U.S. Army Education Benefits: Reserves
In recent years, members of the U.S. Army Reserves have been playing an increasingly critical role in the Armed Forces. Longer deployments, more frequent periods of active-duty service, and more critical assignments all indicate that being a member of the Reserves is no vacation. In recognition of this important contribution, the U.S. Army offers education benefits for reservists that are in many ways similar to those offered to active duty soldiers.
U.S. Army Reserve Tuition Assistance
This program could pay you up to $250 per credit hour for a post-secondary education. There is, however, an annual limit of $4,500.
U.S. Army Reserve Education Programs
There are several options the Army extends to its reservists. These programs can be a big help in obtaining a top notch education. Here are some of the more popular programs:
GoArmyEd: Use the Internet to sign up for the U.S. Army Tuition Assistance program, take college courses, and participate in eArmy courses.
eArmy: Allows you to take college courses near where you may be stationed that transfer back to your home college.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOCs): A network of nearly 2,000 accredited schools that offer two- and four-year degrees. You are also able to transfer your credits freely within the network.
Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP): Take classes in the Servicemembers Opportunity College network and get college credits for your military training.
Reserve Officers Training Corps
The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is a great way to get U.S. Army education benefits. In exchange for a four-year commitment to serve in the Reserves, you get a full scholarship and monthly living expenses.
GI Bill Reserve
Not to be confused with your U.S. Army education benefits, the GI Bill is available to all branches of the service. Here are a few different options that make up the GI Bill Reserve:
Montgomery GI Bill-Select Reserve (MGIB-SR): If you have signed up for at least a six-year hitch, have a high school diploma, and have completed your initial active duty for training, the MGIB-SR may pay for you to go to school for up to 36 months. Your benefits end once you leave the Reserves.
MGIB-SR Kicker: Similar to the Army College Fund, the kicker can be used with the MGIB-SR to help pay for school.
Reserve Education Assistance Program: Also known as REAP, this program applies if you served on active duty after September 10, 2001. You must be a current Reservist to use your REAP benefits.
In addition to the U.S. Army benefits, federal benefits can help you in your quest for knowledge. Here's how:
College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP): If you choose to participate in this program and have signed up for a least a six-year commitment, you could get up to $40,000 of your existing student loans paid off. Unfortunately, you can't use the MGIB-SR in conjunction with the College Loan Repayment Program.
Loans: A popular loan is the Stafford, with its variable repayment options and favorable interest rates. Note: loans need to be repaid.
Grants: Federal grants, such as the Pell grant, provide money for school that doesn't have to be repaid.
Whether you use your U.S. Army Reserve education benefits to pay for school, pay off your loans, or to take online classes, the important thing is that you take advantage of one of the many paths the U.S. Army provides to help you get a college degree.