Each branch of the military offers several different forms of financial assistance to service members. Military college benefits come in many forms. Programs like the GI Bill pay for college after military service ends, while ROTC scholarships assist students who want to become officers. Other military and military reserve programs offer scholarships, student loan reimbursement and monthly stipends for living expenses while in school.
Use the Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill requires enlisted military members to pay $100 per month during their first year of service in order to receive college tuition assistance, which can be used for technical or vocational schools. The maximum benefit of up to $23,671 per year is available to those attending a private college or foreign school. GI Bill benefits are paid out monthly, on termination of military service when you're enrolled in school. Benefits can be up to $1,972 per month and generally last for 36 months. You have 10 years after honorable discharge to use the benefit. This program is managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and those interested should contact the VA or a military recruiter for specific details about eligibility.
Consider Post 9/11 GI Bill
Anyone who served on active duty in the military for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001, is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This program offers assistance with college tuition, fees, books and living expenses, in varying amounts depending on your length of service. Benefits are provided for a maximum of 36 months and are transferable to spouses and dependent children. If you enroll at a college that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, all of your tuition at state universities may be paid for, but there is a maximum benefit amount for private colleges.
Join Reserve Officers Training Corps
The Reserve Officers Training Corps, or ROTC, is a college elective that offers scholarships to students who are preparing to join the military. ROTC's merit-based scholarships help pay for all or part of a student's college tuition and expenses. The program is available for students in high school, college and graduate school who are seeking to assume leadership roles in the military as officers. The Simultaneous Member Program lets you serve in the military and join ROTC at the same time.
Compare Military Branch Scholarships
The different branches of the military all offer military education and scholarship programs. For example, the Army has a scholarship program for those looking to become chaplains. Also, the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program pays tuition for medical school students and for graduate students in dentistry, optometry, psychology or veterinary medicine programs at any accredited U.S. school.
Enlist in the Reserves
While enlisting in the Army Reserve pays a salary, there are also education benefits. If you enlist in the Reserve for six years, you're eligible for student loan reimbursement. The maximum loan repayment is $50,000 for eligible specializations. If you enroll in college while in the Reserve, the Army will cover up to $250 per credit hour. The Navy Reserve's program is called the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, but is available only to those who serve 90 days of active service in response to a war or national emergency.
Matt Rauscher has been writing professionally since 1996, recently serving as a contributing writer/film critic for "Instinct Magazine." He is also a novelist and co-author of a Chicago city guidebook. In 1997, Rauscher graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in rhetoric.