Falling through the cracks is a bad thing that can happen to good people. No one wants to do it and no one just lets it happen, but happen it does. All too often someone becomes a statistic, whether by perpetuating a cycle of poverty or simply not living up to their intellectual and earning potential. This is not about socio-economic class, race, or gender. This is about Americans denied the opportunity to live the American dream for one reason or another. But there are ways to plug the cracks, and the best way to do that is through higher education.
During the past couple of months, On Your Guard has told you about the benefits of going to college and how you can access education benefits that can pay up to 100 percent of your tuition, and how you can participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) while simultaneously attending college and serving part-time in the Army National Guard. But that’s just the beginning. The Guard doesn’t stop there. We want all of our Soldiers to have access to their own American dream.
For those with existing college loans – So you’ve already accrued some college loan-related debt and are just now hearing the call to serve your State and Nation. That learning is valuable, so it makes sense to reward you for the education you’ve already achieved. For just such a situation, the Guard offers a Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) that could repay up to $50,000 on existing student loans.
For those in a hurry – Would you be interested if the Guard could help you save money and graduate from college faster? Of course you would. That’s why the Guard offers College Credit Exams, which enable students to earn college credits for what they already know.
Through CLEP (College Level Examination Program); DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests); and ECE (Excelsior College Examinations), Guard members can test out of courses by demonstrating knowledge comparable to that of someone who has completed the classroom coursework. Thousands of colleges award credits based on these exams and testing fees are waived for Guard members, thus enabling you to test out of courses, earn the credits, and possibly graduate faster. And if you want to become a teacher, DANTES even funds Levels I and II of the three-part PRAXIS Series™ tests used in many teacher licensing certification processes.
For those who need help – No matter what your education level currently is, everyone needs a little help from time to time. You see, the Guard wants you to better yourself through education whether you left high school before completing your course requirements, are preparing for the SAT, or are working toward an advanced degree. If you didn’t complete high school, the Guard’s GED Plus program can prepare you for the GED examination so that you can earn that diploma. If you are studying for college entrance exams, the Guard can help prepare you for the ACT and SAT and even provides its members with free academic testing. And through the National Guard Education Support Center, Guard members can receive automated degree planning, college credit assessments, cost-free virtual counseling, distance education alternatives, and free test-out preparation.
Clearly, the Army National Guard is prepared to make a significant investment in your education and your career to make sure you are not one of those who fall through the cracks. The only question that remains is whether you’re willing to make a similar investment in your State, your Nation, and your future.