Veteran Education Benefits Guide

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers military education benefits are for active duty, veterans, spouses, and dependents. But these benefits may vary, depending on your circumstances.

If you have retired or separated from military service you have options that may not be open to other applicants, or you may have benefits that active-duty servicemembers also enjoy but not in quite the same way. What do you need to know about your military education benefits to get started?

Veteran Education Benefits: An Overview

As someone who has retired or separated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, your options for education assistance may include:

  • Education benefits from the Department Of Veterans Affairs
  • Education benefits from state or local governments
  • Private military education programs and grants

Typically, guides like these start with the best-known programs and work their way down the list to the least well-known options.

If you are recently retired or separated, you may know some of your VA options already thanks to final-out processing briefings and seminars. In this guide, we’ll list some of the more obscure options first to help you quickly find resources you might not have thought of initially.

Private Veteran Education Programs, Grants, and Scholarships

The best-known veteran-friendly agencies such as the DAV, VFW, and American Legion often offer scholarships, grants, or other financial assistance for qualifying veterans.

Some of this assistance may be offered to those with qualifying service-connected medical issues, some may be offered to those who served during specific eras such as the Gulf War or the Vietnam War.

Other assistance may be offered to any qualifying applicant on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of a medical condition, eras of service, etc. Some examples of these privately-funded opportunities for veterans include:

  • AMVETS offers educational assistance for veterans who want to attend an accredited college, university or technical school. You must have no convictions for drug-related offenses and you are required to complete an essay to apply.
  • The American Legion has in the past offered financial assistance to members of the society who are veterans pursuing undergraduate studies at an accredited college or university.
  • The Pat Tillman Foundation offers financial assistance to veterans and active-duty military who can meet both merit-based and eligibility-based criteria. This college education assistance for veterans requires the submission of two written essays in addition to the other criteria.

Veteran assistance with VA benefits may be offered by Veteran Service Organizations such as

  • Vietnam Veterans Of America
  • Voluntary Service Overseas
  • Navy Mutual
  • AmVets
  • Blinded Veterans Association
  • Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • The African American Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Association
  • American Legion

You can find a large directory of Veteran Service Organizations at the VA official site. Not all VSOs offer education benefits, but many do.

Read more: What Is A Veteran Service Organization?

Military Aid Societies

Military aid societies are generally private, non-profit, tax-exempt organizations working on behalf of their members. These societies include tuition assistance and college fund options for qualifying applicants.

Not all programs offer the same options, and not all of them offer financial aid for veterans. Options may change depending on funding issues, mission demands, program changes, or federal regulations. The following are all good examples of relief societies that may offer or have offered veteran financial aid in the past.

  • The Air Force Tuition Assistance Program
  • The Navy College Fund
  • The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • The U.S. Army’s Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program

This is by no means a comprehensive list–there are too many privately-funding programs to list here. One important resource to use in your search for such programs? Your state-level veterans’ affairs office.

You can find this on your state government’s official site and these pages often list state and local-level education resources for veterans as well as typical pages listing state government services, locations, etc. Find your state’s Department of Veteran Affairs office.

Read More: Military Aid Societies And Education Benefits

State/Local Veteran Education Programs

Every state in America has an official site that lists programs, services, and other help for those who need to deal with state government. Many cities and municipalities have official sites, too.

These websites may have valuable information about veteran education grants, scholarships, in-state tuition options for veterans attending from out-of-state, and more. You will typically find these benefits (at the state level) at the official page for that state’s Department of Veterans Affairs (not the federal agency found at VA.gov).

This entity may be known as a Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Veterans Affairs, or simply as the Department of Veterans Affairs (again, a state entity and not the federal one). A short sampling of such official sites includes but is definitely not limited to:

As mentioned above, you can find your state Department of Veterans Affairs office at the VA official site.

Each state will have its own official site and typically has a veterans resources page including any current education benefit or links to those benefits. State benefits vary greatly. Some states are incredibly stingy in their veteran education benefits while others are fairly generous.

Vermont, for example, offers education benefits to members of the National Guard but at press time no other options seem to be available directly from the state. For all others, the state official site (at press time) refers veterans to a third-party private entity, the Vermont Student Assistance Program.

Compare that with the Illinois Veterans Grant which pays for tuition and fees for qualifying applicants who lived in Illinois when they entered military service or who have become state residents since leaving (a time limit for relocation to the state may apply.)

This grant can be used in conjunction with the GI Bill or on its own and may be useful for saving or extending the GI Bill benefit. It’s not the only state-level grant of its kind but your experience may vary depending on which state you live in or entered military service from.

Read More: 10 Careers with Education Programs Under One Year

Education benefits From the Department Of Veterans Affairs

For veterans, there are many options to choose from; some choices are made while still serving (Montgomery GI Bill or Post 9/11 are choices some vets have had to make while still serving) and some are options that may be open to you depending on the nature of the education and training you seek.

Not everyone wants a traditional four-year degree; there are options for technical training, pilot training, OJT, apprenticeships, and much more, as we’ll discover below.

  • The GI Bill including the Post 9/11 and the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) also known as Chapter 31 helps veterans learn about their employment, education, and training options.
  • Educational and career counseling through Chapter 36 benefits includes free educational and career counseling if you are leaving active duty.
  • “Other educational assistance” programs offered by the VA.

Read More: Do I Qualify For VA Education Benefits?

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill is an option for those who entered active duty after June 30, 1985 and opted into the program. This version of the GI Bill offers 36 months of basic VA education benefits depending on how long you served, the type of education you seek, and the category of your military service. Different lengths of service may qualify for pro-rated Montgomery GI Bill benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill features no housing stipend, has no ability to transfer the benefit to a spouse or dependent, and is generally more limited than the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Those who qualified for this option were offered the chance to switch to the Post 9/11 version; once a choice has been selected it cannot be undone but many did opt into the Post 9/11 GI Bill instead once the option was available.

The Montgomery GI Bill came in multiple versions including one for active duty and one for Guard/Reserve members. Even though the active duty version is identified as such, a veteran who no longer serves on active duty uses the active duty version of the program; Reservists who have retired or separated use the Reserve component version of the GI Bill.

The Montgomery GI Bill is closed to new applicants; those serving today are enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is not possible to apply for this benefit at press time.

Read More: The Montgomery GI Bill

Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides 48 months of education benefit for those who served on or after September 10, 2001. This program includes payment of tuition and fees, a housing stipend paid while you attend classes, and the ability to transfer your GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent school age children.

Some of your benefits are paid based on your attendance as a fulltime student, half-time student, etc. You apply for these benefits through the VA official site, or in person at any VA Regional office

You may qualify for this program if one of the following applies:

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001 and received an Honorable discharge;
  • You served for at least 30 continuous days and received an Honorable discharge and have a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent applying for transferred VA benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill program.
  • You were in the Reserves and lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015-restoration of benefits may be possible.

Some qualify for both the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill. You are allowed to use only one of these programs for your qualifying period of military service.

GI Bill benefits may expire depending on when you joined. For example, if you retired or separated before January 1 2013 you have 15 years to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you retired or separated on or after January 1 2013 your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits do not expire.

Read More: Veterans and Predatory Student Lending

How to Apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill

You can apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits online by filling out the questions under “How Do I Apply on the VA official site.” You will be taken to the appropriate online form based on your answers to the questionnaire. You may also apply by mail. Call 888-442-4551 and ask that the VA send a GI Bill benefit application to you. Once you complete the form, mail it to the VA regional claims processing office closest to your selected school.

You can find a list of VA regional claims processing offices in the United States.

You can also get in-person help at any of these offices, work with an admissions representative at your school, or get help from a Veteran Service Office (see above).

Read More: GI Bill Facts and Fiction

A Word About The Forever GI Bill

The Forever GI Bill is legislation that changed the nature of the GI Bill program; it is NOT a standalone GI Bill option you can choose instead of the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Read More: How The Forever GI Bill Changed Your Military Education Benefits

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post 9/11 GI Bill includes an option for those with qualifying military service who are at the 100% level for their GI Bill benefit, meaning they served the entire minimum qualifying time on active duty to become eligible for the benefit.

The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to offset the cost of attending an approved private school with tuition above and beyond what the GI Bill program can pay for–the Yellow Ribbon program can help pay for higher out-of-state tuition, too.

Not all schools participate in Yellow Ribbon. You will need to ask your admissions counselor if the school you have selected is eligible and participates. And not everyone qualifies for this program. In general, you must meet one of the following:

  • You served at least 36 months on active duty with an Honorable discharge;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged;
  • You served 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged for a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent transferred benefits;
  • You’re a Fry Scholar;
  • You’re an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100% level as of August 2022;
  • You are a spouse using transferred GI Bill benefits.

Yellow Ribbon benefits are limited depending on the school; you may find the program is administered at your institution of higher learning on a first-come, first-served basis, and applying early may be best. You will need to speak to an admissions representative at your chosen school to learn if that institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

The participating school, not the VA, decides if new applicants can be admitted and how much Yellow Ribbon funding is available to use in a given semester or term.

