If you are serving in the United States military, thank you for dedicating your life to serve your country. Whether you are only staying in the military for the length of your initial commitment or plan on staying in for 20 years for full retirement, you are able to obtain a college education while enlisted. There are several universities that provide classes both in military base education centers and online for military service members and their spouses.
Of course, you probably have several questions that are unique to military service when it comes to attending college, whether onsite or online. Here's what you need to know.
How will you be able to pay for college?
To help cover the costs of college education, you have the option of using military financial aid services, such as your GI Bill, which can pay 40% to 100% of the tuition and fees. You are also eligible for tuition assistance and receive up to $4,500 for tuition and fees annually. Scholarships may also be available to you. Check with your college adviser for more information.
In order to get the most out of your education and to save tuition costs and fees, you'll need to make sure to update your Joint Services Transcript (JST) and apply those credits towards your college education. The JST validates your military training and experience and translates them into language that is accepted by the American Council on Education. It makes it easier for your college adviser to recommend college credits that you already have under your belt, which cuts down on the amount of courses for you to take towards your degree.
What if you get deployed or sent to military training while you're enrolled in college courses?
One of the first things that you may be concerned about is what would happen if you receive orders to deploy while you are enrolled in college courses? This is why it is important to enroll in a college that is military friendly. Before you enroll in a college, check their policies regarding mobilizations.
Typically, all you would need to do is provide them with a copy of your orders and your tuition and fees will be refunded and you will be withdrawn from courses. However, if you are nearing the end of the courses, you may be able to opt for receiving a final grade on what you have completed, if possible. Your college adviser will be able to help you determine your best option should you be mobilized.