All branches of the military offer their service members access to education benefits programs. Having the military pay for education expenses is one of the reasons many people enlist to serve. As such, it's important that you understand the nuances of the military's education benefit programs if you are hoping to utilize available funds to pay for education-related expenses in the future.
1. Benefits Eligibility Extends Beyond Active Service
Many military personnel believe that they are only eligible to receive education benefits while they are enlisted and on active duty. However, this isn't the case. In fact, military veterans have a lengthy timeline in which they can use their education benefits. The education benefit funds provided through the Post-9/11 GI Bill are available to you for up to 15 years after you are discharged from service. This timeline gives you the opportunity to pursue your education at your own pace.
2. Your Education Benefits Can be Given to Others
Servicemen and women have the opportunity to transfer all, or part, of their education benefits to their spouses. This unique ability to give away education benefits allows military personnel who either already have a degree, or do not plan to pursue a college degree, the opportunity to utilize the education benefits they have earned.
However, in order to be able to transfer your education benefits to your spouse, you must be on active or selected reserve duty. If this is the case, you will prepare a transfer request and submit it to the Department of Defense while still enlisted. The request will be reviewed, and once the Department of Defense approves the request the funds will be available for your spouse to use.
3. Education Benefits Aren't Just For Colleges
Some service members don't have the desire to attend a four-year college or university. That's because many of these military personnel want to pursue a future career that requires specialized training instead.
Just because you aren't attending a traditional college or university doesn't mean that you have to forego access to your education benefits. The military will help cover the cost of tuition for an accredited trade school. As such, you can receive the vocational or technical training that you need to pursue your career aspirations after you are discharged from military service without having to independently pay for this training.
Education benefits have the potential to help all members of military families. Be sure that you are familiar with the many ways in which you can use your military education benefits to maximize the good these benefits can do. To learn more, contact a program like University of Maryland Global Campus