Going to College for Free: Can You Afford not To?
Have you always dreamed of designing aircraft? Or do you desire a nursing certificate to back up your medical experience? Maybe you've always had your heart set on obtaining a degree that is meaningful to you.
Either way, financial aid can make a difference in obtaining your educational goal. It may mean being able to continue your education when you otherwise could not. It could also mean being able to attend the school of your choice despite deployments, hectic work schedules, and a mobile lifestyle.
Where the Money Is
The military encourages servicemembers to use all programs available, whether they are from federal, military-related, or private sources. There are many out there, and you'll likely find more than one to suit your educational needs.
Here are a few places to get you started.
- TuitionAssistance (TA): A financial assistance program providing active-duty personnel 100 percent funding of tuition costs.
- The GI Bill: Provides up to 36 months of education benefits during active duty and is payable for up to 15 years following your last release from service.
- Federal Student Aid: Federal loans, grants, and tuition programs are available to meet a variety of financial needs and education levels. Work-study programs are also available.
Don't forget that tax credits and deductions are available to help minimize expenses at tax time. Contact the IRS for more information.
The Application Process
Obtaining financial aid funding is not as complex as it might sound. With a bit of planning and organization, you'll be on your way. Depending upon the particular aid you're applying for, the application process and information needed may vary.
Here's an idea of what you can expect.
You are encouraged to contact your local education service office to set up an appointment with an education assistant. While waiting for a reply, you can begin exploring degree programs in the DANTES catalog for distance learning.
Previous college credit is important to any degree path, so applying for a military transcript (which provides recommended college credit for military occupational experience and training) is essential. Previous college credit transcripts earned at other institutions will also be requested when you reapply to a college. After approval of your financial aid (usually by an award letter, base education approval notice, etc.), you'll be on your way to enrolling in your first class.
Education pays. Don't let these educational opportunities pass you by as you plan for a brighter future.
|Tuition Assistance GI Bill Student Aid|
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