01. April 2013 · Comments Off on Post 9/11 GI Bill Basics for the Incoming Recruit · Categories: Military Benefits, Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Obviously, education has become arguably more expensive than it’s actually worth. Contrary to many traditional arguments, a college education seems to be going the way of exceeding it’s marketplace value – at least when you consider student loan interest rates, the cost of tuition, and the likelihood of picking up a job right out of school.

This is undoubtedly one of the most compelling aspects of enlisting in the military – the enormous number benefits associated with education while in the service and after you’re discharged. A great many of the factors that non-military college goers have to consider are minimized or go out the window entirely.

There are quite a few military education programs in place – Tuition Assistance (making an appearance in the news quite recently for being eliminated, then brought back almost immediately), scholarships, Montgomery GI Bill (aka, MGIB), VEAP, and to say nothing of credits for school while you’re in the military – more on all these a bit later.

In short, GI Bill (both the MGIB and Post 9/11) programs pay for you to go to school. Both programs are markedly different from one another, and it’s very important to decide which one is better for you and your education goals. Here, we’ll just glimpse briefly at the most popular GI Bill program known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which you may have heard something about – it’s easily one of the biggest recruitment selling points.

 

The Post 9/11 GI Bill

Easily one of the best things to happen to active duty and veterans in a long time just shy of coming home from a deployment. This program has changed the way we pursue and pay for education, in my opinion, for the objective better. Here are a few facts to keep in mind.

-100% of tuition is paid up to $17,500/year for private facilities. State schools? It’s even better – 100% tuition is covered. If you do attend a private school that will end up exceeding $17,500 a year, though, many are called “Yellow Ribbon” schools, which have opted to continue allowing you to take classes and GI Bill funds even after exceeding the maximum. Which is pretty cool.

-Payments are made directly to the school, so you don’t even have to worry about bothering with much of the administrative stuff. Take it from me, this is a good thing.

-Book and education expenses stipend (i.e. book payments, etc.). This is paid directly to you once you get enrolled and happens several times per year. It caps out at $1,000 each year you’re doing the college thing. (I can’t overstate how helpful this is, as colleges are world renowned for nickel and diming students at nearly every opportunity all in the name of “it’s part of your educational investment!”)

-Living stipend. Possibly one of the coolest aspects to the New GI Bill is the fact that you’ll be paid an additional monthly amount (during months when classes are going on – Christmas time, for example, usually only renders about 50% because classes usually wrap up halfway through the month) to cover rent, meal, time not spent working, etc. This money isn’t monitored and it’s not a loan, so you can spend it wherever it needs to be spent!

 

27. March 2013 · Comments Off on Tuition Assistance – Gone and Back Again, Why, and What You Need to Know · Categories: Military Benefits · Tags: , , ,

There are some definite perks to military service for anyone who’s career-oriented enough to investigate their options. The assumption is that you’re pretty driven in making a successful career if you’re on this site, so chances are good that this applies to you.

Tuition Assistance has been around for a while now, providing 100% tuition college for active duty personnel in every branch, alleviating the need for soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen to tap into their GI Bill funds before they leave the service, or are ready to take advantage of that benefit. This is a awesome program that many veterans wish they’d taken greater advantage of while they were active duty (myself included). Nevertheless, it’s something to look into as soon as you get to your final duty station – it’s not an option during basic training because you’ll be too busy, and although it is possible during technical training, it’s generally frowned upon. Your command expects you to first learn your craft before embarking on your extra-military education.

Each year, you’re allowed as much as $4,500 dollars to expend on tuition. Most of the time, the check is cut and sent directly to the school, so you won’t be handling that money yourself, very similar to the post-9/11 GI Bill structure. Trust me, it’s much better that way.

Recently, as a result of the sequester – a clever budget cut was made to reinforce the (supposed) evils of budget cuts – and the powers that be placed that right where it hurt the most – military personnel. Incidentally, Air Force One costs approximately $180,000 per hour to operate, and yet we cut out military benefits in the name of (supposed) fiscal responsibility. Again, this isn’t a political blog, but there is bound to be overlap when you blog about the military. For more about this overlap, read my post about politics and the military.

Fortunately, Congress has overruled that decision as of March 23rd, restoring Tuition Assistance to those branches who had been forced to discontinue it (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps).

There’s some disparity from one branch to the next on what TA covers and what it doesn’t, so keep it in mind what your limits are and plan you course load accordingly. It’s also wise to consider whether course work is a viable option based on your job and command’s time constraints – especially if you end up attached to a highly mobile unit like a ship, any kind of special warfare team – the truth is, it may not even be possible if you anticipate being out at sea for months at a stretch.

Below is an overview of each branch:

 

Navy

Tuition and Fees: Navy Tuition Assistance covers 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166.67 per quarter credit hour
  • $16.67 per clock hour
  • Limit of 16 semester hours per fiscal year

What is covered: The Navy Tuition Assistance covers the following fees:

  • Tuition
  • Lab Fees
  • Registration/enrollment Fees
  • Miscellaneous Fees
  • Computer/technology Fees

Who is eligible: The following categories of Navy Personnel are able to use the Navy Tuition Assistance:

  • Active Duty Navy
  • Active Duty Status Navy Reserve personnel

Air Force

Tuition and Fees: Air Force Tuition Assistance covers 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166 per quarter credit hour
  • $4500 total for the fiscal year

What is covered: The Air Force Tuition Assistance covers the following fees:

  • Tuition
  • Lab Fees
  • Registration/enrollment Fees
  • Miscellaneous Fees
  • Computer/technology Fees

Who is eligible: The following categories of Air Force Personnel are able to use the Air Force Tuition Assistance:

  • Active Duty Air Force
  • Air Force Reserves

 


 

Marines

Tuition and Fees: Marine Corps Tuition Assistance covers 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166 per quarter credit hour
  • $4500 total for the fiscal year

What is covered: The Marine Corps Tuition Assistance covers the following fees:

  • Tuition
  • Lab Fees
  • Enrollment Fees
  • Special Fees
  • Computer Fees

Who is eligible: The following categories of Marine Corps Personnel are able to use the Marine Corps Tuition Assistance:

  • Active Duty Marines

 

Coast Guard

Tuition and Fees: Coast Guard Tuition Assistance covers 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166 per quarter credit hour
  • $4500 total for the fiscal year

What is covered: The Coast Guard Tuition Assistance covers the following fees:

  • Tuition
  • Lab Fees

Who is eligible: The following categories of Coast Guard Personnel are able to use the Coast Guard Tuition Assistance:

  • Active Duty Coast Guard
  • Selective Reserve
  • Civilian Employees

 

Army

Tuition and Fees: Army Tuition Assistance covers 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166 per quarter credit hour
  • $4500 total for the fiscal year

What is covered: The Army Tuition Assistance covers the following fees:

  • Tuition
  • Lab Fees
  • Enrollment Fees
  • Special Fees
  • Computer Fees

Who is eligible: The following categories of Army Personnel are able to use the Army Tuition Assistance:

  • Active Duty Army
  • Army Reserves on Active Duty Status
  • Army National Guard on Active Duty