One common question military students ask before they begin college is “How am I going to pay for it?” Military members have access to a variety of funding options to pay for or reduce college costs. These options include:
- Requesting tuition assistance (TA) through a Service voluntary education program
- Taking no cost credit by examination tests (CLEP & DSST)
- Using recommended college credit from the Joint Service Transcript (JST)
- Applying for Pell Grants through Federal Student Aid
- Accessing Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits
Another common source of college funding is applying for and receiving scholarships to help with the cost of tuition, books, and fees. The challenging part of finding scholarships is knowing who to ask and where to look. Check out the below suggestions as you search for military student scholarship resources.
Ask Your Military Education Counselor
Begin your scholarship search by asking your military education counselor if they have a list of scholarships. They may also be able to provide you with valuable tips and resources, like using free Tutoring Services through Tutor.com/military to help improve scholarship essays. To find a counselor, visit www.dantes.doded.mil/service-members/counselor-search.html
Ask Your School
If you are already attending a college or university, you may want to ask your school for information on available scholarships. Your school may offer military specific scholarships or other scholarship opportunities available to all students. The Financial Aid office at your school may also provide assistance in applying for Federal Student Aid.
Find Organizations that Support Military Students
There are a variety of organizations that offer financial assistance to military members and their families. Below is a sample of the types of scholarships that are available. The eligibility requirements and application deadlines vary, so visit each link to learn more about these potential funding opportunities.
The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) provides military members with education programs that help prepare for and succeed in college. The DANTES website lists a variety of financial aid and scholarship resources to aid in the search for college funding.
The Army ROTC Green to Gold Scholarship Program offers enlisted personnel with financial assistance that may be applied toward tuition or room and board, textbooks, supplies, and equipment. The program also includes a monthly stipend for up to 10 months each school year.
The Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) offers several $1,000 scholarships each year to military members, veterans, and spouses who are working towards the completion of a higher education degree.
There are several State Advisory Councils on Military Education (ACMEs) that promote, encourage, and deliver quality education to all branches of the armed services. Many strive to make multiple $1,000 scholarships available to military members, veterans, and spouses each year.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s Education Assistance Program offers no interest loans and grants from $500 to $3,000 per academic year.
The Association of Old Crows (AOC) Educational Foundation Program provides both scholarships and enlisted tuition grants. AOC Chapters provide scholarships to colleges and universities or directly to students majoring in hard sciences. Many Chapters also provide Enlisted Tuition Grants for active duty military members.
The Pat Tillman Foundation offers a Leadership through Action program that provides assistance to veterans and active-duty service members who are working toward their college education. Scholarships are based on merit (at least a 3.0 GPA) and financial need.
There are many more scholarship and college funding options that can offset college costs without having to assume debt through student loans. Begin your search today by contacting a military education counselor to find out your options.
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