Army Voluntary Education

Find out more about how the army helps you pursue a college education.

March 10, 2014

For more information about the educational opportunities provided for soldiers on active duty or in the Army Reserve, contact a local recruiter.
Photo: Thinkstock

Whether you’re interested in taking individual training courses or pursuing a bachelors degree at a college or university, the Army can help you pay for college. The high costs of college tuition, room and board and other education fees at many colleges and universities can make it difficult to save up enough money a college degree, and the programs offered by the Army can provide you with the necessary college financial aid.

All branches of the US Armed Forces offers its members money for college and other incentives toward continuing their education. Each branch, however, administers this college aid under its own terms.

Joining the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps can earn you an Army ROTC scholarship, which consists of full tuition reimbursement and an annual stipend of up to $5,000.

You can receive significant amounts of college money through the Army Voluntary Education programs, known as Vol Ed. Here are some of the main Vol Ed programs offered by the US Army.

eArmyU

Through this college program, soldiers can pursue over 100 Web-based technical certificate programs and degree programs. Courses taken through eArmyU are eligible for 100% tuition assistance, as well as college money for books and computer equipment and access. Learn more about the programs and participating colleges and universities on the GoArmyEd website.

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) degree program for the Army SOCAD includes schools that are accessible to national and international Army installations. These schools provide associates degrees and bachelors degrees to soldiers, spouses and children, and courses can be taken through distance learning programs or in the classroom.

Army Tuition Assistance

The Army also provides tuition assistance for college programs, as well as an automated online site, called GoArmyEd for requesting this college financial aid and enrolling in courses online. Soldiers are eligible to receive 100% of their tuition and related fees reimbursed, up to $4,500 per fiscal year.

Army Emergency Relief (AER)

Spouses and children of soldiers can qualify for AER scholarships, all of which are grants that do not need to be repaid. These grants include the Dependent Children Scholarship Program, Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program and the Stateside Spouse Scholarship Assistance Program.

Student Loan Repayment Program

Active-duty soldiers can receive up to $65,000 of their college loans repaid, while those in the Army Reserve can earn up to $40,000 in repayment for college loans.

Montgomery GI Bill and Army College Fund

These programs can provide you with up to $83,448 in college money, if you give $100 per month your first year of Army service.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

This bill gives soldiers financial benefits for up to 36 months of higher education courses. These benefits can also be transferred to a soldier’s spouse or children.

Army Voluntary Tips & Tactics

  • Joining the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps can earn you an Army ROTC scholarship, which consists of full tuition reimbursement and an annual stipend of up to $5,000.
  • Combining different forms of military aid can maximize your money for college. Tuition assistance may only cover some of your tuition costs, so additional educational grants and other college aid can cover more of your school expenses.
  • Soldiers are eligible for non-military federal aid. To apply, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This form is available on January 1; submit it as early as you can to be eligible for the largest amount of college aid.
  • For more information about the educational opportunities provided for soldiers on active duty or in the Army Reserve, contact a local recruiter.

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