Furthering Your Education After the Military

woman in a library studying after being in the military

Serving in the military holds more benefits than just doing your part for the safety of your country. One of the biggest benefits military service can provide is financial assistance for continuing education. After serving, you can apply yourself to higher educational pursuits and have less stress about paying for it. 

The GI Bill 
The military offers numerous ways to continue your education after serving through the GI bill, initially passed in 1944 and expanded upon following the events of 9/11. The GI Bill guarantees financial coverage and assistance to service members. It was recently updated to allow service members to continue educational pursuits whenever it is right for them, and now includes options for independent learning. Independent learning courses, like online courses, allow students to learn on their own time and can make balancing learning and life easier to manage. These changes open up even more possibilities for service members to branch out and expand their educations. 

GI Bill Benefits 
Financial coverage under the GI bill varies depending on the length of your military service. Up to 100 percent of tuition costs can be covered if you have served for 36 consecutive months or if you served for 30 consecutive days and were honorably discharged due to disability. The GI bill covers and provides: Tuition costs up to 100 percent,  a stipend for living expenses, and a stipend for educational materials, like books. The GI bill also has allotments for certifications and licensing programs. These benefits are limited to $2,000. 

Transfer Credits 
Military service can grant you some higher education credits during the duration of your service. These credits can count towards a college degree. Transfer credits from the military are generally accepted by military friendly schools, especially if your intended area of study is similar or relevant to your skills during military service. Individual schools determine if they accept military related transfer credits at all, and which credits they will accept. Schools that do accept military transfer credits will require a military transcript to verify your eligibility. 

Additional Resources 
Military service is not just beneficial to you, but also to your spouse and children as well. If certain specifications are met, military spouses and children can also receive benefits for their education. Also, military service can lend itself to several discounts that can make continuing your education more affordable all around. Discuss your program eligibility with the VA to know what options are available. 

Furthering your Education 
With the assistance provided by the GI bill and your time serving, continuing educational pursuits can be affordable, rewarding, and worthwhile. Depending on the specifics of your time serving, you may be eligible for transfer credits from the military. These transfer credits can shorten the amount of time it will take to receive a degree. There is also military financial assistance for certifications and licensing programs for the trades. With a little effort and asking questions, your time serving in the armed forces can lead you straight to higher education, a successful career, and a more fulfilled life.

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