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Use Your Military Education Benefits Now

shutterstock_5821780When veterans of World War II returned home, our government took care of them. In exchange for their service, Uncle Sam helped many of them buy a home, go to college, and get training for civilian work through the GI Bill of Rights. Although in a slightly different form, most of the educational and career benefits offered post WWII are still available today. If you’re interested in going to school while serving, or after serving your country, use the following education assistance programs to your advantage.

The GI Bill
After three years of enlisted service, you can qualify for education assistance through the GI Bill. When enrolled at a college, university, or training program on a full time basis, the military sends you a monthly cash payment to help pay for expenses. And as long as you meet the requirements of the program, you don’t have to pay anything back. You can use this money to pay for tuition, housing, testing fees, licenses, and some certifications.

Recently, the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 has updated the GI Bill, providing more money for your education and allowing you to transfer benefits to your dependents (beginning in August 2009). Money through the GI Bill is available for ten years following your discharge from active duty.

The Tuition Assistance (TA) Program
The TA program is the other major education benefit provided to service members. Unlike the GI Bill, you can take advantage of this program while on active duty. The program can pay up to 100 percent of the education expenses you incur while taking college and university courses after work. The Army’s program, which is similar to the other branches of the military, pays up to $250 per semester credit for each class you take. While the TA program has an annual ceiling of $4,500, you can use the money to cover tuition, books, and a handful of fees, too.

Both of these programs offer a valuable way for you to expand your education during or after your service. The GI Bill can help you make a smooth transition from military service to civilian employment. In addition to facilitating your education while you’re active, the TA program can help you earn valuable promotion points as well.

Publish date: July 10, 2008