Military Students: Back-to-School Basics
Get yourself back into the swing of things with this helpful guide to heading back to college.
Have you recently completed military service?
Are you looking to transition to a university setting and continue your education?
As a military student, you are entitled to certain benefits and resources that are unique to servicemembers, designed to make admission and the transition from military life to college life as smooth as possible.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC)
According to its website (soc.aascu.org), “the SOC was created in 1972 to provide educational opportunities to servicemembers who, because they frequently moved from place to place, had trouble completing college degrees.” Today, approximately 1900 colleges and universities across the United States are members of the SOC.
SOC schools ease the burden on military students by providing assistance related to transfer credits and graduation requirements. Each year, the SOC releases the SOC Consortium Guide, which provides information for all schools within the association.
Military Student Bill of Rights
All schools that are members of the SOC obey the Military Student Bill of Rights, which states that all students with military backgrounds are entitled to certain rights. These rights include:
- Total access to all information regarding tuition and financial aid (for both military and non-military students)
- Support services for academic and campus life
- Career guidance that does not require any form of registration or enrollment
- Training for any technology needed within an academic setting (such as computers and software)
- Course placement
- Withdrawal policies in the event a military student should be activated
Overall, the Military Student Bill of Rights exists to make sure that educational opportunities are clearly outlined to service members from the onset of enrollment.
Military Experience for College Credit
The American Council on Education (ACE) has a military program which rewards veterans for their services with college credit. In order to see if you are eligible for this credit, request a transcript from your branch of the military. The number of credits you receive will vary from school to school, so make sure to send your transcript to multiple colleges.
Military Tuition Assistance
As a servicemember, you are eligible for aid opportunities that other college students are not eligible for. Many veterans do not take advantage of this aid, which can cover sometimes as much as three-fifths of college tuition. You can ease the financial burden of college by properly understanding which loans, grants and scholarships you are eligible for.
For a complete overview of opportunities available to military personnel, go to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs website and familiarize yourself with all of the benefits, programs and resources available to veterans.
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