fairness to the way GI Bill benefits are earned…”

Of the intent behind the bill, Rep. Levin released a statement saying, “This bill will bring some basic fairness to the way GI Bill benefits are earned and provide Guard and Reserve members with the benefits they deserve. I look forward to advancing this bill on behalf of the thousands of Guard members who [have recently] defended our Capitol and many others who have sacrificed for our country.”

Since 9/11, the role of the Reserve Component has changed drastically. Originally created as a strategic division, they have now evolved into an integral and operational part of U.S. defense. “Servicemembers from the Active and Reserve Components often train and serve alongside each other… but do not receive equal benefits.” While this alone is enough support for a bill of this nature, the most recent catalyst for its reintroduction came after the announcement “that 2,300 National Guard troops [would] remain deployed in Washington, D.C., at least until May 23, 2021,” a response to the recent insurgence on our nation’s capital.

Rep. Takano released a statement highlighting, “Time and time again, through natural disasters, global pandemics, and threats to our democracy, our National Guard and Reserve members have answered the call to serve. But despite taking on the same risks and doing the same jobs as their Active Duty counterparts, these servicemembers don’t have access to the same benefits. That’s not right.”

Many Guard and Reservists are in agreement

And the masses agree with Rep. Takano. One Reddit user said of this disparity, “deploying to a combat zone for at least six months should qualify a guardsman for 100% GI Bill. It’s outrageous that people who are basically in a jobs program doing nothing in the motor pool for three years and never deploy receive 100% and they do not.”

Another commented, “when I went to college, I was receiving 60% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I had finished a 400 day mobilization for my deployment to Iraq so that was all I got. It was still a great benefit to have… but sometimes I had to dip into retirement savings to pay the difference. I had other Vets in my classes who had been on active duty but had never left the state of California and were receiving the full benefit. Yes they earned it by the letter of the law, but there is little difference between my stateside drills/annual training/NCOES/etc and theirs. If I had been allowed to count all of my Reserve time I would have received 70% which would have made a big difference for me. I really hope this becomes law. Granted Reserve and Guard wouldn’t earn the benefit as fast, but it would be better than what they get now.”

Long-awaited Legislation has widespread support

There is widespread support for this long-awaited legislation among those in positions to support the military community, as well. Veterans Education Project (VEP) Legislative Director Donald Franklin said, “These brave men and women are long overdue the benefits befitting their service.” Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO voiced, “The expanded eligibility under [this act] takes a major step forward by recognizing the reserve component’s sacrifice to our nation and rewarding their service with education benefits like their active-duty counterparts.” And Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Karen Craig, President of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States responded, “We appreciate the[se] efforts… to ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserve are eligible for the GI Bill benefits they deserve based on their increased service to our nation. The National Guard activated over 187,000 servicemembers last year, and this legislation will ensure they receive GI Bill benefits equal to their active-duty counterparts, regardless of status.”

Whether this proposed legislation will be passed is still up in the air, but those in support of it are dedicated to making sure it remains a priority. With the larger focus currently residing strongly on pandemic response efforts, supporters hope that it can be “included in the annual defense authorization bill expected to pass later this fall.”

 

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Certificate for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

TESOL Certificate: Earn a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Part of our Less School, More Pay series

English is one of the most widely used languages in the world. The fields of science, commerce, aviation, and education (among others) all require a strong knowledge of the English language. Many global careers and international educational institutions are conducted in English. Both industrialized and developing countries often require their students to learn English as a second language in school. Refugees and immigrants to English speaking countries will need to learn and refine their English language skills as they establish themselves in their new homeland. There is thus a considerable demand for qualified teachers of English, both in the United States and abroad.

An education in TESOL enables individuals to work with second language learners in the United States or work internationally teaching English. The majority of TESOL jobs will be offered in educational settings including primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. Yet, there are also a wide variety of jobs in nontraditional educational settings such as corporate trainings, nonprofit organizations, and government-sponsored programs.

What Makes a Great TESOL Program

A great TESOL program will educate its future teachers how to successfully:

  • develop lessons focusing on critical language structures in support of second language development
  • contextualize instruction based on existing language proficiency and academic strengths
  • plan, implement, and modify appropriate instructional strategies to meet the needs of individual students

TESOL Certificates

A certificate in TESOL can be earned independently or in conjunction with a degree seeking program. Earning a certificate independently from a degree seeking program can typically be accomplished in one year or less.

Earning a TESOL certificate while already possessing an associate or bachelor’s degree will open up a wide range of teaching and employment opportunities above and beyond the variety of opportunities available with a standalone certification.

Jobs with a Certificate in TESOL

TESOL Teacher Assistant

Works with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

Median Annual Salary: $28,000.

Adult TESOL Teacher

Instructs adults in basic skills, such as reading and speaking English. In many programs a degree is not required. Adult TESOL teachers also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.

Median Annual Salary: $54,000.

Elementary TESOL Teacher

Instructs young students in basic subjects in order to prepare them for future schooling. A bachelor’s degree in any subject is usually required to gain preliminary certification.

Median Annual Salary: $59,000.

Training Specialist

Plans and administers programs that improve the skills and knowledge of their employees.

Median Annual Salary: $61,000.

Schools Offerings TESOL Certificates

Ready to get started on a Certificate Teaching English to Speakers to Other Languages? Check out these great programs at the following schools.  Partner schools may be included as part of promotional efforts.

