6 Ways for Veterans to Get a College Diploma

get a college diploma

Last week, in honor of Veteran’s Day, we discussed the type of education required in order to join the military as either an officer or an enlisted member. Today, in a continuation of ValidGrad‘s tribute to veterans and active-duty military members, we will discuss ways in which service members can get a college diploma or continue their education while they are serving and once they are discharged. This article will outline 6 educational benefits for service members so you can be aware of these programs and use them if needed!

Active duty educational benefits

As a member of the armed services in the US, there are several ways in which the government can help you to get a college diploma or continue your education while you are serving on active duty:

  1. Credit for career training. One of the first things you do in the military after you have completed boot camp is to go to a training school that gets you ready to take on the job you have joined the military to do. Training schools can range in length from 6 weeks to two and a half years, depending on the job that you are billeted to do once you get to your first post. Because the training for some of these positions is so rigorous, there are many colleges and universities (particularly in areas near a military base) that will award students credit for some of the training they receive in the military. That means that you could be one step closer to getting your college degree simply by training for your new job.
  2. Tuition. Active duty military members  receive 100% tuition assistance for up to 12 credits, per semester. If you are planning on attending college after serving your country or if you already have a degree but want to go back and get another one (or even finish off that first bachelor’s), this benefit is worth exploring.
  3. Officer training programs. There are several different scholarships provided by each branch of the military to allow enlisted members to finish their education, get a college diploma, and be awarded the rank of officer. Each branch has their own requirement, but all of these programs have an application process which usually entails a written application and interviews as well as a review of the applicants service record. If accepted the program allows for the member to leave active duty and go to school full time for a prescribed amount of time, and when done with their bachelor’s program return to service as an officer.

Veteran educational options to get a college diploma

Veterans often face difficulty when it comes to education. Once they are honorably discharged, veterans have access to a variety of benefits that can help them continue their education or pursue higher learning opportunities.

4. Post 9/11 GI Bill.  The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides a broad range of training options to veterans. The benefits can be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, on the job training and more.  The GI Bill will pay for up to 36 months at most colleges or universities, which allows enough time to get a college diploma if the veteran is going to school full time. In addition to tuition payment, the GI Bill will reimburse veteran students for some of the books and supplies required for college. One detail about the GI Bill that new service members need to consider is that it isn’t completely free. You are required to opt in to the GI Bill within your first few days in the military, and pay a small amount for your first 12 months in the military. If you are a young enlisted person, and think you may want to go to school and get a college diploma after your service, you should certainly consider taking advantage of the GI Bill.

5. Grants and scholarships. Though the GI Bill does cover many educational expenses, sometimes it is not enough to provide all the funding necessary to get a college diploma.  With that being said, there are a number of grants and scholarships available to veterans who choose to continue their education. These resources will help in providing you with the funding necessary for your college tuition, housing expenses while attending school, books, etc.

6. Some states give even more. Though this is not available in every state, it is important to mention benefits like the Hazelwood Act in Texas.  This act covers tuition expenses for veterans, spouses and children of service members who lost their lives in combat. In addition, the Hazelwood Act will pay the tuition of any service member that joined from Texas and returns to Texas for their education above and beyond what the GI Bill pays. That means that veterans from Texas who choose to get a college diploma from a Texas school can do so for absolutely no cost. If you aren’t from Texas, and you’re not sure what the specific educational benefits are from your state, check out the Department of Veteran’s Affairs website to see if there are any benefits you have available to you.

The brave men and women who lay their lives down for this country are truly wonderful. We at ValidGrad believe it is the least we can do as a country to help Veterans get a college diploma once they have completed their service. To all you Veterans, thank you for your service, and let us know if you ever need help getting a degree.

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