Veterans’ Education Benefits
Veterans education benefits pertain to active-duty personnel, National Guard members, Reservists, veterans, and also family members of current military service members and veterans. There are education benefits for post and pre-9/11. There is almost too much money to count for colleges and tech schools. Then in addition to the amount of education funds, most states have scholarship money for National Guard service members, veterans, and their immediate family members. It’s actually a painless process to apply and use your education benefits and scholarship money. If you contact your unit’s ESO, they will be able to tell you the exact amount of funds and credit hours you have available to utilize. The process is just as easy to assign education benefits to immediate family members. When you have decided which college, university, or tech school to attend, most of them have a VA representative that will work directly with your ESO to pay the school.
Assigning Your Benefits
If you have completed a college degree or just decide to assign your education benefits, you may assign them to an immediate family member. This will include a spouse, son, daughter, and step children as well. You can also assign and split up your benefits to separate parties at once. This is also an easy process. Contact your unit’s ESO and first find out how many credit hours you have earned or that are available. You can then split the amounts up to each family member you choose. There are a few requirements you must meet. The first would be how much time you have left of your current enlistment. The other is that the school you choose to attend must be a public school. It cannot be a private school.
The military continues to change and in order to get promoted to a higher rank especially past E6, having a college degree will definitely help you get promoted over others that do not have a degree. In the National Guard, for example, you have points for a degree or college credit hours. This will help those with a degree get promoted over others that have a lot more time in grade and in service. I personally disagree with the way a younger soldier with less time in the military will get promoted over soldier that has no degree but has more time in grade and in service. Why? A college degree cannot replace experience. If I had to choose between two E5s to deploy, no matter what the mission is, I will always pick the one who has deployment time in combat. It is a very easy choice to pick the one with combat experience. You cannot replace a CIB with a degree, no matter which degree you have or which school you attend. It goes back to an old saying I was taught many years ago by my company 1SG. He said, “knowledge teaches and experience trains!”
There really is not a good reason or excuse to not have a college degree in some discipline with the amount of schools out there that have online courses. It just takes some focus and motivation. Taking advantage of the veterans educations benefits will benefit you no matter what. It can advance your military career or civilian career. I was able to finish a bachelor’s degree in 2011 from the University of Delaware. I already had a degree in exercise science, but I chose to complete a degree in business administration and management while I was deployed. At the time, it was very time consuming and difficult. However, I look back at it now and realize it was actually pretty easy. All it really takes is some discipline, dedication, determination, and desire. There are so many civilian companies in addition to the military that are requiring a college degree in some field. I strongly recommend that current service members and veterans take advantage of this benefit. This may actually land you that dream job or promotion. If you decide not to take advantage of this benefit, at least give a family member the opportunity to utilize it. I completed my degree and have assigned the rest of my college funds to my son. He attends Ohio University and will graduate this year with his bachelor’s degree. He did not pay any out of pocket expenses for his college degree.
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