Your Top 4 education benefits

02/20/2013  | 


Have you been thinking about getting your degree, but time, money or both seem to make it impossible? Fortunately there are several military benefits specifically designed to help you find the time and money to get that degree.

The following are the Top 5 Education Benefits available to military servicemembers to help eliminate the issues of time and money:

  1. Credit-by-Exam
  2. College Credit for Military Experience and Training.
  3. Military Tuition Assistance
  4. The VA GI Bill

These four benefits will help you reach your goals and achieve your full potential, but only if you are smart enough to use them!


Credit-by-Exam gives you the opportunity to earn college-level credits through a program of exams that are accepted by over 2,900 colleges. These schools grant credit for CLEP (College Level Examination Program), DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests), and ECE (Excelsior College Exam) tests.

Considering an average college course can cost you over $200 per credit, Credit-by-Exam can save you quite a bit. Civilian students pay more than $40 per exam for these tests, but DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) gives you these Credit-by-Exam tests for free. That’s a great way to avoid paying for college!

College Credit for Military Experience and Training

As a member or veteran of the armed forces you can use the American Council on Education’s (ACE) recommendation to claim academic credit for your military experience and training. Thousands of accredited schools throughout the country accept ACE recommendations for academic credit.

Something to consider: By applying your ACE credits and taking CLEP tests you may in fact already have enough credits to earn your Associate in Science degree without ever stepping into a college classroom or lecture hall.

Tuition Assistance

Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) Programs are a benefit available to eligible members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and most Ready Reserves. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to $4,500 a year for 100% of your Tuition Expenses.

Each Service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service requirements, application process’ and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.

Additionally active duty members may elect to use the MGIB “Top-Up” in addition to their service provided TA to cover high cost courses.

TA is not a loan; you should treat it like money you have earned just like your base pay! If you don’t use it you lose it!

GI Bill and VA Benefits

VA benefits, which include the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), VEAP,REAP and Reserve GI Bill, are available for active duty, reserve, and veterans to help with education costs. The Bill can provide over $37,000 in education benefits for:

  • College, Business Technical or Vocational Courses
  • Distance Learning including Correspondence Courses
  • Certification Tests
  • Apprenticeship/Job Training
  • Flight Training

If you take four classes a semester at a regionally or nationally-accredited college or university, you can get up to $1034 a month (current rates) to cover education benefits, including high-tech or vocational-technical programs. If you take two classes a semester, you could receive as much $517 a month.

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Published By    -  Other Publications: SouthEast Education Network   |   Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal

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