In honor of Memorial Day, I’d like to take a minute to thank those of you who are serving — or have served — your country. We are all in your debt. We’ve talked here before about financial aid for members of the military and military veterans, but in case you missed it, I wanted to give a quick run-down to those of you for whom higher education is in the cards. We have an extensive section on college tuition assistance, so I’ll just give you the headlines today. Feel free to poke around these links for more in-depth info.
The Montgomery GI Bill is one of the most vast federal program for veterans, ranging from housing and medical benefits to education benefits. For post 9-11 vets, the GI Bill got a major overhaul last summer to further expand education assistance. Despite some bumps and bruises in implementing the legislation this year, the new GI Bill allows vets who have served at least 90 days since 9-11 to receive up to the full cost of tuition and fees at the most expensive in-state school. The bill has additionally allowed for the provision of a housing and cost of living subsidy to full-time students.
Military Tuition Assistance
Every branch of the military provides Tuition Assistance (TA) to help its active duty members pay for college. At the present, TA provides up to $250 per semester-based credit hour, which is disbursed directly to your college or university. For more information about the application and approval process, contact your PO.
State Tuition Assistance, Fee Reductions, or Waivers
In addition to GI Bill benefits, most states subsidize tuition to some degree for veterans and dependents – in particular, for the children of deceased or disabled veterans. Contact your local Department of Veteran Affairs for more information.
Beyond governmental support for military education, there are over $300 million in private scholarships and grants for veterans, members of the military, and their families. Scholarships can be used in tandem with federal aid, so there’s no reason not to apply. One such example is the Scholarship Fund for Military Children Program, which provides $1,500 scholarships to the children of active duty, reserve, guard, retired and deceased military personnel. For applications and more information, contact your nearest commissary.
Federal Student Aid (Federal Loans, Grants, and Work-Study)
Just like non-military students, members of the military and their dependents may qualify for need-based student financial aid, such as federal loans, such as the Stafford Loans or Perkins Loans; the Pell Grant; and federal work-study. Like with private scholarships, financial aid can be used in tandem with military aid, so keep your options open by applying for both.
Are you an active duty member of the military or a veteran seeking more information about how financial aid can benefit you or your family members? Please visit our extensive section on military college benefits and feel free to leave your questions in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you. And again, thank you for serving your country!