With the cost of education increasing each year, many students struggle to pursue higher education.
With so much information about FAFSA®, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid, the important things can get lost in the chaos. For instance, if you’re an active-duty military member or a veteran, there are a lot of aid opportunities available to you, your dependents, and potentially your spouse.
We put together an at-a-glance list of military financial aid options that could help you graduate without any student loan debt. That means you could put that potential debt towards your future goals — buying a house, a new car, or making a big move.
Here’s what you need to know:
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships
- This scholarship is offered in more than 1,000 colleges.
- Students can pay their way through college with this program by attending an approved Navy ROTC school.
- Compare to other scholarships, this scholarship is granted on merit-basis rather than financial need.
- There are four types of ROTC established on different military services. For more information on the four types of ROTC, go to military.com.
- This source grants stipends covering tuition and expenses for veterans attending college or trade school.
- The GI Bill provides military families with low-interest mortgages.
- Are you interested in applying for the GI Bill? If so, visit vets.gov or call at 1(888) 442-4552 to apply.
- With VA, Rep veterans, their widows, and dependents can receive educational benefits.
- Do you want to learn more about VA Rep? To learn more about the many VA benefits available, go to benefits.va.gov.
Consider applying for the Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is usually awarded to undergraduate students that have filled out the FAFSA® application. Your eligibility for the Pell Grant is based on your family’s income and assets.
After filling out FAFSA®, you’ll know if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant when you get the Aid Award letter from your chosen college. While this isn’t a military-specific grant, it can be used in conjunction with other military-based aid.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Has your family been affected by the military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the unfortunate events of 9/11?
If so, you may be eligible to qualify for additional aid. To read more about the eligibility requirements, go to Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
What additional financial assistance is available for military families?
The organizations mentioned below offer scholarship options to active duty veterans and their families.
Veterans of Foreign Wars: legion.org/scholarships
American Legion: pva.org/scholarships
If you want more information about college scholarships for military families, visit Scholarships for Military Families.
Do you already have loans?
If you took out student loans prior to entering the military or being called to active duty, the interest on those loans will be limited to 6% during your active duty military service. This benefit applies to both federal and private student loans.
If all your Direct Loans were disbursed before Oct. 1, 2008, no interest will be charged for no more than 60 months while you are serving on active duty.
To receive the loan benefits mentioned above, contact your loan servicer for information about what is required to qualify.
The tuition cost for colleges and universities continues to rise, but veterans have a ton of resources available to them to help them pay for their education. It’s important to reach out and make sure you take advantage of any options you’re eligible for. Hopefully, this is a helpful starting point in getting your education or the education of someone you love, paid for.