For more info on what military and veterans should consider when choosing a school, please see The 17 Most Important Veteran Education Benefits.

Biola University

Offers three different TESOL certificates.

    • Graduate Certificate in TESOL – this can be acquired after completing the first year of the M.A. in TESOL, in conjunction with another master’s program, or on its own as a stand-alone program.
    • Undergraduate Certificate in TESOL – this can be acquired as part of an undergraduate degree at Biola.
    • Departmental Entry-Level Certificates – for students who complete one or more classes but do not fulfill the credits required for the above certificates, this certificate specifies the number of contact hours.

Biola University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Multnomah University

Offers an advanced TESOL certificate program. This program is designed for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree but are not seeking a full degree at this time. Multnomah University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Online TESOL Certificate Programs

Buena Vista University

Offers a graduate certification in TESOL for K-12 teaching. This is a fully online program intended to enhance the skills of educators who hold a degree and teaching license. Buena Vista University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Colorado Christian University

Offers an online, accredited, graduate-level Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) certificate program. Colorado Christian University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Post University Online

Offers a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) program. Post University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

University of Central Florida

Offers an undergraduate Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate and a graduate TEFL certificate. The University of Central Florida participates is a Yellow Ribbon school.

*All statistics and calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information click here.

 

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Veterans: Enroll & Launch Your Education Adventure

Now it’s time to enroll and launch your education adventure.  It is important to note that the enrollment process, procedures, and requirements differ from school to school.

You may find that some schools require minimum scores on the SAT or ACT assessment exams.  While others may waive these requirements for adult learners like veterans. In addition, some schools may require you to take placement exams to determine if you need remedial courses.

I’m Enrolled, What’s Next?

It is during the enrollment stage that you will need to submit your Joint Services Transcript (JST) and in some cases you may be asked for your high school transcripts. Learn more about gathering and submitting transcripts.

You will also want to include any documentation or scores for any of CLEP Exams or DSST exams you may have taken in the past.

Here are some resources to help you navigate this final step:

Your Pre-Launch checklist is now complete. The list was designed to ensure you have a firm footing as you prepare to start college. We have several resources and articles that can help you as you complete the enrollment phase.

List of Education Resources for Veteransy

Here is a quick list of resources to help you succeed in school:

 

 

 

As a Student Veteran, You Already Have Everything You Need to Be Successful in College

You Already Have What a College Student Needs

A college degree is arguably the best way to reach your career goals, create new opportunities, find your dream job, and increase income. Unfortunately, the cost, time, and effort it takes to earn a degree can be overwhelming. But, thanks to your military experience you have a leg up in all three of those areas.

Let’s break it down this way:

The Cost Of A College Education

The cost of a college tuition alone can run over $40,000 a year. But, thanks to your military education benefits you can virtually eliminate the cost of higher education through programs like military tuition assistance and the GI Bill©.

The Time Required to Get a Degree

Earning a degree typically takes between 4 and 5 years. However, your military experience can reduce the number of classes needed to earn your degree through a program known as ACE (American Council on Education). ACE is used by schools to determine the number of college credits they can grant for your military training and experience.

The Effort Needed For Your Education

Unlike most freshman college students that have never had to push themselves through adversity, your training and experience in the military has given you the focus and tenacity to meet the demands of earning your degree.

Your combination of education benefits, life experience, and support programs will ensure your success as you prepare for going to college. So, don’t let your concerns about Money, Time and Effort slow you down.

 

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Active Duty and College: College While in the Military

If you are active duty military and want to further your education, you have options. You can take classes online, go to a local college or university, or you can attend classes at your duty station. Here we’re exploring options for college for active duty military on base.

The option to attend college at your duty station can be the right one. But if you want to explore all your options, try our College Search tool to find the right school for you.

Benefits for Military Going to School at Your Duty Station

Here are some of the benefits of going to school on installation.

Shorter classes

You should be able to get the same credits done in a shorter amount of time. This is helpful so that you can take more classes in between training and deployments. This gives you more flexibility over other schooling choices.

Military Friendly

Your military experience will be valued. The classrooms of military friendly colleges know what it is like to be active duty military.

Shorter commute times!

It will simply be easier to get to class. You can attend right after you get off work or even during other times of the day depending on your schedule. This will be easier than having to commute or drive into a city to attend classes.

What if you are stationed overseas?

There are also colleges and universities that have contracts to be able to have classes at overseas military installations.

If you are overseas, you can check and see what is available where you are.

Being able to take classes there means you won’t have to put your education on hold while you are stationed overseas.

Can you go to school on base if you are deployed?

Yes, the University of Maryland University College was awarded a 54-month contract offering undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate classes in 9 locations downrange.

This will allow service members to attend classes and further their education while they are deployed.

They also have locations in Europe and North Africa, including seven in Italy and 19 in Germany.

What if you are a military spouse?

Military spouses can also attend classes on a military installation.

That will make things a little easier for them as they support their service member and continue their education at the same time.

With easy access to CDCs (Child Development Centers) on the installation, going to school there will make the whole process a bit easier for the spouse.

RELATED: How To Transfer Your Post-9/11 GI Bill to Spouse and Dependents

Are there any downsides to going to school on installation?

Unfortunately, not all classes or programs are offered on military installations. In some cases, you would have to figure out another way to go to school. They also might have smaller class sizes that fill up faster which is something to keep in mind. You might not be in a traditional looking classroom if space is limited and that will depend on your duty station.

