Joining the reserves? Find out if your branch of the armed forces can help you pay for college.
Each branch of the Armed Forces provides its members with a number of incentives to fund their education at community colleges, 4-year colleges or universities and online schools.
College financial aid is available to members of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Reserve, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve. However, each of the Armed Forces administers its financial aid programs differently.
Some states provide members of the Reserve with additional college funding, through tuition assistance and repayment of college loans.
If you’d like to combine your military service with a college education, find about more about the money for college you can receive.
What Are the Reserve Tuition Assistance (TA) Programs?
The TA programs for the Reserves varies for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Although the different branches of the Armed Forces encourage their members to pursue higher education in the form of career training or a degree, they may offer different types of college financial aid.
How Much College Aid Can You Receive?
In the Army Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, courses taken when you’re off-duty can earn you up to 100% tuition assistance, up to $4,500 per fiscal year. The Air Force Reserve also offers this tuition assistance for associates degrees and bachelors degrees, and ads 75% tuition assistance for students pursuing a masters degree. As with the undergraduate programs, your annual tuition assistance cannot exceed $4,500.
The Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve currently do not offer this form of college aid for its members. In certain cases, however, members can qualify for the tuition assistance offered by the Navy and Marine Corps.
Where Can You Pursue Your College Degree?
Depending on your branch of the Armed Forces, you can pursue your degree at online schools, community colleges, career colleges or 4-year colleges and universities. Some branches also have their own educational programs, which allow you to take courses on-base or through a military website.
What Are Additional Educational Benefits of Joining the Reserves?
The Army Reserve offers members the Montgomery GI Bill, ROTC scholarships and repayment of college loans. The Navy Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve also offer the Montgomery GI Bill, along with the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The Air Force Reserve offers a non-contributory GI Bill, technical training and free education credits at the Community College of the Air Force. In the Marine Force Reserve, you can be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill and can take [> /colleges/schooltype/online-degree/
Some states provide members of the Reserve with additional college funding, through tuition assistance and repayment of college loans. Also, the Coast Guard gives members of its Reserve the same educational programs and financial aid it offers to active duty members.
Reserve Tuition Tips & Tactics
- In addition to military aid, you are also eligible for federal aid, state aid and institutional aid in the form of scholarships, grants and college loans. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal aid, and pursue state aid through the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form.
- While tuition assistance only covers tuition and certain related course fees, you can qualify for additional money for college books, supplies and computer equipment. Combining the different types of military aid you’re eligible for, along with any federal grants and state aid you receive, can cover the majority of your education. In addition, you may also cover expenses with private loans. But take note that each private loan has varying interest rates and repayment terms, so compare student loans to make sure you get the best possible package.
- Contact a recruiter to learn more about the education benefits of joining the Reserve. You can find a local recruiter through each Armed Forces website: Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve.