The high price of tuition doesn’t have to stand in the way of a great education — particularly if you are a member of the reserve component.
Every branch offers ways to pay for school, but some go above and beyond. While the Post-9/11 GI Bill opened the door for many reserve component personnel to utilize these education benefits, different branches offer tuition assistance and other programs designed to make getting a degree that much simpler—and more affordable!
And while the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) is being phased out, the benefits gained through the Post-9/11 GI Bill more than make up for the program for most people.
For those currently in college, you may be able to take advantage of ROTC scholarships, which can pay for your tuition. ROTC Cadets gain practical experience in management and problem solving while training to become military officers. After graduation, you can choose to serve part time at a unit close to home and begin your civilian career while still serving your country.
Most — but not all — reserve branches offer a form of tuition assistance to help its service members pay for school. Some are now relying on the great benefits offered through the GI Bill programs, both the Post-9/11 and the earlier Montgomery GI Bill Select Reserve (MGIB-SR). Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
For example, there currently \is no designated Navy Reserve tuition assistance (TA) program for Reservists not on active-duty — but those activated under Title 10 may qualify for TA. To be eligible to receive military tuition assistance, service members must be enlisted Naval Reservists ordered to active-duty for 120 days or more, or Naval Reservist Officers ordered to active-duty for two years or more. Visit Navy College Program for more information.
In the same vein, Marine Reservists qualify for Marine Tuition Assistance (TA) only if they are active reserve Marines and remain in that status while attending school. Each member receives $4500 per fiscal year, with a cap of $250 per semester hour, $166.67 per quarter hour, and $16.67 per clock hour. Contact your education office at [email protected] for more information.
Air Force Reserve
The Air Force Reserve offers several education options, including student loan repayment in selected career fields. The training for most career fields leads to college credits applicable to Community College of the Air Force degree programs — giving you a head start in accumulating credits for your degree. The Air Force Reserve also encourages on-the-job training and continuing education on all levels: Certain experiences, like those gained by aviation mechanics, can help Reservists qualify for special certifications/licensure, such as FAA licenses, at little or no cost. Visit Air Force Reserve Education Benefits for more information.
The Army Reserve will help you pay off your college loans with the Army’s Student Loan Repayment program. Soldiers who enlist in the Army Reserve for six years are eligible for repayment of up to $50,000 for selected specialties. The Army Reserve also offers tuition assistance which covers 100 percent of course costs for approved courses (up to $250 per credit hour and up to $4,500 per fiscal year). In addition, there are various scholarships available for qualified army reservists. Visit USAR Educational Benefits for more information.
It’s a great time to be a member of the National Guard!
There a number of scholarships designated for members of the National Guard. And, nearly every state and territory with a National Guard also offers education benefits for its members— usually for attending schools in that particular state.
Several states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee pay 100 percent tuition for in-state schools.
Some states, including Florida also pay for fees and even books. Vermont offers no-interest loans as needed, and other states vary their benefits and qualifications. Visit Education Programs to find out more about the various programs available to members of the National Guard and to connect with a local Education Services Officer to see which scholarships or programs are available to you.
Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed either the annual maximum cap for private institutions or the resident tuition and fees for a public institution. The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses and VA will match the same amount.. This can help service members pay higher private school, graduate school or out-of-state tuition.
The bottom line is, if you are in the military and want to earn a degree, there is really no monetary reason why you can’t. So contact your local education office to see what benefits you may have earned, and hit those books! Read comments