Why get a degree when you are active duty?

Going for your degree as an active duty service member is a good idea.

Not only will you be taking advantage of the VA benefits you receive from joining the military but you can be working towards a successful future at the same time.

For some, going to school is the road they have to take to become an officer. For others, going to school will help them after they ETS and start a new career.

Remember to stay flexible

When you go to get a degree while serving in the military, things will not be as streamlined as they would be if you were not in the military.

You should remain flexible.  You may not have a choice! You may have to take a lot of pauses before you are able to complete your degree. Finding a flexible way to get your education is a must.

What do I need to do to get started?

If you would like to see what your options are, start with your installation’s education center. They should be able to tell you what schools are available, what classes you can take, and what you need to do to get started.

Make sure you develop a good plan and stay organized through the process of going to school while serving as active duty in the military.

 

RELATED EDUCATION PROGRAMS:

 

TUITION ASSISTANCE:

 

 

Cost of College: What Does Your Education Cost?

After you decide to go to college, whether you are a high school senior, or have been serving in the military for ten years, you will need to figure out the costs of college as well as how you will be paying for everything. The costs associated with going to college differ based on the school, your living situation, and if you are going to go to school full or part-time.

Here is a breakdown of the costs associated with school and how you can help pay for them:

Paying for College Tuition

Your tuition is the cost of instruction. Colleges can charge this by semester, quarter, or even credit hours. Public universities have an in-state rate and an out-of-state rate. To be considered in-state you most likely will need to have been living in that state for a full year. Tuition rates can be different based on your major too.

Paying For Fees

College fees are for services associated with the college or university. They usually include things like the library, student government, and activities. They will vary based on the school and what they have to offer.

Often schools combine the tuition and fees into one amount. You should make sure to check out the breakdown, so you know exactly what the money’s for.

According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 year were:

  • $34,740 for private schools
  • $9,970 for in-state public schools
  • $25,620 for out-of-state public schools

For Veterans, or members of the military community using the Post-9/11 GI Bill:

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is going to be one of the primary ways you can pay for your tuition and fees. The GI Bill should be able to cover the cost of going to any public college and up to $23,671.94 for a private school

Note 1: That is the rate as of August 1st, 2018. Prior to August 1st it’s $22,805.34.

Note 2: As of Veterans Day 2015, all 50 states provide in-state tuition to veterans regardless of official state of residence.  So there is no out-of-state cost of tuition for veterans using their GI Bill.

If you, however, need them to pay for more than that, you can look into the Yellow Ribbon program which will allow you to have the school and the VA pay the difference between the annual maximum cap that the GI Bill pays and the actual cost of the school.

Tuition Assistance is also a way to have your tuition paid for. The terms vary by your branch but all of them include paying up to $250 per credit hour, and the money is paid directly to the school.

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Paying for College Room and Board

No matter who you are, you will have to pay to live during the time you go to college. For a more traditional college student, this can mean living on campus in the dorms. If this is what you are planning to do, there will be a certain amount that you would have to pay per semester or year to live there. You might have different options based on the school and what they have available to you.

If you are a freshman or sophomore, there could be a requirement to live on campus at your school. This will depend on the rules of the college or university. In other cases, there could be a waiting list to live on campus.

If you decide to live off campus, instead of room and board you would pay for your rent and any living expenses. If you are trying to decide what is cheaper, you would want to take a look at the cost of rent in the area, what your share would be if you had a roommate, and compare that to the school’s room and board costs.

Dining plans are also a part of room and board, and those can be flexible. You might want to get a full plan paying for three meals a day or a smaller plan assuming you won’t have all of your meals in the dining hall.

The average costs of room and board for the 2017-2018 year was $10,800 for a four-year public school and $12,210 for a private college or university.

The Post 9/11-GI Bill will give you a monthly housing allowance based on BAH rates for the state you plan to live in. This money will go straight to you and you could use it towards room and board, or living off-campus.

RELATED: Calculate Your BAH With Our BAH Calculator

Books and Supplies

Another college expense would be books and supplies. These sometimes include a computer or other required equipment. You can buy used textbooks to save money, and some schools allow you to rent them.

The average costs for books and supplies for the 2017-2018 school year was $1,250 for a public school and $1,220 for a private school.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill will give you $1,000 a year to help pay the cost of books. Due to the averages listed above, most likely that will cover all or almost all of your books and supplies.

Personal Expenses

You will have personal expenses while going to school such as the cost of transportation, a cell phone, and entertainment costs. These are usually costs you would have anyway, even if you were not going to school, but they are good to be aware of when planning your budget for the school year. If you live on campus and only have to go on a short walk to get to your classes, you will be paying a lot less than if you live 30 minutes from campus and have to commute.

Scholarships can be a good way to find the pay to pay for your schooling beyond the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance. This is even more important for military spouses. While some military spouses can qualify and receive MYCAA, not everyone can, and that might not be enough.

There are scholarships such as the AMVETS, which gives $4,000 each year, Fisher House for Military Children which gives $2,000 or Pat Tillman which can give you an average of $10,000 for school. Scholarships usually always pay for tuition and fees and sometimes for room and board, and books and supplies. There are different terms based on the award on what you can use the money for.

