How to Use Military Scholarships to Afford Post Secondary Education
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Late 2013 ushered in what first seemed like good news on college expenses. It seems that the costs of post secondary education were slower to increase in 2013 than over the past few years. These costs only rose by 2.9 percent at public four-year colleges. However, this report alone fails to mention that families continue paying more for the cost of a post-secondary education than any other factor in the US. That’s because the growth of financial aid has not matched that of the rise in tuition costs. In fact, once you subtract grants, scholarships, tax credits and everything else, you’ll discover that families still pay far more than they used to. Another interesting fact is that, at the height of the recession, between 2008 and 2011, federal grants nearly doubled in volume. This growth reduced the net cost of college to far lower rates at the time: $1,940 in 2009-2010, compared to $3,120 in 2013-2014.
One way of funding a post-secondary education is to enroll in the military and benefit from military scholarships and grants. You may be wondering as to how to use military scholarships to afford post secondary education. Luckily, we’re here to help you figure it all out. There are several funding sources available for eligible veterans, people who plan to enroll, actively serving members, and for their families. The federal government offers financial aid as do many not-for-profit organizations, such as veteran’s service organizations. In the following, we explore the funding options that military enrollment gives you.
Military Scholarships and Grants to Look Into
The following scholarships and grants are available for various categories of military personnel, veterans, and their families. You can also check out further educational benefits made available for personnel serving active service military duty on various dedicated websites.
ROTC stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps, an organization that offers financial aid based on merit, not on need. For army personnel, they are available at select colleges. The list is ample and includes several hundred institutions. Air force ROTC scholarships are particularly geared toward foreign languages and technical majors. You can apply with many other majors, too. If you join the Navy, the Navy Nursing Corps, or the Marines, you become eligible for the Navy ROTC scholarships, which include both two- and four-year programs. The Marine Officer program pays for post-secondary education at a selected list of colleges and provides extra financial aid for students who attend specific HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
Other Financial Benefits for US Military Members and Their Families
If you meet various other eligibility conditions, you can also benefit from lower interest rates on your college loan, no interest whatsoever, or even have your student loan deferred while serving. Here are some examples of eligibility criteria:
- Students who took out college loans before enrolling benefit from a limited interest rate of 6 percent, as per the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, throughout the span of time during which they are in service. Both the federal government and private banks offer loans for education.
- If you applied for a direct loan after October 1, 2008, you will be charged no interest for a maximum of 60 months while you’re an active member of the US Military or National Guard. These interest rules apply to staff serving in a war zone, national emergency area, or involved in any military operation of any kind. In the case of a direct consolidation loan, this applies to the segment of the consolidation loan used to repay a loan disbursed on or after the same date mentioned above.
- Army personnel and National Guard serving in wars or other emergency and conflict zones can defer the payback of their loan throughout the duration of their service (plus an additional 180 days after being demobilized).
VA Education Benefits
If you’re a veteran or a veteran’s widow/dependent, you may be eligible for education benefits based on the GI Bill.
Grants for Iraq and Afghanistan Service Surviving Family Members
Having a parent or legal guardian who died during service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11 may make you eligible for either the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant or the Additional Federal Pell Grant. The obligatory conditions are that, at the time of the death, you were under 24 years old, or enrolled in college or career school. Part-time students are also eligible, but receive less funding. For Pell Grants, you benefit from Expected Family Contributions of zero, which may increase your odds at accessing other student aid programs from the federal government. The Service Grant is available to those who are not eligible for the Pell Grant and does not affect the EFC.