When it comes to veteran education benefits, a lot of transitioning or retiring service members don’t know where to start. Shifting from military service to achieving work-life balance in business school can feel like a foreign process, especially for a population coming from a highly regulated and procedural environment.
The first step to attending business school as a service member – active duty or retiring, or as a dependent – is to get a good understanding of the veteran education benefits that are available to you. Like each college or university, every program has its own benefits – and requirements.
Fast Facts on Student Veterans
Receiving veteran education benefits when paying for business school
Resources like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill are commonly thought of as undergraduate funding sources. But they also have great graduate school veteran education benefits. Service members and their dependents are comped for what is called their “training time.” Coverage varies based on whether or not the individual is considered a full-time or a part-time student.
Military.com shared the below breakdown of graduate school hours per week and how the military interprets that time to determine compensation. It is based entirely on what the college or university reports your school hours per week to be. Make sure you’re in lockstep and know how you will be categorized and compensated:
- 0-2 hours: 1/4 time
- 3-5 hours: less than 1/2 time
- 6-8 hours: 1/2 time
- 9-11 hours: 3/4 time
- 12 hours and above: full-time
But, VA-backed veteran education benefits are only one source of education funding available to service members, veterans and their families. If not paid for in full by one of the Bills mentioned above, it’s a good idea to look at scholarships and grants. Private companies, non-profits, even the schools themselves, in addition to local, state and federal governments, have education programs and funding available for military members and their families. The majority of these scholarships and grants are specific to undergraduate programs, so it’s important to read the fine print. But graduate-specific funding is available, too. For great examples, check out this list of graduate school military scholarships compiled by GoGrad.com.
And, for a complete list of VA-approved institutions where Department of Veterans Affairs funding and bills can be used, search schools and programs here.
College credit for military training and experience
If you’re an active duty service member or someone transitioning or retiring from military service, consider how to get college credit for your training and experience. Not only is this a money saver, but it also saves a significant amount of time on getting a degree.
Active duty service members and veterans can earn college credits for their military training and experience. This is more so for undergraduate coursework, including associate and technical degrees and some bachelor programs. The American Council on Education (ACE) works with the Department of Defense to determine the appropriate number of college credits for military courses, training and experience. Several branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, use a Joint Services Transcript (JST) to document military training and experience. The JST details all military courses completed along with job history and skills. It also lists the recommended number of college credits associated with transferable military experience.
Ultimately, each college determines the military credits they will accept and how they will be applied to a specific degree. It’s also important to note that not every institution follows the ACE recommendations. Therefore, how military experience is interpreted and accredited will differ from school to school. Talking with an admissions advisor and making inquiries into how a program will apply this experience will clarify any uncertainties. And, don’t be afraid to appeal any preliminary decisions when it comes to transferrable military credits and experience. Successful appeals do happen, and many institutions are working hard to become more military-friendly and provide better veteran education benefits.
Saint Mary’s College Business School helps you advance your career
Three different locations, various schedule options and many hybrid-format programs (half-online, half-on campus).
Career resources for service members
Career Resources To Consider:
Service to School: Service to School’s mission is to prepare transitioning military veterans for their next chapter of leadership. This 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization helps veterans gain admission to the best college or graduate school possible. For free application counseling, go to: www.service2school.org.
Patriots Path: Patriots Path is a non-profit organization that supports veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses in finding meaningful employment opportunities by helping veterans define career goals, mapping out job search strategies, identifying opportunities, creating a marketing approach and connecting with a community of peers, mentors and coaches for continued networking and support. For more information, go to: www.patriots-path.org.
Warrior Rising: Warrior Rising is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans achieve success in business through partnerships, mentoring and economic assistance. Warrior Rising prides itself on providing veterans with opportunities to earn employment, create sustainable businesses and perpetuate the hiring of U.S. military veterans. Learn more at www.warriorrising.org.
For more military insights on higher education, read these 14 MBA tips for veterans from veterans.