CLEP and DSST are exams you can take to receive college credit. Taking these exams means not having to take as many classes. This can lower your tuition rates, and if you can take enough of them, you can even shave off a semester or even a year from your college plan. You can also get college credit for your military service through ACE, which is the American Council on Education that evaluates military service for college credit.

Using the data from CollegeRecon, here is a comparison of costs based on a few different educational options:

The University of Maryland – Public

Tuition and Fees: In-state-$10,399, Out-of-state-$33,606

Room and Board: $12,004

Books and Supplies: $1,250

Other Expenses: $2,440

Total: In-state-$26,093, Out-of-state-$49,300

Baylor University – Private

Tuition and Fees: $43,970

Room and Board: $12,163

Books and Supplies: $1,200

Other Expenses: $3,080

Total: $60,413

San Diego State University – Public

Tuition and Fees: In-state-$7,460, Out-of-state-$19,340

Room and Board: $15,966

Books and Supplies: $1,854

Other Expenses: $2,944

Total: In-state-$28,224, Out-of-state-$40,104

Yale University – Private

Tuition and Fees: $51,400

Room and Board: $15,500

Books and Supplies:$3,670

Other Expenses: $720

Total: $71,290

Although seeing the full figure of admission cost for colleges and universities can be overwhelming, as a military service member, spouse or dependent, you do have many options. There are a lot of ways to pay for school that doesn’t include having to pay 100% of the costs yourself. Make sure to take advantage of any program you qualify for so you can have the best experience when it comes to paying for college.

 

 

Coast Guard College Education Programs

College Education Programs for Those Serving in the Coast Guard

There are many ways to serve in the military, one way to do so is through the Coast Guard. And through USCG Education programs there are many different opportunities to grow in your career in the Coast Guard, or to get a jump-start on a civilian career.

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)

This program is for motivated people who can demonstrate a high caliber of academic and leadership excellence and those who would like to serve in the coast guard.

  • You can apply for CSPI if you are currently enrolled, accepted for enrollment, or have a pending enrollment in a full-time bachelor’s degree at a college or institution.
  • If you are accepted to CSPI, you will be enlisted into the US Coast Guard, complete basic training during the summer, and receive full funding for up to two years of college.
  • Funding is your tuition, books, fees, full-time coast guard salary, housing allowance and medical benefits.
  • During your school breaks, you can receive training and exposure to coast guard missions and units where you learn about the daily life and duties of coast guard officers and enlisted members.
  • Students who attend CSPI might be able to participate in a cruise on a Coast Guard Cutter depending on what is available.
  • After your junior year, you attend a three-week leadership training course in New London, CT during the summer.
  • After college, graduates will attend the 17-week officer candidate school (OCS) and after finishing that will receive a commission as an ensign, O-1 and an assignment in a coast guard mission field.
  • During OCS, a student will compete for positions for after graduation and commissioning. These will be in one of the four main officer operational specialties including afloat, aviation, prevention, and response.
  • There are also age, character, citizenship, clearance, dependant, education, GPA, financial, military service, interview, physical, test scores, and tattoo policies as well as program-specific requirements in order to attend CSPI.

Wilks Flight Initiative (WIFI)

  • This program is for high performing officer trainees in their senior year of the CSPI program who demonstrate a strong desire as well as aptitude to become a part of the coast guard’s aviation community.
  • You can apply for a guaranteed appointment to flight school in Pensacola, Florida upon completion of CSPI and OCS. Then you can start your career as a coast guard pilot.
  • You must be a senior in the CSPI program meeting all aspects of the statement of understanding.
  • It is required to pass a class 1A flight physical examination and you must be between 62 and 77 inches tall.
  • You will need to have a qualifying test score on the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB.)
  • There are program specific requirements, an interview, as well as three letters of recommendations that are required when applying. One of those needs to be from your Recruiter in Charge.
  • After you complete OCS, you will receive a commission as an ensign O-1 with a three year active duty service commitment.
  • The active duty service commitment for flight school is eight years after you finish flight school. This means that with the three year commitment for OCS, you would need to serve for a total of 11 years if you also completed flight school.
  • If for some reason you are not able to complete your flight training requirement, you will be reassigned to a coast guard unit and continue your career as a coast guard commissioned officer. You will need to serve three years plus a month for every month you completed of flight training.

United States Coast Guard Academy

  • The US Coast Guard Academy is one of the five federal service academies in New London, CT. There mission is to produce leaders of character for service to the nation.
  • Those who complete four years at the Academy will receive a Bachelor in Science as well as commission as an ensign in the coast guard. Graduates from the Academy develop physically, morally, and spiritually during their time there.
  • ⅔ of the graduates go with technical majors which include civil engineering, electrical engineering, operations research and computer analysis, and marine environmental science.
  • CGA is tuition free, and as a cadet, you will also earn a modest paycheck. You would then have to serve five years after you graduate.
  • Applications are accepted online and due on February 1st.

Direct Commission Program

The Direct Commission Program represents one of the primary ways that the coast guard meets critical specialty needs. The programs are designed for highly motivated people with specialized education and experience in several different fields.

Here are the different Direct Commission Programs:

Direct Commission Aviator (DCA)

Following this path, you can be involved in missions such as drug interdiction, immigration, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, marine safety, fisheries, and law enforcement in the maritime environment.

Direct Commission Physician Assistant Program (DCPA)

In this program, you can serve your country as a Physician Assistant.

Direct Commission Engineer (DCE)

This program helps engineers and technologists in program management and implementing systems that enable and support coast guard missions.

Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)

This modern coast guard intelligence program has cultivated extensive partnerships with other elements of the national intelligence community. They hope to provide timely, tailored support for a wide range of coast guard and national missions.

Direct Commission Lawyer (DCL)

Licensed attorney or three year law students can serve their country under this program.

Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS)

This program is for college graduates, and college seniors who have proven their character and leadership through an ROTC program, corps of cadets membership or have attended one of the federal military academies.

Maritime Academy Graduate MARGRAD

Graduates have education and training that enhances the coast guard’s ability to carry out its operational missions. Individuals that are selected will serve as a coast guard reserve officer on full-time active duty.

Prior Trained Military Officer (PTMO)

This is for current or former military officers with training or degrees in critically needed areas, who would like to apply for a direct commission in the coast guard.

Tuition Assistance

There is also Coast Guard Tuition Assistance

    • There is an annual cap of $2,250 with the fiscal year being October 1st through September 30th.
    • Once you use the maximum allowed per year, there will not be any waivers for additional money.
    • The Coast Guard Tuition Assistance cap does not mean that the coast guard will guarantee to pay the full amount.
    • Tuition Assistance is available for undergraduate and graduate courses up to Master’s Degrees.
    • The caps are $250 per semester hour, $166.66 per quarter hour, or $16.67 per clock hour.
    • Fees are not funded with Tuition Assistance.

Go Deeper: USCG Tuition Assistance

Health Profession Programs

If you would like to go into the medical field, there are health profession programs you can go into. After you finish you will be apart of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps detailed to the coast guard.

You can become a:

Clinical and Rehabilitation Therapist

You will be able to treat patients at coast guard accession sites, which is at Training Center Cape May and the Coast Guard Academy.

Dental Officer

As a dental officer, you would be able to focus on clinical practice without having to maintain a business at the same time.

Environmental Health

You would ensure public health and safety in a variety of domestic roles if you follow this path. During natural disasters and other emergencies, you would protect the coast guard from environmental threats as well as help communities recover.

Health Services

With a career in health services, you would represent different disciplines such as biological, physical, and the social sciences.

Pharmacist

As a pharmacy officer, you will work at coast guard clinics and have a better work variety than you would in a typical pharmacy setting.

Physician

As a medical officer, you can enjoy leadership opportunities, excellent benefits, and a good work/life balance while improving the health of the coast guard.

 

As you can see, there are quite a few ways to further your education with the coast guard. Check and see if any of these options are right for you and your career goals.

 

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Post-9/11 GI Bill: The Ultimate Overview

There are several different versions of the GI Bill, but here we are discussing the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  About 80% of all users of the GI Bill utilize this version. In order to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill you must have active military service on or after September 11, 2001.

Post-9/11 GI Bill: All The Ways You Can Use It

  • College Degrees – Associate, Bachelor, or higher
  • Vocational/Technical Training including non-college programs
  • On-the-Job/Apprenticeship Programs
  • Licensing & Certification Reimbursement
  • National Testing Programs like SAT, CLEP, AP, DSST
  • Flight Training
  • Correspondence Training
  • Work-study
  • Tuition Assistance Top-Up
  • Tutorial Assistance

Going to College or University

Sure, you can use your GI Bill to go to college, everybody knows that.  Did you know that you can use your GI Bill to get an associates degree, bachelor degree, or higher?  If you have one degree you can use your GI Bill to get another one.

If you are a bit rusty on your academic skills after being in the military, you can use your GI Bill for refresher training.

You can use your GI Bill at community colleges, state colleges, private colleges, online colleges, foreign colleges and more.

What Costs Does The Post-9/11 GI Bill Cover?

  • Up to 100% Tuition and Fee Coverage
  • Monthly Housing Allowance (see GI Bill BAH Rates)
  • Up to $1,000 a year for Books and Supplies
  • Ability to Transfer GI Bill to spouse and dependents

If you go to a state school, the VA will pay all your tuition & fees for necessary classes. You will also be provided a monthly housing allowance.

  • The GI Bill BAH Rate is equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing rate that an E-5 with dependents would receive.
  • Your housing allowance rate is based on the ZIP code of the school you are attending.
  • You are not eligible to receive a housing allowance if you are on active duty.
  • The GI Bill pays you up to $1,000 each year for your books.

There are a few differences if you go to a private or foreign school. Your tuition reimbursement is limited to a legislatively mandated maximum amount which changes each year.  The Post 911 GI Bill will currently pay up to a maximum of $26,042.81 for the 2021-2022 school year for private or foreign colleges. This is up from $25,162.14 for the 2020-2021 school year and $24,476.79 for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Yellow Ribbon Schools

Schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program have partnered with the VA to help offset the costs not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  Here is a list of participating Yellow Ribbon Schools.

If you go to a foreign school your housing allowance is based on the national average US housing allowance.

One more thing, if you are going strictly to online classes – no classroom sessions – your housing allowance is ½ the national average.

The current MHA or Post 9/11 GI Bill BAH rate for online schools is $901.00 for the 2021-2022 academic year (Aug 1, 2021 – Jul 31, 2022).

If you are going to school as a less than full-time student you only get a percentage of your GI Bill. So, if you are only attending classes as a half-time student you get half of the housing allowance, etc.

Still not enough? If you served less than 3 years of active duty your payment will be reduced too. But this doesn’t affect most people.