Read More: The Yellow Ribbon Program

 

Find Yellow Ribbon Schools and more at CollegeRecon!

 

VA Dependent Education Program (VA DEA)

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the DEA program to qualifying dependents and surviving spouses of military members who have died, are missing, or are prisoners of war. The formal name of this program is the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, it is also referred to as Chapter 35 benefits and is offered to those who meet VA criteria. Dependent children qualify if they meet the following:

  • Typically must be between the ages of 18 and 26
  • If the dependent joins the military they may not use this benefit on active duty.
  • Dependents may have their eligibility extended due to military service, but that extension typically won’t last beyond age 31.

For spouses:

  • DEA benefits start on the date of the Veteran’s death or as the VA determines the start date. They will last for 10 years.
  • If the Veteran is VA-rated as permanently and totally disabled, “with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge from active duty” a spouse may qualify for benefits for 20 years.
  • If the service member died on active duty, VA DEA benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

DEA benefits are available to most who start using them today for up to 36 months. Those who started using VA DEA before August 1, 2018, had 45 months of benefits.

Read More: The VA Dependent Education Program

Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31)

Veterans who have a service-connected disability that limits the ability to hold a job or seek employment may qualify for the Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Readiness and Employment program also known as Chapter 31 benefits or VR&E. You can apply for VR&E through the VA official site. Typically this benefit is for veterans but under certain circumstances, you may qualify for VR&E while still on active duty as we’ll examine below.

To qualify for VA VR&E benefits and services, you must not have received a Dishonorable discharge, and you have a VA disability rating of at least 10%.

In some cases you may have a time limit to use this VA benefit program; if you left active duty before January 1 2013 you have 12 years to use VR&E benefits from either your separation date or the date you received your first VA disability rating.

Your VR&E eligibility may qualify for an extension if you have what the VA defines as a “serious employment handicap”

VR&E applicants who left active duty on January 1, 2013, and after do not have a time limit for VR&E benefits. Some applicants may still serve on active duty while applying for VR&E benefits and services as long as they mee3t certain criteria:

  • You have a 20% or higher pre-discharge VA disability rating known as a memorandum rating and are due to retire or separate;
  • You’re waiting to be discharged because of a service-connected medical issue that happened on active duty.

VR&E Services

You may be entitled to the following VR&E services under the program:

  • A job skills/interests evaluation;
  • Professional or vocational counseling for employment;
  • Employment services such as job training and resume development,
  • Special employer incentives
  • VR&E “job accommodations”
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeships
  • Volunteer or non-paid work experiences
  • Post-secondary education and training
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Medical referrals
  • Independent living services

If you’re participating in a VR&E program and you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (you only need a single day of remaining entitlement to qualify for this) you may be offered the GI Bill subsistence rate instead of the Chapter 31 subsistence allowance rate. This is true when you have at least one day of remaining GI Bill entitlement left AND you are still within any applicable GI Bill eligibility period. Expect to be required to “officially choose” the GI Bill subsistence rate to take advantage of this benefit.

Using VR&E benefits does not count against your GI Bill benefits.

You can apply for VR&E benefits online, in person at a VA office, by calling the VA, or you can use a Veteran Service Organization (see above) such as the DAV, AmVets, etc. to help you apply. If you apply online you will take a survey that will direct you to the proper online form for your needs.

Apply by mail with VA Form 28-1900, Application for Vocational Rehabilitation for Claimants with Service-Connected Disabilities, and mail it to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
VR&E Intake Center
PO Box 5210
Janesville, WI
53547-5210

Educational and career counseling (VA Chapter 36 Benefits)

VA Chapter 36 benefits, also known as Personalized Career Planning and Guidance offer help and resources for veterans who qualify for VA education benefits.

If you have left active duty within the last 12 months you may qualify for career counseling, educational counseling to help you select a school, and readjustment counseling to help you transition from the military to civilian life. You can also get help with your resume and career goals using Chapter 36 benefits.

You can apply for these benefits in person at a VA office, online using VA Form 28-8832, or you can apply online at the VA official site via Login.gov. Applying online means using an initial questionnaire to determine the proper form for you as a veteran, active duty service member, etc.

Once you apply for Chapter 36 benefits, the VA will contact you to set up a meeting with a VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor “to find out if you have an employment handicap and if you’re eligible for VR&E benefits and services” according to the official site..

The VA definition of an employment handicap includes conditions where “your service-connected disability limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment” that does not make the condition worse and is in line with career goals, skills, etc.

Read More: MySECO: 4 Reasons Military Spouses Need to Take Advantage

Other VA Educational Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs has other educational benefits including the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship. This scholarship can help extend Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for those working toward STEM-related degrees or a teacher’s certification. You may qualify for this program if:

  • You are enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program;
  • You are enrolled in a qualifying dual-degree program;
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals;
  • You earned a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals;
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM degree field and are working toward a teaching certification.

You can use this benefit to pursue programs including, but not limited to:

  • Agriculture science
  • Natural resources science
  • Biological science
  • Biomedical science
  • Computer and information science
  • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or a health-care-related field
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Medical residency (undergraduate only)
  • Physical science
  • Science technologies

Apply online for this program using the VA online questionnaire to direct you to the proper digital form.

VET TEC

There is a Department of Veterans Affairs program called Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)  which offers benefits to help you start or continue a high-tech career if you qualify for the GI Bill.  You may qualify for VET TEC if all of the following apply to you:

  • You aren’t on active duty OR;
  • You are within 180 days of separating from active duty, and
  • You qualify for the GI Bill, and
  • You have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits, and
  • You are accepted into an approved program

VET TEC does not count against your GI Bill entitlement. You can apply for VET TEC online using Login.gov or ID.me. You can also get help from a Veterans Service Organization.

There is an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill called the National Call to Service program offering alternative VA education benefits to those who completed boot camp and any required advanced training and then “continued to serve on active duty for 15 months in a military occupational specialty designated by the Secretary of Defense”.

In addition to that requirement, applicants must also have served an additional enlistment or commission (service commitment times may vary) OR agreed to serve an extra two years in the Selected Reserve on active status.

If you qualify for the National Call To Service Program you may be eligible for ONE of the following benefits:

  • A cash bonus of $5,000,
  • Repayment of a qualifying student loan up to $18,000, or
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly rate of the Montgomery GI Bill paid for 12 months, or
  • Educational assistance equal to 50% of the ”less-than-3-year monthly MGIB rate” according to the VA. This is payable for 36 months.

You can apply for these benefits via Login.gov. This is a program administered by the VA on behalf of the Department of Defense.

Read More: Managing Your VA Benefits Online

 

 

 

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and participating schools. It helps qualifying veterans and dependents who must pay higher out-of-state tuition, or higher private school, overseas school, or graduate tuition and fees. This program is offered to those who are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Not all schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, so your first step as a prospective student is to learn whether or not the option is available to you.

Who is Eligible For The Yellow Ribbon Program?

Only those who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% level can take advantage of Yellow Ribbon options where available. At least one of the following qualifying criteria must be true:

  • The applicant has served at least 36 months on active duty with an honorable discharge, or;
  • The applicant was awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and has an honorable discharge, or;
  • The applicant served for at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and was discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability, or
  • The applicant is a dependent using transferred benefits transferred, or;
  • The applicant is a Fry Scholar
  • Starting August 1, 2022, active duty service members are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program if they qualify at the 100% level.

If you are approved for Yellow Ribbon funds at one school but choose to transfer to another, the new school must also take part in the program and approve you for the program. If you decide to take fewer courses, the amount of funding you receive may be adjusted accordingly.

Yellow Ribbon Program Requirements For Schools

As mentioned above, not all schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. In order to do so the school must meet all the below:

  • The school participates in Yellow Ribbon
  • The school hasn’t run out of Yellow Ribbon funds for the class time specified
  • The school has certified your enrollment with the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • The school has provided the VA with its Yellow Ribbon Program information

How To Apply For Yellow Ribbon Benefits

The first step toward being approved for the Yellow Ribbon Program is applying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You should apply online at VA.gov, by phone at 888-442-4551, or in person at a VA Regional Office. Once you apply and are approved you will get the documentation you need to submit to your school.

You may be required to submit the documents and apply for Yellow Ribbon through a college admission office or registrar. Wherever you are directed, be sure to ask about applying for Yellow Ribbon, this financial assistance for veterans is not automatically applied for on your behalf.

There may be a waiting time while your school makes a determination about your application. One thing that creates this wait? The school must ensure it has not used up its supply of Yellow Ribbon funds. The school decides how much to offer, and will be in touch with its decision.

How Much Will I Receive?

The VA official site states that the total funds available to each student may vary from college to college; the nature of your program may dictate how much is offered. For example, some schools might offer more Yellow Ribbon assistance to graduate students than to undergrads, and more funds for those in doctoral programs than either of the other two.

Or all assistance may be offered at the same level. It all depends on the school. That is one reason to shop around for the right institution–one that has what you need academically and financially.

What To Know About Yellow Ribbon Benefits

Yellow Ribbon funds are not available to those attending school on the Montgomery GI Bill.

Those who qualify for the Yellow Ribbon program must have a 100% benefit level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Those who did not serve enough time in uniform to qualify for the 100% benefit level are not eligible.

Yellow Ribbon money can be used to pay for “any” mandatory fees, but the actual application of your Yellow Ribbon funds may depend on the specific agreement the VA has with your school.

The VA will determine how much Yellow Ribbon money you need by reviewing any financial aid you may already have specifically for paying tuition and fees. That amount would be subtracted from the total amount charged by the college. Once that is accomplished, the school’s Yellow Ribbon contributions are calculated and the VA matches that contribution.

When you enroll in Yellow Ribbon you are automatically entered into it the following year, assuming all the following are true:

  • You must make “acceptable progress” toward completing the program based on your school’s criteria;
  • You must remain enrolled in the school without a break as per that school’s policies;
  • You must have some remaining Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

If you need assistance navigating the Yellow Ribbon Program, contact your school’s registrar or campus veterans services office.

Am I Eligible for VA Education Benefits?

Do you know whether you are eligible for VA education benefits like the GI Bill? That is not the only VA education program you may qualify for as an active duty, Guard/Reserve member, spouse, or dependent. The rules and requirements of these programs vary depending on what you seek, eras of military service, and other factors.

The length of these benefits will vary. You may qualify for up to 48 months of VA education benefits but many applicants only qualify for 36 months.

Am I Eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The Department of Veterans Affairs states you may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if you have been on active duty for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. However, you should know that if you switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill from the Montgomery GI Bill, you cannot change back.

Am I Eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill?

If you served on active duty you may qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill-AD. In general, you must have served a minimum of 24 months on active duty and meet certain requirements which include having a high school diploma or GED OR 12 hours of college credit. You must also have an Honorable discharge and meet “other requirements”.

There are multiple categories of eligibility. They include but are not limited to the following.

Category 1

  • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit;
  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985;
  • Paid into the GI Bill at $100 a month for the first 12 months of service;
  • Served continuously for between two and four years depending on circumstances.

Category 2

  • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit;
  • Generally entered active duty before January 1, 1977;
  • Served at least a single day between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988.

Category 3

  • You don’t qualify for MGIB under categories I or II;
  • You paid into the program ($1,200) before separation;
  • Applicant served on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated after February 2, 1991;
  • You involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993;
  • You chose to voluntarily separate under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) program;
  • You chose to separate via Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program;

Category 4

  • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit;
  • Applicant contributed to the program ($100 a month for 12 months or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution;
  • On active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date, and chose MGIB before October 9, 1997;
  • Full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, and opted into the MGIB program between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997.

Am I Eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve?

You may qualify for VA education benefits through MGIB-SR if you’re a member of:

  • Army Reserve
  • Navy Reserve
  • Air Force Reserve
  • Marine Corps Reserve
  • Coast Guard Reserve
  • Army National Guard
  • Air National Guard

The following must all apply:

  • You have a six-year service obligation in the Selected Service OR;
  • You are an officer in the Selected Reserve serving six years (that is in addition to your initial service obligation) AND;
  • You meet what the VA calls “ other requirements” which may include finishing initial active duty for training (IADT), and you are in good standing in a Selected Reserve Unit.

Am I Eligible for Veterans Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)?

VET TEC is a VA program that offers tuition and housing funds to applicants in high-demand industries including (but not limited to) computer software and data processing, media, and information science. One of the most attractive things about this program is that it does not count against or use up your GI Bill benefits.

You may be eligible for VET TEC if you meet all of the following:.

  • You are either NOT on active duty OR are within six months of retirement or separation;
  • You qualify for the GI Bill;
  • You have one day or more of unexpired GI Bill entitlement;
  • You’re accepted into a VA-approved program.

VET TEC does not allow payment of the housing stipend to those who are still on active duty when attending school.

Am I Eligible for the DEA, the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program?

Are you the spouse or child of a veteran or service member who died, was captured or is declared missing? Are you the spouse or child of a vet or service member with disabilities? Educational help may be available to you via the DEA program. These benefits, often described as Chapter 35 benefits, require you and the recipient to meet any one of the following:

  • The veteran or active duty service member is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability;
  • They died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability;
  • They are missing in action;
  • They were captured or forcibly detained in the line of duty by a hostile force;
  • They are in the hospital for a service-connected permanent and total disability and likely to be given a military discharge due to the disability;
  • They are getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and are likely to be discharged

If you are the dependent child, you may qualify for benefits if you are between 18 and 26, but if you join the military you won’t be able to use this benefit on active duty. Serving may extend your eligibility to use this program but you typically can’t use it past your 31st birthday according to the VA.

If you are the spouse of a veteran or service member, the Department of Veterans Affairs will offer you benefits “on the date we conclude that you qualify or on the date of the Veteran’s death”. Your benefits will last for 10 years. Certain circumstances may qualify for a longer benefit period, you may be able to qualify for a 20-year opportunity instead.

If approved, the VA offers a monthly payment meant to help pay for typical college programs (degree-seeking), certificate courses, educational counseling, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training.

Can I Transfer My VA Education Benefits?

You cannot transfer Montgomery GI Bill benefits to a spouse or school-age dependent, but you may qualify to do so using the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Not everyone enrolled in the Post 9/11 program can transfer their GI Bill; the following requirements apply:

  • The service member has completed at least six years of military service;
  • The applicant agrees to an additional four years of service;
  • The dependent or spouse is enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

You can only transfer unused benefits to a spouse or school-age child, and once you have transferred your benefits, you cannot use them yourself.

Things To Remember About VA Education Benefits

The rules mentioned here are current at press time, but VA benefits can change due to a variety of factors including new legislation or changes in federal law, changes in the VA programs themselves, or changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have not explored your VA education options in a while, it’s a good idea to look at them now. There have been many changes in the last few years to these programs thanks to legislation like the Forever GI Bill. Review your VA education benefit options today, you may be surprised to learn what new options you might have.

 

 

The 78th Anniversary of the GI Bill

Wednesday, June 22, 2022, marked the 78th anniversary of the GI Bill, which was enacted in 1944 to support those returning home from World War Two. The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a press release in honor of the anniversary, noting its impact over the years. “The G.I. Bill has come a long way” since its debut, the press release states, adding, “VA continues to seek ways to meet the needs of Veterans and improve their G.I. Bill experience.”

The GI Bill has had a long and at times complicated history, and is still one of the most popular and important VA benefits offered today. Some 25 million veterans and their families have taken advantage of this VA education benefit.

The GI Bill got its start as a veteran-only option for those returning home from one war. Today it has been expanded to include active duty, Guard/Reserve, and even options for dependents and spouses to consider.

A Brief History of the GI Bill

The 1944 GI Bill, then known as the GI Bill of Rights, included things not found in today’s version. Those old options included loans for veteran-owned businesses, loans for farms, and the option to draw unemployment compensation.

The GI Bill of Rights was created for veterans only. No GI Bill benefits at that time were offered to those still on active duty or to dependents. The program was incredibly popular with some sources estimating about $4 billion in total GI Bill benefits offered to approximately nine million veterans in a five-year period starting in 1944.

The original GI Bill of Rights was not offered to all who served; just those who served during World War Two. When the Korean War had more service members returning home from yet another conflict, legislation called the Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966 extended the GI Bill to Korean War veterans.

Enter the 1980s

Big changes came in the 1980s thanks to the efforts of former Mississippi Congressman Gillespie Montgomery, who revamped the GI Bill of Rights to include a variety of features such as making the GI Bill an opt-in during Basic Training,

Trainees paid $100 a month for a year, after which they could qualify for a much larger matching contribution from the DoD. There was a time limit for the benefits after retirement or separation from military service, and there was no housing stipend offered.

This overhaul of the GI Bill of Rights became known as the Montgomery GI Bill after its creator and required both an honorable discharge and a high school diploma/GED. An important development of the GI Bill during this time was the creation of a Guard/Reserve version of the Montgomery GI Bill.

The VA official site says those eligible for this version had to meet certain criteria including a six-year commitment in the Selected Reserve, “signed after June 30, 1985” with additional requirements for officers.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill

When the VA official site announced the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which took effect in August of 2009, it did so knowing there was much anticipation about key features of the new VA education benefit. One of the most important of those was the ability to draw a housing stipend while attending classes, and another critical update involved the ability to transfer GI Bill benefits to a spouse or college-age dependent child.

Important features include but are not limited to:

  • Up to 36 months of education entitlement;
  • Eligible for use at colleges, universities, trade schools, on-the-job training
  • Payment of tuition;
  • Payment of certain fees;
  • A monthly housing stipend equivalent to an E-5 basic allowance for housing (BAH) payable for the zip code of the eligible school;
  • Books / Supplies Stipend ($1000 per year maximum).

