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4 Ways Military Members Can Manage Rising Tuition Costs


$10,359.00 – that is the difference in cost between one year of college in 1980 and the cost today (based on the average cost at a four-year public university).

Colleges and universities across the United States are facing scrutiny in the media for high tuition costs, which many say impedes access to higher education for a large portion of the population. Tuition costs have more than tripled since 1980.

There is a bright spot in all of this. There are even more higher-education options available today than ever before.

Students can choose from a wide variety of career schools, community colleges, online degree programs, public universities and private universities. The average tuition costs for each of these types of schools vary, and because of this, students at all income levels can find an affordable option that meets their educational goals.

Grantham University, for instance, provides a net price calculator to help estimate financial aid eligibility for any student looking to enroll in online degree programs.

Tuition is rising, but you can still make earning a degree a reality with the right amount of careful consideration and planning.

There are ways to make earning a degree more affordable, especially for military service members. Below is information for current and future military students about financing options. For more detailed information, please talk with the Education Officer at your Base/Unit Education Center.

Military Tuition Assistance: The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides funding for continuing education and is available to all eligible service members on active duty, as well as Army National Guard and Army Reserve members. For most service members, TA pays up to $250 per credit hour, not to exceed the fiscal year cap. Army National Guard and Reserve members who are not currently on active duty should check with their Education Office to determine availability of TA funds. Each military branch has its own eligibility requirements, application process, and fiscal year caps.

Montgomery GI Bill: The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) provides up to 36 months of educational assistance for a variety of training, including an undergraduate or graduate degree at a college or university or a cooperative training program. Veterans can use their MGIB benefits up to 10 years from the date of their last discharge or release from active duty; and benefits for the Selected Reserve end 14 years from the date of eligibility or on the day the service member leaves the Selected Reserve. More information on eligibility requirements is available at www.gibill.com.   

Post-9/11 GI Bill: The new Post-9/11 GI Bill pays tuition and fees, not to exceed the maximum in-state undergraduate tuition and fees at a public institution of higher learning in the state where the service member’s school is located; a monthly housing allowance for those who qualify; a books and supplies stipend, not to exceed $1,000 per year, for those who qualify; and a one-time rural benefit of $500 for those who qualify. Like the Montgomery GI Bill, eligible service members will generally receive up to 36 months of benefits. More information on eligibility requirements is available at www.gibill.com.

Scholarships & Grants: Many scholarships and grants are available for military service members through service organizations like the American Legion and the Imagine America Foundation. You should also check with the college or university that you plan to attend because they may offer tuition grants and scholarships for service members and veterans. For example, Grantham University offers a military scholarship that reduces its tuition rate to $250 per credit hour and includes a Textbook and Software Grant that covers the cost of required textbooks and software. If a National Guardsman or reservist receives only 75 percent TA benefits, or $187.50 per credit hour, Grantham’s Military Scholarship covers the remaining tuition, up to $250 per credit hour.


Contributed by Johanna Altland, Grantham University

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