 

>> Use CollegeRecon’s Program Matcher to find GI Bill®-Approved Schools.  This tool will take your Education Goals and find schools with matching programs.  

 

Most people think the GI Bill means college and nothing else. Well, we are here to tell you that yes indeed, the GI Bill does pay for college, but it also pays for so much more.

Vocational/Technical School

Want to learn a trade or sharpen your technical skills?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will help you. If you want to go to a technical or trade school to learn:

  • Computer Networking
  • Cake Decorating
  • Law Enforcement
  • Dental Hygiene
  • And many more…

The GI Bill will basically pay you the same amount as if you were going to college.

Testing Programs – SAT, LSAT, GMAT, LCAT

Need to take a test to get into college like the SAT, LSAT, GMAT, or LCAT? Want to take a test for college credit like the CLEP, DSST, or AP test?

RELATED: Colleges With GMAT Waivers For Military

The GI Bill will pay you up to $2,000 for each test. There’s no limit to the number of tests you can take, and it doesn’t matter if you pass or not. You can even retake tests you passed if the test is required to recertify or keep a license you need for work.

Certification & Licensing Programs

Looking to get a certification or license for a profession such as:

  • Realtor
  • Mechanic
  • Medical Technician
  • Therapist
  • Computer Network Engineer
  • Website Developer
  • Project Manager
  • Other professionals

The GI Bill has that covered and your tests may be reimbursable by the VA.  There is no limit to the number of tests you can take, or number of times you may take the same test. And, VA will pay for tests even if you fail them.

The VA will pay you up to $2,000 per test.

On-The-Job and Apprenticeship Training

Want to become a master of skilled trades or professions like union plumber, firefighter, steamfitter, electrician, or gunsmith?

The GI Bill will pay for approved apprenticeship or on-the-job training programs that allow you to get paid your GI Bill money while you draw a paycheck.

The payment process for these programs works a bit differently than other GI Bill programs.

When you are in an apprenticeship program you draw a salary. Usually, you start out with a very low rate of pay and get raises every six months while you are in training. Depending on your job, an apprenticeship can last 18-36 months until you reach fully qualified or journeyman status.

To offset this, the GI Bill payments are as follows:

  • 1st 6 months of training – 100% of your applicable housing allowance
  • 2nd 6 months you get 80% of your applicable housing allowance, but you get a raise from your employer
  • 3rd 6 months you get 60% of your applicable housing allowance, but you get another raise from your employer
  • 4th 6 months you will receive 40% of your applicable housing allowance, but you will get another raise from your employer
  • For the remainder of your training, you will get 20% of your applicable housing allowance

You also get up to $83 per month for books and supplies.

Flight Training

If you flew planes in the military, you might like to do that after you get out. Problem is that to fly commercial aircraft you usually need platform-specific qualifications. These qualifications can be very expensive, for example, a B787 rating can cost you upwards of $30,000 depending on your current certification. The GI Bill will help you pay for those expensive classes.

To get a flight rating you usually need classroom, simulator, and flight hours, this can vary. For example, if you’ve already qualified on the MH60 or UH60 helicopter you may not need as many sim, flying or classroom hours as somebody who has never flown one.

To get any GI Bill payments you need to be in possession of a private pilot’s license and a FAA medical certification.

Flight School Payment Amounts

Payment amounts vary depending on what type of school you are going to.

If you are enrolled in a:

Degree program that consists of flight training at a state college

You can basically expect to get your full cost paid for by the GI Bill, a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for books-and-supplies. However, this is very rare as there aren’t a lot of state colleges offering flight training.

Degree program that consists of flight training at a private college

You can be reimbursed up to the full cost of the training or the legislatively mandated national maximum amount (whichever is less) each year. You may also receive a monthly housing allowance and books-and-supplies stipend.

Vocational flight training program

You can be reimbursed the cost of the training up to the annual maximum amount which is mandated by law. Currently, that annual maximum amount is $14, 881.59 in 2021, up from about $13,000.

Tuition Assistance Top-Up

If you’re on active duty, you may use Tuition Assistance. Tuition Assistance is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

While Tuition Assistance technically can pay the full cost of your college tuition, in reality, most branches will normally pay a maximum of 75% of the actual tuition. You must pay for your books and other expenses out-of-pocket.

This is where Tuition Assistance Top-Up comes in. The Tuition Assistance Top-Up program will pay you your GI Bill to make up the difference between what Tuition Assistance pays and what your actual charges are.

Tuition Assistance Top-Up can be a good or a bad use of your GI Bill. Normally, it isn’t a good one and not one we’d recommend.

Using Tuition Assistance Top-Up is a good deal if you plan to use Tuition Assistance to complete a degree while on active duty, and don’t plan to continue your education after service.

Tuition Assistance Top-Up can also be helpful for just taking a few courses with Tuition Assistance while on active duty. Then you can save most of your GI Bill to use after you get out of the military to complete your education in a military friendly college.

You need to consider carefully your own situations, and check with your education officer or counselor, before applying for Tuition Assistance Top-Up.

Tutorial Assistance

OK, you’re going to college and having a hard time of it, in fact, you may be close to failing your classes, don’t despair. The GI Bill will even pay you to hire a tutor to help you get back on track with your classes.

The VA will pay you up to $100 a month for a private tutor, up to a maximum amount of $1,200. The tutor must meet the college’s qualifications and can’t be a close relative.