This new GI Bill was intended for veterans with active duty service who served on or after September 11, 2001. The Post 9/11 GI Bill increased educational benefits above and beyond tuition alone.

The new GI Bill also included an option to switch from the old Montgomery GI Bill to the new Post 9/11 version. A choice was required, once the choice was made it was irreversible.

The Forever GI Bill

Some of the most important changes to the GI Bill program came in 2017 thanks to the passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act. It was promoted as the largest expansion of veteran benefits in roughly a decade, and the GI Bill benefitted from the Act in a number of ways:

  • The Forever GI Bill offers the benefit to all Purple Heart recipients regardless of time served;
  • No more time limit for using GI Bill benefits for qualifying service members discharged on or after January 1, 2013;
  • New protections for GI Bill recipients attending a school that closes before a degree program is completed;
  • New GI Bill options for Reservists such as more lenient time-in-service requirements.

Recent developments have further enhanced GI Bill benefits. Servicemembers now have the option to transfer VA education benefits to a qualifying foster child or ward thanks to the VA Transfer Of Entitlement program. In order to qualify, you must apply using  Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits (VA Form 22-1990E).

You can submit this to any VA Regional Office. This is a process for those still serving on active duty. Once you leave active duty you can still submit a written request to modify a transfer via milConnect.

It should be noted that the Forever GI Bill is NOT a separate program from the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Instead, it enhances the Post 9/11 program and adds to it. You won’t apply for a Forever GI Bill option, you’ll use Post 9/11 GI Bill options that have been improved by the updated legislation.

Transferring Your GI Bill Benefits

The Post 9/11 GI Bill allows those who are still on active duty to transfer their education benefits to spouses or college-age children who are enrolled in DEERS. To qualify for the benefits transfer, the active duty member must have a minimum of six years time-in-service and must agree to a four-year military commitment. VA rules for this transfer have included the following:

  • When you meet the six-year time-in-service requirement, you are permitted to transfer some or all of your unused Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.
  • The Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security reserves the right to limit how many months you may transferable.
  • Transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are available for spouses, one or more dependent children, or any combination of spouse and child.

A Word About The Digital GI Bill

In March 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced something called the Digital GI Bill. This is the VA effort to modernize the GI Bill program including switching to a digital platform and improving benefits.

The VA official site says of this modernization effort, “…this platform will enable VA to call, email, text and chat with GI Bill beneficiaries, grant the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) immediate access to beneficiary records and respond to questions from colleges and universities instantaneously”.

It’s described as a “multi-year effort” and won’t happen overnight. That said, a VA contract for this project was awarded in March 2022 and the plan is currently underway. This effort is funded in part by some $243 million the VA received under the CARES Act during the global pandemic. Full details about the upgrades are not available at press time, but the VA says it desires feedback from students, administrators, and others who may be affected by the changes.

 

 

GI Bill Fact and Fiction

There are some important things to know about using GI Bill benefits; if you haven’t checked your benefits recently you may be surprised to learn that in the last several years, legislation has passed to enhance veteran benefit programs including the GI Bill.

Active duty, Guard/Reserve, and military dependents have all had their benefits altered by legislation in the last five years. To what extent depends greatly on the specific aspect of the law that was changed, but it’s clear the U.S. government doesn’t want these benefits to remain static.

Some of that legislation may sound familiar; the Forever GI Bill, for example, also known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. That’s just one bill that improved GI Bill benefits; by the time you read this more legislation could be underway to expand, enhance, and improve veteran education programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

GI Bill Fact: You Can Use the GI Bill On Active Duty or After Separation

The most important thing you should consider when deciding whether to use your GI Bill during active duty service? Whether you’re wasting the benefit. You may be able to apply for other tuition assistance from your branch of service, from state or local programs, or even those offered when assigned to a specific military base.

You may not need to use your GI Bill benefit in such cases; talk to an admissions counselor to see what other programs are accepted by that institution–you will be very glad you did.

GI Bill Fiction: All GI Bill Benefits Are the Same

Depending on the “service era” you joined in, your GI Bill benefits may vary greatly. For example, did you enter military service in the early 1990s? Your initial GI Bill option may have been limited to the Montgomery GI Bill, which features no housing stipend and is not transferable to a dependent or spouse.

When the Post 9/11 GI Bill was introduced, all that changed. Dependents and spouses became eligible to have GI Bill benefits transferred to them, and the housing stipend aspect of the Post 9/11 GI Bill further improved the program by taking the financial burden of housing off the veteran during school attendance.

GI Bill Fact: Some Benefits Are Transferable

GI Bill benefits under the Post 9/11 program may be transferable to a spouse or dependent. Transferring means exactly what the word implies; the veteran gives up her benefit so that a spouse or child can use it.

GI Bill Fact: Not All Can Transfer Their GI Bill Benefits

We have already mentioned that those who signed up for the old Montgomery GI Bill cannot transfer their benefit to another, but there are other restrictions to be mindful of. For example, you cannot transfer your benefit to someone who is not enrolled in the military DEERS system identifying those dependents. All beneficiaries must be enrolled in DEERS prior to the transfer. In addition, you can only transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits if you have served a minimum of six years, and have committed to another four years of military service.

Dependents may have other VA resources they can use for education; this includes Chapter 35 benefits. You may qualify for non-GI Bill education assistance from the VA if the following applies to you:

  • You are the spouse or child of a service member who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, or
  • The service member is missing in action or;
  • The service member was captured in the line of duty or;
  • The service member was detained in the line of duty or;
  • The service member is in treatment for a service-connected “permanent and total disability” according to the VA and is “likely to be discharged” for it.

GI Bill Facts: You Can’t Use Your Benefits Everywhere

Some schools cannot qualify to accept the GI Bill, others may have qualified in the past but have since failed to meet VA standards. Other schools may be in the process of applying to the VA to accept GI Bill payments but have not yet been fully approved.

That means that you may need to shop around a bit more for a school to attend; depending on where you live it may be more or less challenging to find a program that is acceptable to you and that accepts the GI Bill.

Some schools may accept GI Bill funds for some but not all programs; there may not be a degree of standardization in this area. You’ll need to speak to an entrance counselor or veterans’ affairs rep at the college to learn what is possible.

GI Bill Fiction: GI Bill Benefits Are Always Paid On Time

Theoretically, GI Bill payments are supposed to be on a schedule but a number of variables including some that are under the responsibility of the school itself may factor into the timing of your payment for tuition, books, and even the housing stipend. It’s smart to anticipate delays in your GI Bill payment and plan accordingly.

Chances are good that the school you attend is quite used to these variations, but it never hurts to ask what the most current guidance is for dealing with such delays when it comes to tuition and fees.

GI Bill Fiction: You MUST Attend Full-Time

GI Bill housing stipends pay the most when you attend full-time, in person. But you can get a reduced benefit for 3/4 time or half-time attendance. You are not required to carry a full course load, but you may generally be required to enroll in a degree-seeking program or that has a specific outcome such as a certification or licensure. Just taking classes without an endgame is generally not supported under the GI Bill program.

GI Bill Fact: You Won’t Always Get Your Full Housing Stipend

Why? Because your benefits are paid based on your actual classroom attendance. If you begin winter break, summer break, or any other absence, your housing stipend is prorated and you will not get the housing payments during those down times.

GI Bill Fact: You Can Change Colleges

If one course of study is not working out for you, it’s possible to transfer to another school and keep using your GI Bill. This will depend on a number of factors including whether or not the new school participates in the program. You may need to further determine if other options such as the Yellow Ribbon Program are supported by the new school.

If you rely on the Yellow Ribbon program to offset the costs of private school attendance the GI Bill doesn’t cover, for example, and your new school does not participate, you’ll need to make other arrangements to cover that part of your tuition.

GI Bill Fact: Start Preparing Early

You may, depending on circumstances, experience delays in your GI Bill application process. It is a very good choice to begin working on your application as early as possible starting with establishing your basic eligibility for the GI Bill. College admissions deadlines may be earlier for the next school year than you realize, it is best to know your application deadlines well in advance so you don’t wind up having to try beating a deadline for paperwork.

You never know what stage your chosen school might be in with respect to the GI Bill. Are they an institution with a standing relationship with the VA? Or is the partnership new? The less experience your school has with GI Bill issues, the more delays you can realistically expect. If you need help determining what a specific school has to offer for veterans who need financial aid (GI Bill and otherwise), contact the college’s admissions department or call the Department of Veterans Affairs directly to learn if the school is currently working with the VA.

 

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How The Forever GI Bill Changed Your Military Education Benefits

The GI Bill is one of the most popular military benefits. Created to help service members returning from World War Two, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the “GI Bill of Rights” created a program with features that we know today as the GI Bill.

At press time, there are multiple versions of the GI Bill, including the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the changes made through the Forever GI Bill.

