College money for veterans is available from a number of places. If you are a veteran who wants to go to college, there is a lot of help out there. You might even qualify to receive 100 percent of the cost of obtaining a degree, from an associate's degree to even a master's degree.
Finding College Money for Veterans
Civilian companies sometimes offer tuition assistance for employees who qualify. Also, there are tuition assistance programs for Guard and Reserve members. Check with the education office or human resources office to see if such assistance is available and what qualifications are needed.
You can automatically save for college tuition through the Upromise program. This is not a program specifically designed for veterans, but is one that can help them save money. It is a free program that links credit cards and other types of cards, such as shopper loyalty cards, to your Upromise account. When you purchase certain items from specified vendors, money is automatically deposited into your account. You can receive money when you fill up the car, buy online, or book travel.
College money for veterans can be found in the thousands of scholarships that are available. The military provides extensive information on available scholarships online. These scholarships are available from different organizations and directed towards veterans based on specific criteria. For example, the Department on Defense offers scholarships, and The Military Officer's Association of America (MOAA) also has scholarships and other financial assistance programs.
To apply for a scholarship through one of the military organizations, you only need to fill out one application to be considered for any of their programs. Requirements, deadlines and details, however, vary among the various programs. For example, Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom may qualify for the Horatio Alger Military Scholarship. Two requirements for that particular scholarship include enrollment in a four-year degree program and demonstrating financial need.
Many colleges and universities also offer scholarships for military personnel, including veterans. Some of these include Michigan State University and Grantham University, among others.University of Idaho is one example of a school that offers scholarships through "Operation: Education". The program covers tuition and living expenses. De Anza College is another; the school offers scholarships for veterans who want a degree in medicine, engineering, business, science, or technology.
Some online schools have very reasonable prices and many offer members of the military special discounts.
Any veteran interested in attending college should also explore provisions in the GI Bill. The GI Bill is available for both active duty personnel and veterans. The GI Bill will assist in paying tuition costs for veterans at any accredited college. The amount of assistance you will receive depends on which version of the GI Bill you qualify for. You may receive over $1200 a month or have your entire tuition covered. It may cover up to the highest amount of tuition at any state university in the state where you live.
The GI Bill has various versions, with different requirements and different benefits. For example, under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), you have ten years to use your benefits. You may use them for a while, take a break, and then reapply and start receiving benefits later. The tuition payments here are not considered financial aid, so you may also be eligible for Pell grants, student loans, and scholarships. However, money from the GI Bill will reduce the amount of financial aid you will receive. Benefits are based on the number of credit hours you are taking.
Applying for Benefits
Applying for benefits can be a lengthy process, but it is not difficult. It usually takes four steps, or less, depending on which college or university you want to attend.
- First, find a college or university that is approved to offer VA benefits. This is not that difficult, as most of them do. You can check the Military.com website for more information.
- Second, fill out the "Application for Education Benefits" (VA Form 22-1990). Your school will probably have it available for you.
- Third, send in the application to your regional VA office. Often the school will send the application in for you, along with their paperwork.
- Fourth, when you start receiving your benefits through direct deposit, you will need to fill out the form, "Web Automated Verification of Eligibility" (WAVE) and repeat this every month that you receive benefits. If you do not do this every month, you will not receive your benefits. It is a simple process as you just need to log in to the VA WAVE website.