So, as you can see if you are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill you have lots of different options on how you can use it. The GI Bill is a great benefit that most people don’t get, make sure you use it.

 

NEXT STEP: How to Get Your Post-911 GI Bill Benefits

 

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A Community College for Airmen & Women

How Airmen & Women Can Enroll at The Community College of the Air Force

Being active duty in the Air Force means that you are also afforded opportunities to continue your education while serving. How? Through the Community College of the Air Force.  The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is a worldwide multi-campus community college established to meet the educational needs of the Air Force’s enlisted personnel.

CCAF partners with over 108 affiliated Air Force schools, 82 Education Service Offices located worldwide, and more than 1,500 civilian academic institutions to serve approximately 300,000 active, guard, and reserve enlisted personnel. This makes CCAF the world’s largest community college system. The college annually awards over 22,000 associate in applied science degrees from 68 degree programs.

CCAF is The Only Degree-Granting Institution of Higher Learning in The World Dedicated Exclusively to Enlisted Personnel

The CCAF strives to meet the demands of the Air Force’s expeditionary environment and at the same time help airmen achieve their educational goals by capitalizing on job-related training and education as part of flexible degree completion programs.  

“Offer and award job-related associate in applied science degrees and other academic credentials that enhance mission readiness, contribute to recruiting, assist in retention, and support the career transitions and professional growth of the Air Force enlisted corps.” – CCAF Mission

Diverse CCAF Programs

There are countless programs under the CCAF umbrella that cater to the different needs of airmen & women. One of them being General Education Mobile (GEM).

GEM is a partnership between the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) and accredited civilian academic institutions that offer freshman/sophomore general education courses.  These courses are offered via distance learning format and meet the CCAF Associate in Applied Science (AAS) requirements.   

What is a General Education Mobile (GEM) Program?

  • A GEM program is a partnership between CCAF and civilian academic institutions
  • GEM offers general education courses to meet CCAF AAS degree requirements
  • Courses are offered in distance learning formats: anytime and anywhere
  • GEM reduces the CCAF educational impact of deployments, PCS, and family commitments

Why Enroll in a CCAF Program?

Enrolling in a CCAF program while enlisted in the Air Force could be the catalyst to set you up for a bright and successful future. As a result of keeping up your academic skills while serving, your transition into a bachelor’s degree program is likely to be smooth.

Depending upon your service, you could have full GI Bill benefits to pay for a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. The biggest hurdle to tackle when going to school after serving, is getting back into academic shape. (You won’t have that hurdle to tackle if you get an associate’s degree with the CCAF.)

Continuing your education through an associate in applied science degree will set you up for success. You’ll learn from real world experiences in the military while also learning in the classroom and staying ‘academically fit’. (Win, win!)

Enroll Today

Learn more about the opportunities that the CCAF can afford you, here.

 

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17 Most Important Veteran Education Benefits

Most Important Veteran Education Benefits

If you’re a veteran who’s going back to school, or still active duty looking to get your degree, veteran benefit programs can be confusing. There are a lot of considerations in your choice of schools.

But how do you know which not-for-profit schools provide the best veteran- and military-friendly programs for students?

CollegeRecon identifies the 17 key veteran benefits programs that are available on campuses to assist veterans and active-duty military. These benefits are available at community colleges, colleges and universities.

  1. BAH – The Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments you receive for the Post 9/11 GI Bill are based on the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for an E-5 with dependents. The Department of Defense adjusts the BAH every calendar year (or January 1) based on changes to housing osts across the country. BAH rates for online colleges, schools, or distance learning programs is $871. BAH is not paid during summer or winter breaks, but Spring Break counts. Dropping courses can negatively affect BAH payments.
  1. Campus SVA Chapter SVA chapters are student-veteran groups that have formed on college and university campuses to provide peer-to-peer networks for veterans who are attending those schools. The chapters are designed to be advocates for student veterans, and to help bridge the campus-to-career transition.
  1. Full-Time Veteran Counselor On Campus – A full-time veteran counselor is on campus to offer support and assistance for any array of student-veteran issues. These counselors will assist veterans in a number of ways, including helping them determine which services they need to succeed, and then directing how to engage them.
  1. Signed VA Principles of Excellence – Educational institutions participating in the Principles of Excellence program agree to follow a set of guidelines pertaining to student-veteran issues. Examples of these guidelines include: Providing students with a personalized form covering the total cost of an education program and designating a point-of-contact for academic and financial advising.
  1. Club/Association for Veterans – These institutions offer student-veteran clubs and associations on their campuses.
  1. Veterans Upward Bound Program – The Veterans Upward Bound Program is designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of post-secondary education. The program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring, and academic instruction in the core subject areas.
  1. 8 Keys To Veterans’ Success – The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success are steps that post-secondary institutions can take to assist veterans and service members in transitioning to higher education, completing their college programs, and obtaining career-ready skills. Schools participating in the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success pledge to make a real investment in their veteran students. This program should be a difference maker if the institution has followed through with their promise. Unfortunately no one polices the program to ensure the school is adhering to the program’s standards.
  1. Offers ROTC Program – The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is one of the best opportunities for you to get an invaluable experience while you earn a college degree. When enrolled in ROTC you learn and develop leadership skills and prepare for a career as an officer in the U.S. Military. You will learn first-hand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups, and how to conduct missions as a military officer.
  1. ACE Credit For Military Experience – The ACE Military Evaluations Program evaluates formal military training in terms of academic credit, allowing thousands of military personnel to earn credit for college-level learning acquired in the military. Your Joint Service Transcript (JST) may be sent as an official document to colleges and universities, at the student’s request, for use in the credential evaluation process.
  1. Follow ACE Standards For Credit – ACE’s Military Guide presents credit recommendations for formal courses and occupations offered by all branches of the military. All recommendations for college credits for military experience approval are based on ACE reviews conducted by college and university faculty members who are actively teaching in the areas they review.
  1. Awards Credit For CLEP Exam – The CLEP exams allow veterans to receive college credit by earning qualifying scores on any one or more of 34 assessments, allowing them to move directly into higher-level courses, saving time and money.
  1. Awards Credit For DSST ExamDSST (formerly DANTES) are also credit-by-examination tests. Whereas CLEP tests are almost exclusively used for lower-level credit at regionally accredited institutions, DSST’s are available for both upper and lower level credit.
  1. In-State Tuition Extended For Active Duty – These institutions charge active duty veterans, regardless of their actual state of residence, no more than the in-state tuition rate for a resident of the state.
  1. Approved For TA FundingMilitary Tuition Assistance (TA) is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% of the tuition expenses for its members. Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.
  1. Yellow Ribbon Program – Tuition & fees may exceed the amount the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay if you are attending a private school, or are attending a public school as a nonresident student. Institutions recognized as Yellow Ribbon Schools make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.

