Let Uncle Sam Help With College

Uncle Sam Education

With the ever increasing cost of a college education, many students are finding alternate ways to pay for college. Take a look at how Uncle Sam is willing to help those that seek assistance by serving their country.

If you have considered college, but were not sure how to pay for it, you may want to consider the military for a few years. The educational opportunities can be well worth the time, especially during a tough job market.

By serving as little as six months in the military on active duty, you can qualify for 50 percent military education benefits. If you serve 36 months or more, you qualify for 100 percent benefits.

Below you will find six programs that allow the U.S. government to help pay for your college education.

1. U.S. Military Academies: It is an extremely competitive process to gain an appointment to one of the these academies. You need excellent SAT scores, a congressional nomination and must be interviewed by a military panel. Being an exceptional athlete can be an additional asset if you are interested in this route.

If accepted, you will receive a four-year education at no cost as well as paycheck while you are in school. Your tuition, room, board and military training are all included in your package. These institutions offer some of the best education and leadership programs in the world. Their facilities, equipment, technology and personnel are on the cutting edge.

2. R.O.T.C. Programs: The military also offers up to a four year scholarship for tuition and fees through the Reserve Officers Training Corps. (ROTC). These scholarships cover everything except room and board, but you will receive a monthly stipend (around $200) while you are in the program.

Upon graduation, you will be obliged to serve in the military for up to eight years. This can be four years of active duty and 4 years in the reserves. You will be commissioned as an officer and receive full military pay and benefits during your active duty. This requirement is something that every candidate for ROTC needs to be comfortable with, before they sign on.

3. The G.I. Bill: For those that chose to serve their country before college or leave one of the military academy preparatory schools before graduating, there are some great benefits available. If you served as little as 90 days of active duty before being honorably discharged, you qualify for a 40 percent benefit and six months will get you 50 percent education benefits.

If you serve 36 months or more on active duty, you qualify for 100 percent of all education benefits. This means that you can receive up to 100 percent of the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public school, plus a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies.

DANTES – College Credit-By-Exam Programs: The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program allows military personnel to receive college credit by taking exams instead of the traditional college classroom studies. There are three types of exams being offered through this program. They are called CLEP, DSST and ECE. We will look briefly at each one below.

4. College Level Examination Program (CLEP): There are a total of 35 exams that can be taken and each is equivalent to a three credit hour college course, but some may cover six credit hours. They are computer based tests and generally are all multiple choice. If you pass, you get the credit, but if you fail, you cannot take the same exam again for 180 days. DANTES will pay the exam fee, but participants may have to pay a $15 to $25 registration fee. The current cost to take the each exam is $80.

5. DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST): These are an extensive series of exams that are comparable to the final exams in undergraduate courses. Passing the exam will normally qualify for the same three college credit as if you had taken the class.

6. Excelsior College Exams (ECE): Most of the ECE exams are objective multiple choice, but some are entirely essay. All tests examine not only the facts and terms, but also the application of essential concepts and skills. These exams will qualify for between three and eight credit hours upon successfully passing the exam.