Air Force Voluntary Education

Learn how the air force can help you get a college education.

March 10, 2014

You can either enlist in the Air Force after high school, you can earn an associates degree through Air Force programs.
Photo: Thinkstock

Not sure about whether to pursue a college degree or join the Air Force? Thanks to the education programs and college financial aid provided by the Air Force, you can do both.

This branch of the Armed Forces strongly encourages its airmen to pursue degree programs, by providing a community college, an Air Force Academy, money for college loans, scholarships, tuition assistance and other college aid to help pay for college.

To join the Air Force Academy, you must be nominated by a US Congressman, Senator or the Vice President.

You can either enlist in the Air Force after high school, you can earn an associates degree through Air Force programs. If you already have a college degree, the Air Force offers you the opportunity to become an officer and further your studies with a masters degree or doctorate degree. How and when you choose the join the Air Force is up to you. Here are summaries of just some of the Air Force Voluntary Education programs and college aid Airmen are eligible for:

Community College of the Air Force

By enlisting, you’re automatically enrolled in this community college and can earn your associates degree in applied science. Courses are taken both on-duty and off, and the course schedules are flexible to work around your Airmen duties. Talk to your recruiter to find out more.

Air Force Tuition Assistance

Active-duty Airmen can receive up to 100% of their tuition, up to $4,500 per fiscal year. These can be technical or academic courses, and you can take them on base, through various 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges and universities or through online schools.

The Post-9/11 Bill and Montgomery GI Bill

These two assistance programs offer up to 36 months of college money. Through the Post-9/11 Bill, you can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, receive technical training and pay for books, supplies and housing. The Montgomery GI Bill covers degrees and certificate programs, apprenticeships and distance learning courses.

Air Force ROTC

Nearly 1,000 colleges and universities offer scholarships for students in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. This college money covers full or partial tuition for one to four years of college.

Air Force Voluntary Tips & Tactics

  • To join the Air Force Academy, you must be nominated by a US Congressman, Senator or the Vice President, as well as have high grades and be physically fit. To learn more, read the Campus Explorer profile of the United States Air Force Academy and talk to your high school guidance counselor to receive an application package. Start early: Your best bet is starting in your sophomore or junior year, since the college admissions process can be lengthy.
  • Already have college loans? Airmen can receive up to $10,000 in college financial aid, as part of the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP).
  • Contact the Air Force to learn more about how becoming an Airman can help you pay for a college education.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Military Students: Back-to-School Basics
Pros and Cons of Joining the Military
Top Degrees for Military Students
Army Voluntary Education

See All Education and Military Personnel: From Service to Student Articles

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