There have been many changes to this program over the years including the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Forever GI Bill refers to changes to the GI Bill program enacted through the Harry Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly known as the “Forever GI Bill.”

Today, most who serve (Active, Guard, Reserve) become eligible for benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill after serving on active duty for 90 days after September 10, 2001. The clock on your GI Bill eligibility may start counting after basic training and technical training, so don’t expect to use your GI Bill benefits right away once you start your career in uniform. Much may depend on how much training you must do before you are given your first active duty assignment.

If you haven’t explored your GI Bill benefits in a while, it’s a good idea to stay current on the latest program changes, and there have been many. GI Bill benefits are more accessible than ever but knowing your entitlement is half the battle when it’s time to plan and budget for your college career. You can get help from an admissions counselor but you may also contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly for assistance with your GI Bill benefits.

The Forever GI Bill

The Forever GI Bill is not a brand new version of the program. Instead, this legislation makes key changes to the program meant to enhance and expand certain benefits, consolidate others, and make the program as a whole more user-friendly.

One example, one change to the GI Bill made with this Act allows students to apply for restoration of their GI Bill entitlement if the school they used the benefit at closed while they were attending.

Another change that makes the entire program more user-friendly is the elimination of a 15-year time limit to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This applies to those who retired or separated from military service on or after January 1, 2013.

GI Bill Housing Allowance

The VA official site lists the following about who can use the GI Bill with the monthly housing stipend based on DoD BAH rates.

“Those who first use the Post-9/11 GI Bill on or after January 1, 2018, will receive a monthly housing allowance based on the Department of Defense BAH for monthly housing rates.”

Expansion Of The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program was created to help GI Bill users pay for higher education costs at approved private colleges, out-of-state schools, and even schools overseas. The Yellow Ribbon Program covers the “above-and-beyond” costs the GI Bill does not pay for. In general, to qualify for Yellow Ribbon funds you must be able to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% benefit level and at least one of the following must apply to you.

  • Minimum military service of at least 36 months on active duty with an honorable discharge or;
  • You were awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged, or;
  • Minimum military service of at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and you were “discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability” or;
  • You’re a dependent using benefits transferred by a veteran or:
  • Eligibility to be a Fry Scholar

The big change to the Yellow Ribbon program? On August 1, 2022, the Yellow Ribbon Program includes expanded eligibility for active duty service members who qualify at the 100% GI Bill benefit level and for spouses using transferred GI Bill benefits of an active-duty service member who qualifies.

Forever GI Bill Changes For Dependents

Under the Forever GI Bill, GI Bill recipients who transferred their GI Bill benefits to a dependent can now designate a new dependent if the original dependent dies. In cases where the veteran dies, the VA official site states, “a dependent who received transferred entitlement can now designate a new eligible dependent” and transfer any remaining GI Bill entitlement to a different eligible dependent.

Another change; Chapter 35 DEA benefits, also known as Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance program; a reduced entitlement for DEA users from 45 months to 36 months. This applies to anyone who uses DEA starting in August 2018; those who used DEA before this time qualify for a maximum of 45 months.

Forever GI Bill Changes For Guard And Reserve Members

Some of the important changes in this bill affect those serving in the Guard and Reserve, including authorization for GI Bill benefits under Title 10 U.S.C.

The VA loan program was changed overall to allow a prorated housing allowance for those who leave active duty service. Prior to this, those who left active duty could not draw a housing allowance until the next full month after leaving active duty.

This change is meant for all active duty including Guard and Reserve members who are called to active duty. Under the new guidelines, it is possible to receive housing stipend payments on the day of discharge.

The Forever GI Bill also allows Guard and Reserve members to be credited for any time ordered to active duty to receive medical care. This is effective for all ordered to active service, “to receive authorized medical care, to be medically evaluated for disability, or to complete a Department of Defense health care study on or after September 11, 2001.” All that active duty time now counts toward Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility.

REAP Eligibility is now used as a credit for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. REAP, also known as the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, was closed and there were Guard and Reserve members who lost REAP benefits as a result. If you had REAP eligibility prior to November 25, 2015 and lost it due to the “REAP sunset”, you can choose to have that military service applied toward the Post 9/11 GI Bill instead.

Forever GI Bill Changes to Licensing and Certification Testing Payments

Under the Forever GI Bill, the benefit paid for those taking licensing tests or certification training is prorated to match the actual fee charged for the exam. This was intended to reduce the overall cost of providing these payments.

Forever GI Bill Options for Those Awarded the Purple Heart

Those awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100-percent benefit level for up to 36 months. There is also an extension of the Yellow Ribbon Program (see above) allowing Purple Heart recipients to use Yellow Ribbon funds.

Forever GI Bill Options for Those In STEM Programs

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an additional nine months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to those in STEM studies. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

You will need to talk to a counselor at your school to learn whether the STEM option is available at that institution, and what it may require to apply for and receive the additional nine months of benefit. You can also call the Department of Veterans Affairs to get more information on STEM options under the GI Bill. Remember, this benefit is open to those using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may not have the same option under the Montgomery GI Bill.

 

 

Education Benefit News: REMOTE Act Extends Student Veteran Protection

Education Benefit News: February 2022

The most pressing news for veteran students at this time is that Congress passed the REMOTE Act at the end of December 2021.

The Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act extended provisions of Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 until June 1, 2022. But what does that mean for you, the student veteran?

Full Benefits for Remote Students

Remember when everything was shutting down due to COVID-19, and schools that were able to started offering 100% remote learning? Well, the Student Veteran Protection Act ensured that student veterans would be paid the GI Bill BAH portions in-full, even if the classes were taught remotely. Those protections were set to expire on 21 December, 2021, but the REMOTE Act extends those protections until June of 2022.

SEE ALSO: Student Veterans Can Still Get Full GI Bill Benefits Even If Remote

Rounding Out a Program

The REMOTE Act also solidly enshrines the “rounding out” that may impact some students. 

Right now, you may be asking “What is rounding out?” Well, here’s the answer:

When a student’s GI Bill runs out in the last semester of their program, then the VA can provide extra financial assistance, read a “rounding out”, to bring that program to a close without the student incurring any out of pocket tuition expenses. There are three conditions that must be met in order for this provision to apply:

  1. The number of credits a student needs is less than the number of credits that would be considered more than a half-time enrollment for that semester, AND
  2. The student is enrolled in, or has completed, every course required for the completion of the degree or program, AND
  3. The student enrolls in an additional, non-required course where the enrollment in that non-required course raises the enrollment status above the half-time mark.

The effective date of the rounding out provisions was January 1, 2022. So, any enrollments and semesters that meet the criteria above now qualify.

Still Confused?

Still confused? Here’s a personal example:

I am currently working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. I have completed every course except two: my Thesis Proposal and Thesis Defense. These courses are taken within the same semester, one before the other. By taking only these two courses, I am considered a half-time enrollment.

Incidentally, I have exactly 6 days of GI Bill benefit remaining, so I will run out of regular funding shortly after the next semester begins. If I were to enroll in another class that is not required for my MFA, then I would be eligible for the extended financial assistance from the VA, or the rounding up. Without that extra assistance, I would be responsible for the remaining tuition.

So, I have to choose whether or not I want to add yet another course onto an already heavy workload so I can qualify for the extra assistance. Or, I keep only the two required courses and pay the rest of my tuition out-of-pocket.

Keep in mind, the text of the REMOTE Act says that the VA “may provide” extra assistance, meaning that it is a possibility, not a guarantee.

Believe me when I say that it’s a tough choice to make!

 

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Automatic Student Loan Interest Benefit for Veterans & Military

​​The U.S. Department of Education Grants Interest Rate Benefit to 47,000 Veterans and Service Members

A recent press release from the U.S. Department of Education grants an interest rate benefit to more than 47,000 current and former active duty service members. The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has retroactively waived student loan interest rates for these veterans and military service members.

This was made possible by a data-matching agreement with the DoD that has improved access to a student loan interest waiver for these service members.

Interest Now Accrues and Benefit Applied Automatically

Before this announcement, service members who were deployed to areas that qualified them for imminent danger or hostile fire pay wouldn’t have any interest accrue on certain student loans that were first distributed on or after 10/01/2008. However, only a small number of those who were eligible even accessed this benefit, even if they qualified to do so.

Now, the DoD can easily identify the service members who qualify by matching the correct records. Once they do that, the benefit can be applied automatically.

“Brave men and women in uniform serving our country can now focus on doing their jobs and coming home safely, not filling out more paperwork to access their hard-earned benefits,” said FSA Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray. “Federal Student Aid is grateful for our strong partnership with the Department of Defense, and we will seek to reduce red tape for service members wherever possible.”

Automatic Student Loan Discharges for Those with Total and Permanent Disability Ratings

In another August press release from the U.S. Department of Education, those with a total and permanent disability (TPD) will receive automatic student loan discharges, including veterans. These borrowers will be identified through an existing data match with the SSA. This will apply to over 323,000 borrowers.

