Falling Through the Cracks is NOT an Option

Young Woman in the LibraryFalling 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.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Go Guard to Go to College

Group of three students on campusParadoxically, college has become so much more accessible yet much less affordable over the past decade or so. That means that while online technologies and the proliferation of satellite campuses make it easier for qualified students to attend classes, skyrocketing tuition makes paying for those classes harder and harder. It may seem that you either have to be from a wealthy family, be one of the lucky ones to get an athletic or academic scholarship, or commit yourself to years paying off student loans.

Well, let On Your Guard offer another solution: Join the National Guard.

National Guard members are eligible for a variety of programs exclusive to those who have answered their State’s call to duty. In fact, by joining the Guard and serving part-time, combining the programs, and selecting the right school, you can access benefits that could cover 100 percent of your college degree. So, while all your classmates are struggling to pay off their loans post-graduation, you’ll be getting something even better: a paycheck that hasn’t been obligated to loan repayment.

Here’s how you and the Guard can do this:

  • Since the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, or as it’s more commonly known, the GI Bill, military service has long been a great equalizer when it comes to paying for college. The Bill has gone through many changes in its nearly 70 years of existence, but the core of the legislation has helped millions of U.S. military veterans pay for degree or certificate programs, vocational training, flight training, or apprenticeships. Now known as the Montgomery GI Bill and Post 9-11 GI Bill, it entitles veterans to receive funds to pay for their tuition, books, and living expenses.
  • Then there’s the GI Bill Kicker. Whereas the GI Bill is a federally-funded program, the GI Bill Kicker is classified as a State-funded incentive. This means that Army National Guard members must apply and qualify for the funds. If you do, it can provide 36 additional monthly payments for up to four years of traditional college courses, assuming four years of college with a nine-month academic calendar.
  • Next is the Army National Guard Federal Tuition Assistance Program. This program, which can be used concurrently with the Montgomery GI Bill, will pay 100 percent of tuition costs up to $250 per credit hour (to a $4,500 maximum per fiscal year running 1 October to 30 September). Go to the right school (i.e., one that charges $250 or less per credit hour) and that’s 18 free credit hours a year. In other words, one free semester of full-time tuition.
  • Not to be left out, many States have education funding programs that Guard members can access in addition to the Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9-11 GI Bill, GI Bill State Kicker, and Federal Tuition Assistance. And these are programs available only to National Guard members because of their service to the State. They vary among the 50 States and four territories (District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) in which the National Guard is located. A local National Guard Recruiter is the best source for current information about State-specific benfits.

So there you have it. Four sources that could pay up to 100 percent of your college tuition. Combine this with the other benefits of Guard service (such as part-time service while you’re in school, gaining marketable job skills in one of 200 career fields, or training to be a leader) and the foundation for your future is looking pretty solid.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter