It can be daunting to transition from military to civilian life, but Trident University appreciates the unique situations military families encounter upon pursuit of a higher education degree. The post-9/11 GI Bill, activated during the Bush II Administration, provides great support for men and women who still want to make education a part of their future success. However, there are many components to the bill, and it is important to take a good look at the qualifying and disqualifying aspects of the support program.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the post-9/11 GI Bill applies to you if you have:
- At least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after September 10th, 2001 and are still on active duty
- At least 90 days of aggregate active duty service and are an honorably discharged Veteran
- At least 30 days of aggregate active duty service and were discharged with a service-connected disability
You know your status at the time that you contemplate using the GI Bill for education, so it is important to match your particular status to the benefits. The link to the program pamphlet in PDF form has been provided:
What Does the GI Bill Provide?
The GI Bill gives you the means to succeed academically without having to worry about providing for yourself and your family. It also allows you to have a part or full-time job and save your earnings as you pursue your education. The three main benefits stand, thus:
Tuition Coverage: the GI Bill provides up to 100% coverage for stateside public schools (in other words, schools inside the United States that are funded by state governments). The GI Bill also provides a portion of tuition relief for those wishing to attend private or foreign schools (in other words, schools either outside of the United States or schools privately funded by endowments). Online schools like Trident University are safe options for those wishing to balance a full-time work schedule with a school schedule.
Housing Benefits: the GI Bill provides an MHA (Monthly Housing Allowance) that is equivalent to your particular circumstance. The attachment provided above states the allowance for particular circumstances more explicitly. Basically, however, the MHA you will receive depends on the type of school or training you will be attending, the location in which you live, and whether or not you will be out of the country. Pay attention to your rank; if you rank below an E-5, you may not be eligible to receive those benefits.
Book Stipend: The GI Bill provides up to $1,000 dollars in books and supplies each year. That should come as a relief to students who understand the expense of new, updated science textbooks. This benefit is important; even if you are attending school online, you will not escape textbook purchases. The books are vital to your understanding of the field, so you might as well use the stipend to your advantage.
Why Pursue an Online Bachelors Degree?
Although it is a myth that an online bachelors degree is less time-consuming than achieving in in-house degree, an online program gives you the flexibility to tailor your work schedule to your school schedule. Of course, the GI Bill makes it easier to abandon work while you pursue your education, but many veterans prefer to work and save while earning a degree. Trident University encourages its student pool to take opportunities in both education and the workforce to maximize their potential living standards. During your pursuit of an online bachelor’s degree, Trident works with students to create a clear path for timely success.
What is the Most Competitive Degree?
There is much debate about the efficacy of a particular degree, as the world grows in many ways. However, a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, or a B.S., is becoming the most recommended degree if a student wants to enter the job field quickly.
STEM degrees often lead to jobs that will always be there regardless of economic strength or the latest trends. Since 1955, the earnings for jobs in STEM have only grown by 14%, meaning that the jobs are more consistent than those in the humanities and social sciences. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected 13% growth in STEM fields over a ten-year period, starting in 2012 and ending in 2022. That gives students 1 million more jobs to pursue. Additionally, the earnings in these fields were, on average, higher than the median earnings for all jobs in 2013.
If you still need more convincing, Science Magazine has published a study, completed by economist Douglas Webber from Temple University, asserting that “The worst STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors earn more than the best high school graduates.”
A Few Things to Note:
The GI Bill is not equivalent to Federal Financial Aid. Federal Aid typically goes directly to the school to pay the tuition expense. Students may request additional money in the form of a check to pay themselves back for out-of-pocket expenses (books, rent, food, etc.). However, the GI Bill provides you directly with the payments. So, if you cannot pay your tuition out of pocket, you may be required to apply for a federal loan, pay the expense in the way described above, and then pay yourself back with your GI payment. Pay attention; you may be required to fill out a FAFSA to get initial help paying expenses so that you can enroll in classes.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is different from the Montgomery GI Bill. Military.com provides an explanation of both, so that you can see which one applies to you. However, do note that there is a time clock on both. From the day that you are discharged from active duty, you have 10 years to use the benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill, and 15 years to use the benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You can reset that clock, whether you have used a portion of your benefits or not, if you re-enroll in active duty for at least 90 days. Please note that if you were discharged after January 1st of 2013, the time clock on the post-9/11 GI Bill has been removed and the benefits no longer expire after 15 years. To see more information from Military.com, click on the link below and use the tabs on the right to see different bill information:
It is essential to speak to an academic counselor upon enrolling in a degree program, and it doesn’t hurt to see a career counselor. At Trident University, all of those resources are available to students. You do not have to constantly be enrolled in school in order to get the GI Bill benefits. You can take time off, complete one semester a year, or enroll full-time and get your degree quickly. An academic counselor can help you to formulate a plan and acknowledge any credits you earned during your time on active duty that apply to your major. (Remember, the military is a place for education, too.) The post-9/11 GI Bill provides 36 months of paid education, so it is important to make a plan, take only those classes which pertain to your major, and use those 36 months wisely.