 

These changes are going to be good for service members and veterans. Anytime a benefit can be applied automatically, it eliminates the need for extra paperwork on the service member’s part.

 

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Free Tutoring for Military Spouses & Families – Tutor.com & more

Free and Discounted Tutoring Services for Military Spouses & Dependents

As we head into a new school year, we want to make sure we will be prepared for our kids’ needs. Luckily, as military families, we have  options, from discounted to free tutoring for military spouses and families. Here is a list of tutoring services and other educational help for military families.

List of Free Tutoring Services for Military

Tutor.com: Now Free for Military Spouses and Families

Tutor.com offers online tutoring and homework help in more than 100 subjects.

You are able to get help 24/7, either by starting a session right away, scheduling a future session, or uploading a document for offline review. In addition, they have an app you can upload homework problems to.

They have 3,000 tutors who have been carefully screened. The tutors include certified teachers, college professors, and graduate students from accredited universities.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

Tutor.com Eligibility for Military

As of April of 2020, all DoD service members, civilian personnel, military spouses, and all dependent family members from kindergarten to college/adult can use the program at zero cost.

For more info, please go here.

The Boys and Girls Club of America

Through the Boys and Girls Club of America, they have a variety of programs you can use to help your military child.

The Boys and Girls Club offers programs such as Computer Science Pathway, Digital Literacy Essentials, diplomas2Degrees, DIY Stem, and more. They offer free club memberships to Active Duty, Reserves, or National Guard families.

For more info, please go here.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library

Through the MWR Digital Library, which is through Military OneSource, you can find free, online resources. This is available to service members, military spouses, and their children. You can find e-books and audiobooks on almost any topic as well as databases and reference books.

For more info, please go here.

Professional Tutors of America

Through the Professional Tutors of America, they offer academic services to a wide range of learners. They offer discounts to military, veterans, their spouses, and families on customized one-to-one academic tutoring programs.

Children of fallen soldiers, deployed National Guard and Reservists, and Wounded Warriors of OEF/OIF with at least a 30% service-connected disability will receive free tutoring assistance.

For more info, please go here.

MCEC

MCEC, the Military Child Education Coalition supports all military-connected children. They offer help with educating, advocating, and collaborating to resolve the different educational challenges that come with life in the military. Some of their programs include MCEC Parent Workshops, Military Student Consultant, MCEC Parent Webinars, SchoolQuest, Student 2 Student, Student Focused Webinars, and more.

For more info, please go here.

DoDEA Resources

DoDEA, the Department of Defense Education Activity offers resources such as activities for students at home, an eBook library guide, a Benchmark library, Math and Social Studies resources, and more.

For more info, please go here.

School Liaisons

School liaisons are available through your duty station. They can help your child get settled into a new school or help with academic issues. You can do a search by military installation to find one in your area.

For more info, please go here.

Operation Hero

Operation Hero is an after-school program for military children who are in the 2nd-8th grade. The program is to help the kids cope and adjust to the unique challenges of military life. It is a safe environment for students to express their feelings, as well as being able to receive academic and emotional health support as well as connecting with peers.

For more info, please go here.

 

Keep these free military tutoring service programs in mind as you start a new school year with your children.

 

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What Do DoDEA Schools Look Like This Year?

What Do DoDEA Schools Look Like This Year?

On the homepage of Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), it states that the upcoming 20-21 school year will look different across all of their schools, with the creation of “a new-normal environment due to COVID-19.” While in-person instruction is what has proven to work best for students, there are some changes that have to be made, such as:

  • wearing of face coverings
  • social distancing
  • additional sanitization and precautionary measures

DoDEA wishes to have all schools fully open with students attending in person “if local health conditions allow for it,” but is providing a virtual option for those who have concerns about their child physically returning to school.

What Does Virtual Attendance Look Like?

Attending virtually comes with a handful of requirements, the most important being a full semester commitment to virtual status, with the potential that the student attends virtually for the entire school year.  Additionally, all parents must provide virtual students with internet and computer access (or make arrangements through the school in cases of hardship or inaccessibility).

As of mid-August, roughly 42% of DoDEA’s enrollment (25,568 students) will be learning outside of the typical classroom setting when this school year starts. All of those virtual students are required to follow the DoDEA Virtual school calendar, with classes having started on August 24, and possibly different than the in-person calendar others are following in their region.

Some Parent Participation Required

This type of instruction does require some parent-participation, such as teacher conferences (as-needed) or occasional check-ups on student progress, depending on the age of the student.  Some locations are offering the option for virtual students to still participate in extracurricular activities, but these spots will be available on a limited basis and will require the wearing of face coverings.

Food Assistance Programs Still Available

It should also be noted that food assistance programs are also still available for those learning in a virtual environment (in the form of takeout lunches).

1/3 of DoDEA Schools to Open With Remote-Learning Only Status

There are, however, a handful of DoDEA schools that are only re-opening on a remote/virtual status, meaning all students will be following these procedures whether by choice or not.

DoDEA director Tom Brady briefed the Pentagon on August 13, when he stated about one-third of DoDEA schools would remain inaccessible to students and would begin the 20-21 school year on a remote-learning only status. Due to the high number of cases in the U.S., only half of DoDEA schools are opening with COVID-19 measures in place; the other half are located on installations with a Health Protection Condition of Charlie or Delta.

Students in these locations will all attend remotely on a temporary basis, based on the status of local health conditions. Additionally, 19 of the 45 schools in the Pacific and two of the 64 schools in Europe will open remote-only and stay that way until local conditions improve.

>> For a full list of remote-only DoDEA schools, please go here.

In the case of schools that are opening for in-person learning, conditions have been put into place in the event that a student, teacher, or staff contracts the coronavirus. Brady said in his briefing, “The school will shut down for two to five days for custodians to clean. If the school must close for six or more days, the school will move to remote learning until it is safe to return.”

Even with Director Brady’s reassurances, there are still many who fear the re-opening of DoDEA schools so soon. The Federal Education Association (FEA) currently has an online plea out, calling for the remote-only opening of all DoDEA schools, as they are “not prepared to open schools safely” mainly due to staffing issues. The FEA raises issues of properly trained staff for cleaning/sanitation purposes, not enough staff leading to overcrowding of classrooms, buses that will still run at full, overcrowded capacity, and others. Many say that DoDEA is doing its best, but more time is needed to ensure the safety of all those involved in the schools.

 

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OCONUS Jobs for Healthcare Professionals

Top 3 Jobs for Healthcare Professionals OCONUS

Healthcare degrees tend to be inherently portable. An aging population and shortage of healthcare professionals across the country results in a high demand for this field.

Within the US, challenges related to license transfer from state to state can delay portability. The employment landscape – requirements for different employers, local salary rates, and local levels of healthcare worker shortages – can vary significantly from region to region.

Barriers to Employment OCONUS

The list of barriers faced by spouses with healthcare degrees becomes daunting in the OCONUS setting. Requirements to secure or renew a professional license are often vague or nonexistent for spouses moving out of the country.

Working on a Foreign Economy

This is one of the most obvious barriers for military spouses seeking employment OCONUS. It sounds adventurous, an opportunity to learn about healthcare in another country. The following factors must be considered.

  • Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) – These agreements between the US and the host nation define what rights and privileges military families have while living in a foreign country. Depending on the specific agreement, working in the host nation may require multiple extra steps – if it is allowed at all.
  • Language Barriers – Although some spouses have a second language before moving OCONUS and the rare opportunity to work without speaking a second language may exist – proficiency in a foreign language is typically necessary. Achieving the level of B1 according to the Common European Framework is a common requirement – and that takes time!
  • Differences in Healthcare Structure – While the US generally functions as a third-party payor healthcare system, many OCONUS destinations have something closer to universal healthcare. Although they often carry the same name, healthcare roles can look very different from country to country.

For those seeking to learn a new language – utilize the free MWR library resources or military and student discounts for Rosetta Stone.

The USAJobs Abyss

Considering the uphill battle for working on a foreign economy, more traditional employment may be available through a US military installation. USAJobs is likely the most common avenue for employment – though opportunities through contracting companies may also be available.

USAJobs is the Federal Government’s official employment site. Frustration is a common reaction to navigating the application and hiring process using this system. Some reasons why include:

  • Unusual Resume Expectations – While most resumes are 1-2 pages long and succinctly hit the highlights, a USA Jobs resume is far more detail oriented and longer.
  • Complex Automated Systems – Many agencies rely on an automated system to identify key words and select the best candidates. Without fully understanding how this system selects candidates, creating a resume that the system will pull is difficult.
  • Eligibility is Independent of Qualification – What? While a person may be qualified – or even overqualified – they must fall into a hiring path to be considered eligible.
  • Competitive Nature OCONUS – What do you get when 50 unemployed healthcare professionals apply for one of five annual job vacancies? Competition. Though poorly documented, the unemployment rates among military spouses in OCONUS communities is arguably higher than within the US. This is true for vacancies through USAJobs and contracting companies.

