With unemployment still high and student debt climbing, there has been some changes in the way that graduates find jobs after school. Many are looking for alternative ways to pay off their student debts. Some are choosing to go into the military. The Boston Globe recently reported that many students are opting for this route because the military pays for your education and offers some relief for student loan debt. In addition, it’s easy to find a college with military scholarships. Most colleges have a special office for military students where they can get financial help and counseling.
1. Apply to Military Friendly Colleges
Most colleges clearly state their programs and aid for military students on their website. Both on campus and online schools offer different military aid. Some schools only provide some assistance while others offer reduced tuition, multiple student organizations, counseling, housing and scholarships. You can usually find these policies under distance programs or online programs for military students.
2. Apply for Financial Aid
Every college usually includes a section on financial aid in the application, which means that if you haven’t already, you should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This opens the door to all kinds of financial aid programs for military students including Pell Grant and FSEOG. Many colleges also use the FAFSA to determine how much aid they can offer you and even enter you into scholarship programs because you filled out a FAFSA. There’s a section on your military information, so you should be sure to complete this to the best of your ability.
3. Programs for Families
There will also be some military colleges that really provide aid for children and spouses of military servicemembers and veterans. This aid isn’t just bound to scholarships, but you will find a variety of different scholarships that pay for education while a spouse or parent is on active duty. You can find a long list of current military scholarships online.
4. Go Army Reserve or National Guard
If you want to receive military aid but don’t want to do a full tour, there are some benefits to joining the Army Reserve or National Guard. You can attend school while you’re on duty while also taking advantage of military status benefits.
Student loan debt is out of control, but you don’t have to get into debt with the right school. There are a ton of online degree programs out there that provide incredible benefits for students and yet don’t cost as much as on campus tuition per year. It’s important to find a good college that’s also flexible. You can also find military friendly programs at these schools as well. When you’re a veteran or servicemember, people want to work with you because there is a sense of leadership. You have to take the lead in your education and find financial aid that to pay for your career goals.