 

RELATED: List of Yellow Ribbon Schools

 

  1. Scholarships For Military – Apply for a military specific scholarship at these institutions to help drive down the cost of your education.
  1. Reduced Tuition For Military – These institutions offer tuition discounts for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Go here for a list of schools that rank highly across all veteran benefits programs 

The Key Factor: Credit for Military Training

Not all institutions are going to adhere to all of these categories or participate in every student-veteran benefits program. However, I do think that receiving credit for military experience is the most important consideration when searching for a college or university to attend.

If veterans or military personnel are able to acquire credit for military training, they are already helping to drive down another important factor, the price of an education. More credits acquired equals less courses to take for that particular degree.

In our ranking, earning credit is the most important factor when searching for a college or university as a veteran or military personnel.

How can this list better serve you?

Getting your degree is one of the best decisions you can make, no matter your age or expertise. It can also be the hardest decision (I know this from experience). There are thousands of higher education institutions in the U.S., and you have to choose just one.

This list is a good place to start. Finding the right school that fits your needs is a daunting task. Having somewhere to start, or even just a list to begin from, can help you begin the process.

It’s important to note that you can find schools based on numerous factors. If you look only at veteran support programs on campus, you’ll have a very different list than US News and the other ranking websites. Balance out your needs, criteria, and veteran preferences. And don’t be afraid to chuck it all and pick the school that just feels right, regardless of veteran friendliness.

If you are eager to begin conversations with admissions counselors at different institutions you can search for schools on CollegeRecon and “Request Info” from these schools.  These messages are private and your contact info will not be shared, so no annoying phone calls to dodge after the fact!

Remember, none of the college and university ranking lists are meant to make your decision. They are just baselines against which to measure other schools in your search. YOU have to make your own decision no matter how difficult it may be.

 

Find GI Bill®-approved Schools for Military and Veterans!

 

 

 

Having a Contact On-Campus Is a Game-Changer

How Having a Contact On-Campus Is a Game-Changer When Starting College

You’re already setting yourself up for success by going back to school. Congrats and way to go on making that big decision of an investment of time, energy, and money.

What is the next step to help you work toward a successful higher education experience? Make a contact on campus. Don’t be a stranger. Stand out. Be unique.

There are hundreds (and sometimes thousands, depending on the institution) of new students on campus each academic semester and year. Don’t get lost in the masses. Don’t be another number on the attendance list, another name on the roster, and just another student paying tuition.

Making a contact on campus can help you to be more successful in college because you will feel more comfortable and at ease on campus. Your anxiety will be lessened and therefore you’ll be more likely to reach out and make more connections, or it might inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and attend club meetings that seem interesting to you.

You will have a supporter on campus.

Most likely, you are not walking onto campus with a handful of buddies or your significant other. This is new territory for you and wouldn’t you rather have a supporter on campus prior to the day you step foot on campus?! We know we would!

You will be able to find the best fit institution for you.

By creating a relationship with a counselor or admissions personnel you can ask the important questions and tell this contact who you are, what your story is, and what exactly you need in a higher educational institution. As a student veteran your past experiences and future needs aren’t the same as your average college student. You should inform your contact on campus of what you are looking for on campus and find out before you make any decisions what your top institution picks have to offer you.

You will set yourself up for future opportunities.

We know from experience that having a close contact with a counselor, admissions personnel, or advisor can offer some very fortuitous pay-back in the long run. When someone of the administration or faculty has YOU on their mind, knows your name, or knows what you stand for they are more likely to offer your name when scholarships are offered, awards are given out, or one-in-a-lifetime opportunities arise.

Alright, so how do you go about doing this? You can start searching for the right college and reach out to admissions counselors to start the conversation. No need to go searching for email addresses or looking up names in a directory. Easy as pie. You’re tackling two big steps: Finding the institution that fits your personal needs and desires, as well as beginning the conversation and making that contact.

 

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