Fortunately, USAJobs offers recurring, free, virtual webinars to help applicants tackle writing a federal resume and navigating USAJobs. Deeper understanding of the USAJobs system increases the likelihood that a resume will actually make it into the hands of a hiring manager.

Protected Healthcare Data

Just because a job is advertised as remote or called telehealth/telemedicine does not mean that the person filling that role can work from anywhere. Data security and HIPPA laws often restrict eligible applicants to a specific region within the US. Many telehealth/telemedicine jobs require employees to report to a call center. Jobs may also be advertised as remote, but still require the employee to report to work a percentage of the time.

Barriers to Completing a Healthcare Degree

Many healthcare professionals choose to continue their education through online programs. College is expensive and paying for it while you face unemployment is not ideal. Obtaining a healthcare degree often requires clinical hours – hands-on practice that supports learning. While it isn’t impossible to complete clinicals while living OCONUS, it does depend on finding a facility that supports students, an agreement between the facility and your school, and identifying a qualified preceptor.

To explore this further, contact the education department at a local military treatment facility. A good network can also help identify and navigate local options.

RELATED: Search colleges with Healthcare degrees at CollegeRecon

Top 3 Jobs for Healthcare Professionals OCONUS

For spouses anticipating a move to or already living in an OCONUS location, hurdling this list of barriers can be intimidating – and scary for families that rely on two incomes. Fortunately, there are some options to continue a career in healthcare.

Content or Subject Matter Expert

Companies like Freedom Learning Group are dedicated to providing career opportunities for underemployed military spouses. They do this by harnessing the expertise of military spouses across the globe to develop educational content like developing test questions and writing content for textbooks. Jobs through Freedom Learning Group company are 100% remote and can be filled by anyone living anywhere in the world.

Health Writer

Health writing affords an opportunity to work remotely from anywhere. Similar to content or subject matter experts, health writers create health-related content. Health writing is often done on a freelance basis. The Savvy Scribe is one platform to learn more about launching a career as a health writer – learn more by listening to the podcast.

Educator

An ongoing shift to distance education may provide opportunities for spouses with healthcare degrees to work remotely as course instructors. Start by searching fully online institutions like American Public University System or Wester Governor’s University. Then dig for leads teaching subjects like Medical Terminology or Anatomy and Physiology.

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These options require more effort than a traditional job search, but can provide supplemental income. Remember to keep in mind the differences in time zones. Networking will be extremely beneficial when searching for virtual and remote jobs available to OCONUS spouses.

Think Temporary

Spouses experiencing an OCONUS employment landscape need to be kind to themselves. Continuing a healthcare career in this setting may feel like a giant ripple or a screeching halt. Chances are this experience is temporary. This transition may be an opportunity to explore something new or think outside the box. The US Healthcare system will need you when you return!

 

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Cloud Services Careers For the Military Community

Should You Consider a Career in Cloud Services?

Cloud Services also commonly referred to as cloud computing are services consisting of storage, networking, analytics, intelligence, software, and application design. With 90% of companies operating in the cloud it is no wonder that in 2021 the cloud services market is set to reach $300 billion. On LinkedIn alone, there are 872 cloud-based businesses looking for skilled professionals. Maybe it is time to consider learning some new skills to advance your current career or jumpstart a new one.

In the United States, there are 152,262 open positions available for cloud service professionals with the majority of jobs ranging from $93,500 to $142,000 annually. Advancing your career in cloud services opens up many employment opportunities as the need for cloud services can reach into every industry. Whether you are looking for traditional work in an office setting or a remote career, cloud services could be your next career option by utilizing free training resources available to the military community.

Free Training with Certifications Available to the Military Community

Trailhead Military

Trailhead Military is provided through Salesforce Military, which offers free training and certifications. Salesforce is a Cloud computing company that provides software platforms and solutions for companies to create custom software applications focused on customer relationship management. Salesforce Military offers online training courses, certification, one-on-one career advice, support groups, continued skill-building, and employment connections within the Salesforce ecosystem. The courses provided for cloud services range from a beginner level (requiring no previous experience) to an advanced level (possesses intermediate skills or education).

Cloud Trainings Offered                                Average annual salary

Salesforce Administrator                              $95,000

Salesforce Developer                                     $125,000

Business Analyst                                              $104,000

Sales Careers                                                     $90,275

Marketing Careers                                           $85,627

Salesforce Architect                                       $150,000

Salesforce Consultant                                    $95,000

Service Careers                                                 $74,000

Who Can Apply?

  • Active Duty
  • National Guard
  • Reserves
  • Veterans
  • Military Spouses

To learn more about the Trailhead Military program and how to sign up click here. Anyone applying for the program will be verified through Troop ID and may be required to provide documentation showing military affiliation.

Onward to Opportunity

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University launched the Onward to Opportunity Program (O2O) in 2015 that offers free training courses, professional certification, career coaching, support groups, and employment services. With courses being offered online or in-person the O2O program is a great opportunity to enter the cloud services world. The course provided for cloud services range from beginner to intermediate.

Cloud Trainings Offered                                Average annual salary

AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials           $113,932

CompTIA Cloud+                                              $73,000

Who Can Apply?

  • Active Duty – transitioning from the military within the next 6 months with an honorable discharge status
  • National Guard – active member on part-time status
  • Reserves – active member on part-time status
  • Veterans – retired or separated with an honorable discharge status
  • Military Spouses – spouse of any active-duty service member, active Nation Guard/Reserves, or Veteran

If you would learn more information about the Onward to Opportunity program or register click here. After filling out the interest form online all applicants will be screened and may be required to submit documentation that shows military affiliation.

With self-paced virtual courses, you are able to take advantage of these free training programs no matter where you are in your military journey and start a rewarding career in the cloud services industry. With companies eager to find skilled professionals and access to career coaching as well as employment connections with companies dedicated to hiring military-affiliated individuals, the sky is no longer the limit. With both programs offering career assistance throughout the process it will make starting a new career or advancing your current career in cloud services easier and more rewarding.

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Financial Tips for Enlisted Military Service Members

More than the GI Bill: College Bound, Service Member Financial Tips

With a little planning you can stretch the GI Bill into a graduate degree.  Here are a few tips that should help you create a five-year plan to get you through one enlistment and in to college.  There are tips spanning those looking to join, thinking about their schooling or planning to leave the military.

Delayed Entry Program Advancement and Enlistment Bonuses

Earn a promotion before you even ship to boot camp. Recruits who spend time in the Delayed Entry Program/Future Soldiers Program can earn the rank of E-3 by completing a few tasks while hanging around the recruiting station.

The easiest way to get your first promotion to E-2 is to pass a knowledge and skills test encompassing basic military information and physical fitness.

To earn the E-3 paygrade you will have to put in a little more time and effort, but it can be accomplished a number of ways including referring other people to enlist.

Though you would automatically promote from E-1 to E-2 after six months of service, starting out as an E-2 will net you $1,200 more in earnings than an E-1 would earn in those first six months.

Monthly Enlistment Pay for Members with less than 2 Years of Service for 2020

(Defense Finance and Accounting Service)

E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4
$1,785 $2,000.70 $2,371.80 $2,829.00

Enlistment Bonuses

Additionally, each branch of the military offer enlistment bonuses that can be upwards of $50,000 for members who sign-up for certain jobs.

The jobs and payouts vary according to need, so be sure to discuss with your recruiter. Be aware that some bonuses are not paid out until you complete the requisite training and may come with lengthened service contract agreements.

Location, Location, Location

Save ~$750/mo or $9,000/yr

Feeling adventurous? Consider requesting a duty station overseas, specifically where an automobile is not required.

Places like Japan or Yongsan, Korea near Seoul have robust public transportation systems which will leave you questioning why you ever wanted to own a car in the first place.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of owning and maintaining a car is around $9,000 a year including car payments, gas, maintenance, and insurance.

Many other duty stations offer up to $150 a month for being assigned there. This is called hardship duty pay. These places include areas in Alaska, Turkey, Djibouti, Diego Garcia, and more.

These assignments are not necessarily dangerous, but the quality of life may be somewhat substandard compared to the average lifestyle of Americans.

Bonuses and Extra Pay

Depending or your job and the mission you have been assigned to, the government may authorize extra pay to incentivize certain duties. Take a look at some common incentive pay the government offers. You might decide being a submariner or infantryman is worth the extra money.

Additionally, if you are deployed to a designated Combat Zone like Afghanistan or the Arabian Peninsula Area, your earnings will be untaxed.

Sampling of Various Incentive Pay

(Defense Finance and Accounting Service)

Type Base Monthly Amount/Monthly Amount
Career Sea Pay
  • E-1 with less than two years of service: $50
  • E-4 with over three years of service: $350
Submarine Duty Pay (in addition to Sea Pay)
  • E-1 with less than two years of service: $80
  • E-4 with over three years of service: $ 100
Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay (Flight Deck Duty, Parachute Jumping, etc) $150
Imminent Danger/Hostile Fire Pay $225/month
Maritime Visit Board Search and Seizure $150/month
Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Pay $80/month
Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus $100-$500, based on skill level

Life on Base

Junior enlisted spend a lot a time on base. Take advantage of this by eating balanced meals for cheap/free at the galley or mess.  Them stock up your barracks room with foodstuff from the commissary who boast a worldwide average savings of 25% compared to civilian grocers.

