There are several programs available to provide college cash for current or honorably discharged members of the military. Additionally, there are programs that apply to dependents of current or former service members. The best programs provide grants and scholarships that do not require repayment. There are also some loan programs that are more attractive than the standard federal student loans.
Programs Offering College Cash For Military Service
Post-9/11 GI Bill – This is the premier military program for college cash. It applies to military service members who performed at least 90 days of service after September 10, 2001 and were honorably discharged. It also applies to individuals who were discharged due to a service-related disability after serving 30 days or longer. This benefit is available for up to 15 years after a service member’s release from active duty. It can be used to pay for full tuition and fees at most in-state public colleges, or for around $19,000 worth of tuition and fees at private colleges in most states. A few states provide a reduced amount for private colleges. In many cases, the benefits available under the Post-9/11 GI Bill may be transferable to a dependent. Check the website for specific rules and details of this program.
Montgomery GI Bill – This program offers 36 months of educational benefits for individuals currently on an active tour of duty or after an honorable discharge. Service members must enroll in the program and pay $100 per month for 12 months. After that, they are eligible for a monthly education benefit provided they have met a minimum service obligation. The highest benefit is available for full-time military service, but part-time service in the Reserve or National Guard will provide a reduced benefit amount.
Dependent’s Educational Assistance (DEA) – This program offers 45 months of educational benefits for dependents of certain veterans, including those who are deceased, missing in action, wounded or forcibly detained.
ThanksUSA Scholarship Program – This is a non-profit charitable organization that offers a scholarship program for children and spouses of active-duty service members. It provides up to 500 scholarships per year worth $3,000 each.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) – This organization provides scholarships and grants to children of military members who were very critically wounded during active service or died during active service. The surviving spouse must be an MOAA member. MOAA also provides children of officers and enlisted military personnel with interest-free student loans renewable for up to five years.
With the variety of available programs, most military service members will find something that can meet their needs for college cash for either their own education or for their dependents. It is also a good idea to check with individual colleges to see if they offer any institutional scholarships for current or past military service.
This is a guest post by Wendy Nelson, a full-time project manager and mom who started a website to help parents and their college-bound kids through the college search process, mykidscollegechoice.com. She enjoys writing about education-related topics and is also an active contributor on blog.textbooks.com.