Common College Perks for Military Personnel
Many colleges accept federal military benefits. But a few go further—offering significant additional benefits, perks, and funding opportunities for members of the military outside of the traditional federal funding channels. Here’s an overview of some of the benefits some schools offer to military members—in addition to accepting federal funding for tuition.
Many colleges participate in federal military benefit programs like the Tuition Assistance (TA), and Montgomery GI Bill programs. But if the college tuition bill is still bigger than your benefits once they’re all added up, some colleges will make a special effort to
reduce their tuition—so that your entire tuition bill is
covered by your benefits.
Flexible scheduling and online classes
Accredited online colleges do an especially good job of providing full programs that satisfy the needs of military personnel who may be deployed or otherwise unable to attend a regular class schedule. However, even traditional schools now offer many programs and sometimes full degrees online.
College credit for military experience and training
Some schools will give you credit for classes taken as part of your military training—some even give credits for basic training. It’s also possible to get credits for scores on the DANTES (DSST) test or the CLEP exam. Every college is different and has a different policy on credits, however, so check with your school or the school you’re considering to find out the possibilities for your situation.
The ability to withdraw without financial penalties
This is an important one for members of the military—as deployments can be unpredictable. Some schools, such as Grand Canyon University Online, will allow you to put your studies on hold or withdraw if you’re deployed—without suffering financial penalties. Under an ideal situation, you’ll be able to pick up essentially where you left off at no additional cost when you’re ready.
Many schools offer private tuition scholarships for military personnel outside of federal funding. For instance, Liberty University offers the Heroes Fund scholarship; Strayer University offers several scholarships for active-duty members of the military; and Walden University offers the Dave Palmer Military Scholarship.
Some scholarships may have an effect on the amount of federal tuition benefits you are eligible for; talk to a financial aid officer at your college or military branch to find out if that will be true in your situation.
Textbook vouchers and waived fees
Some colleges offer other perks that can help reduce the cost of college. For instance, Liberty University will waive its technology fee for military members and give military members a book voucher worth as much as $400.
Benefits for military spouses
Some colleges offer perks for the spouses of military members as well. For instance, Strayer University offers scholarships for military spouses.
Going to school while you’re in the military can be challenging. But many schools are committed to helping you make it work. Before enrolling in a school, find out what other perks you get in addition to acceptance of TA, GI Bill, or other federal tuition benefits. You could also be eligible for a reduction or elimination of certain fees; military-specific tuition deals and scholarships; flexible scheduling and enrollment arrangements; and more. With your school’s help, tuition and school costs could be reduced—and you could potentially have a flexible schedule that would allow you to take classes even while deployed.
More About College for Military Personnel
- Military Students and the Government Shutdown
- Seven Tips for Transitioning from a Military to a Civilian Career
- Common College Perks for Military Personnel
- What is the Montgomery GI Bill "Top-Up" Benefit - And Do You Qualify?
- Members of the Military: Does Your School Qualify for GI Bill Assistance?
- Six Things You May Not Have Known About the Military Tuition Assistance Program
- Military and Veteran Students: Getting Funding for Education Outside the Federal Government
- The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act: How it Helps Veterans