One of the best parts about joining the military is the opportunities it brings. Some of those opportunities are related to travel and discounts, but you can also get access to several unique scholarships as well.
Here are the main opportunities you have available.
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
An ROTC scholarship for college will pay for your tuition, as well as a small monthly stipend. This can be a HUGE deal, because if you go to an out-of-state college, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of money without a full scholarship.
The downside, if you can call it that, is your obligation to work in the military for at least 4 years upon graduation. You will go in as an officer, provided that you actually finished your degree. What kind of officer you become typically depends on the type of degree you received, what you wanted and the current needs of the military.
Another option to look into is going to a military academy. Here you’ll receive free schooling, as well as some monthly pay.
The downside is that your life is NOT going to be easy. You march almost everywhere, you tend to where the office uniform of that branch most of the time, and you get yelled at a lot.
The good news is that you’ll be really fit and get a great education for zero financial cost! Not a bad deal.
As far as your military obligation after college goes, you’ll need to put in at least 5 years. If you get certain jobs, such as an air force pilot, that number goes way up to anywhere from 8 to 12 years.
The options discussed above pertained to those who weren’t in the military yet, but are considering it. The next two options are for those who are already in the military and want to further their education.
The 911 G.I. Bill has several main features. The first is a full tuition payment for a public school in the state that you’re registered in. If you choose to go to a private college instead, the most that the government will pay towards your tuition is the maximum cost of a public school in your state.
The second feature pays your fees. Most colleges have some fees tacked onto your tuition, but you don’t have to worry about them with this scholarship.
Finally, you get a monthly stipend. This stipend is based on the monthly housing allowance for an E-5 living in your area. Depending on where you live, this is usually at least $500!
The idea is that this stipend allows you to focus on school rather than having to work part time. Granted, even $1,000 a month is almost impossible to live on if you don’t have free lodging, but it’s a start.
The last option won’t always cover a full tuition bill, but it does help quite a bit. The way TA works is that the government will pay up to $250/credit hour. You have a limit to how many credit hours you can take, as it has to be at least 6 and won’t pay for more than 12.
The catch is that you have to stay in the military for at least 2 years after your last class. This may not be a problem during your initial commitment, but is more of a concern later.