Utilize your post’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs and tours. MWR offers free or reasonably priced services on everything from automobile shop time to golf and movies.

Tuition Assistance

After you adjust to military life consider tackling some 100 level college courses to help jump start your degree.

Each branch of service offers its own tuition assistance program, but the general idea is that your tuition and fees will be 100% covered so long as you pass your classes.

Leaving the service with even 12 credits of classes completed will go a long way to preserve your GI Bill benefits. That would save you a semester’s worth of courses.

Be warned that taking college courses while deployed may be challenging or infeasible.

See Colleges Fully Covered By Tuition Assistance at CollegeRecon.

Post Enlistment

So, your enlistment is up. What to do now? First, sign up for your state’s unemployment benefits. This will help ease your financial burden while you wait for your semester to begin.

RELATED: UCX: Unemployment Insurance After the Military

Next, consider paying out of pocket for two years at a community college near your home of record. Tuition for two years should total about $7,000, then you can transfer those credits to a university and start using your GI Bill to earn your bachelor’s degree.

This will help stretch your benefits into a graduate degree. If you use your GI Bill wholly for undergraduate studies, you will pay out of pocket or apply for loans for your graduate degree which will be tens of thousands of dollars.

Next, research and apply to scholarships and grants. These are financial gifts you do not have to repay, so there is no harm in applying to as many as you can. There are a great variety of scholarships ranging $50 to “full ride.”

There are even veteran specific scholarships, and your state may offer education benefits as part of their veteran’s programs. Finally, be sure to apply for a Pell Grant, which is an income based federal grant.

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Then, if you are not living at home, find a roommate or two. The GI Bill pays a housing allowance while you are attending school, but splitting costs with one or two people will save thousands per year.

Rental and Housing Stipend Savings

Housing Allowance Based on E-5, with Dependents (GI Bill rate) in Philadelphia (2020 Defense Travel Management Office)

BAH: $2,049

Bedrooms One Two Three
Housing Cost  $1,200 $1,600 $2,000
Rent per Roommate $1,200 $800 $666
Cable and Internet $80 $40 $27
Utilities $150 $75 $50
Total Cost $1,430 $915 $743
Savings on Rent and Utilities N/A $515  $687
Monthly Stipend Savings $619 $1,134 $1,362

You will not get rich from the military or the GI Bill, but you can put yourself in the incredible financial position of being debt-free after college with a potential graduate degree.

 

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10 Careers With Educational Programs In Under One Year

As you think about what you would want to do after your time in the military is over, you might want to figure out an educational plan that you can complete in a shorter amount of time. There are quite a few careers you can go into with educational programs under a year.

10 Careers With Educational Programs In Under One Year

Here are ten of them to consider.

Medical Billing and Coding

A course for medical billing can be done in just a couple of months. Some courses are self-paced which allows you to get the certificate in your own time. As a medical biller you will work with patients and insurance companies, and take on some customer service tasks.

A course for medical coding can take a few months up to a year, depending on the program. As a coder, you would work with healthcare professionals to accurately categorize the services and products provided to patients.

Dental Assistant

You can usually go through the dental assistant program in less than a year. There will be time in the classroom as well as hands-on training. You will learn the skills to work in a dentist office, assisting patients, taking x-rays, and other tasks. After training is complete, you can find a job in a dental clinic.

Certified Nurse Assistant

A Certified Nurse Assistant, or CNA program lasts between 4-12 weeks. The program will include classroom time as well as clinical work. You would learn how to provide basic care to patients and to assist in daily activities. You can find a job in a hospital, a nursing or long-term facility or even in home health care. A CNA can be the perfect stepping stone to a career in nursing down the line.

Web Designer

You can get your web design certificate in a few weeks, sometimes even in a shorter amount of time. There are a lot of online programs that you can do right from home as well. As a web designer, you can work for yourself with your own business or work for a bigger company working on and designing websites.

Security Guard

A security guard is often a popular choice for an after military career for a veteran. To become one can vary based on your state. There is usually a short training as well an on-the-job training hours. Some trainings can also be found online. As a security guard, you can find a job working for a company, bank, a museum, etc, or even become a bouncer.

Phlebotomy Tech

A phlebotomy tech is a person who draws blood from patients and prepares and send the blood to the lab. You can get this type of certificate in just a few weeks. A lot of the training is hands-on and becoming a phlebotomy tech can be a stepping stone for other careers. You can start working in a hospital or a lab.

Pharmacy Tech

The certificate program for becoming a pharmacy tech is usually about a year or less. You will be learning from a lot of on-the-job training as well. You will be learning how to supply medicine to patients, assemble medicines, and provide information to patients and those in the healthcare field. You can work in a hospital, pharmacy or a store with a pharmacy.

Welding

Depending on the school, you should be able to get a welding certificate in about six months or so. There are lots of different industries you can use the certificate in to find a job including iron working, or sheet metal working. If you enjoy working with your hands, this could be a good career for you.

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Auto Mechanic

Although there are some programs that are two or more years, you should be able to get an auto mechanic certificate within a few months. There are a lot of specialty classes you can take focusing on certain subjects such as engine repair or transmission repair. You can get a job servicing vehicles, working to do oil changes, diagnosing problems and more.

Truck Driver

On average, to get your Class A CDL license you will need to take a program that lasts about 7-8 weeks. Some of them are shorter than that. With your Class A CDL license you will be able to drive trucks commercially. This would allow you to work as an over-the-road truck driver or drive trucks locally where you are home every night.

For most certificate programs you will need to have at least a high school degree or GED before you start the program. Some locations will have different programs available than others. Make sure to do your research before committing to a particular program that will help further your after military career.

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Helpful Places for Military Spouses for Their Education

Military Spouse and Education: Helpful Places to Get the Info You Need

So many military spouses want to work on their own education and careers. Whether they are ready to start college for the first time or want to go back for another degree. Whether they are going after a certificate or want to apply to law school. Luckily there are a few organizations and websites military spouses can go for help:

The National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association has a lot to offer those who want to go to school. They have scholarships and offer sections for those interested in different educational fields and careers. They have one for mental health professionals, teachers, nursing, and stem. In these sections, you can learn more about the field, licenses, and fees, and join Facebook groups to help you along the way.

SECO/Military One Source

SECO stands for Spouse Education and Career Opportunities and is a program from the Department of Defense through Military One Source. The goal of the program is to help connect military spouses with tools, to include education and training help, career coaching and exploration, and more.

Through SECO you can explore careers and skills education, training and license options, and scholarship opportunities. They also offer virtual Military Spouse symposiums where they focus on career development, education, and well-being. You can also check out their college scoreboard to help plan where you want to go to school.

 Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes offers programs and events for military spouses. Along with USAA, they offer what is called, MSEEZ (Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones.) This program helps facilitate collaboration between local and national employers, educational institutions, community resources and to build a robust employment network to help military spouses. Currently, MSEEZ has two locations in San Antonio, TX, and Tampa, FL.

Hiring Our Heroes also has two-day hiring events, military spouse employment forums, a military spouse professional network, AMPLIFY Military Spouse Career Intensive, and a corporate fellowship program that is open to spouses in some locations.

MilitaryFriendly.com

This website offers a list of military friendly schools, and they also have a list just for military spouses. The list will recognize those higher education institutions that actively recruit and support spouses of active duty service members. The survey is sent to the colleges and universities to find the data for the list. This will help you decide on where to go to school and to evaluate military spouse-friendly schools.

Military Spouse Magazine

Military Spouse Magazine has plenty of articles to help military spouses. They have a good library of articles about military spouses and education, from scholarship ideas to questions about if you should go back to school. They are worth visiting to read more about focusing on your education.

Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families has networks available to connect with others and learn more about the path you want to follow. They have professional Facebook groups for educators, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, and those in Tech. These groups will help you work towards your goals.

MYCAA

MYCAA (My Career Advancement Account) is a program offering $4,000 to military spouses to further their education. There are certain qualifications to receive the money such as your service member’s rank, and what you want to go to school for. This program is one of the best ways that military spouses can get money for college, and you should take the time to see if you qualify for it.

College and University Websites

You can also find out information about military spouse educational options on college and university websites. They might share a bit about how the college will want to work with you and what they can offer you as a military spouse. This can help you prepare for your education or even help you decide on where you want to go to school.

As military spouse education is so important, we will hopefully see more organizations and websites being created to help military spouses go back to school. If a military spouse can work on their education, they can help achieve their own goals, even while their spouse is serving in the military. This can help their family out in many ways, especially once their service member ends their military career and they become a civilian family.

 

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