Monday, March 06, 2006

Military Money: My Experiences with Military Scholarships (For Parents Or Potential High School Junior/Seniors)

First, i'm not a recruiter and I have never served as a recruiter. I'm telling you this from the perspective of a Naval Officer (O-4, Lieutenant Commander). The scholarships that I mention do not apply to Medical School, Law School or Pharmacy School. Additionally, they don't apply to the GI Bill if your child is enlisting. I might be able to point you in the right direction for these programs.

This is what the military has paid towards my education: 1) $80k+ for a four-year degree, 2) Monthly subsistence allowance while in college, 3) My MBA (completing this month).

In five to six more years i'll qualify for PhD programs, but would have to apply and successfully compete for the scholarship.

Ok, some things I know that might help:

1) The $80k+ scholarship: I applied for an Air Force ROTC and Marine Corps ROTC scholarships. While I applied in '91, many of the experiences remain valid. I received a $32k offer from the Air Force and an $80k offer from the Marine Corps. I accepted the Marine Corps offer and later changed over to Navy while in College.

a) You can apply for the scholarships of all services. The recruiters will try and get you to commit to one service but you don't have to. The recruiters, at least back then, were poorly versed in officer programs. If you are a parent, you should ask for the contact information on their area (regional) officer programs officer to answer any questions that you feel the recruiters are not adequately addressing.
b) Your child would have to do a fitness test and extensive medical screening.
c) Once in College, they'll have to take about one extra military-oriented class on top of their regular curriculum each quarter/semester. They will also have to do group physical training one to three times a week depending on the school. They will also have to drill (march in formation) one to two times a week.
d) THE MILITARY WILL ALLOW YOUR SON/DAUGHTER TO BACK OUT OF THEIR SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTMENT WITH NO REQUIREMENT TO PAY IT BACK AFTER THE FIRST YEAR. If your child starts the second year of college on the military's dime, then they're pretty much committed.
e) Once they graduate, they typically owe the military 4 years of active duty for the military scholarship, then 4 years in the inactive ready reserves. Graduates may owe more if they elect to participate in any special career programs (i.e. becoming a pilot, etc)

2) Graduate School:
a) If your child is a near perfect student in college while getting their bachelor degree, then they may be eligible to go straight to graduate school on the military's dime.
b) I graduated w/ a 3.37 in Engineering, so I wasn't competitive for this. I had to serve four years on active duty before they would send me to graduate school for free. Instead, I deferred graduate school until I had been in around eight years. If the military pays for a typical two year grad degree, the graduate would likely owe around three-four years of follow on service.
c) Opportunities for Grad School include being able to go to school full time and concurrently receive your regular salary.

3) PhD:
a) The military has the permanent military professor program. If you're smart, then you can apply for this program once you've been selected for promotion to O-5 (Commander in Navy, equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in other services). Once selected, the military will pay your tuition and expenses for a number of good schools (Harvard, Stanford on list). If you accept this scholarship you would have to agree to serve as a faculty member at one of the service academies (Annapolis, West Point, etc). I'm only familiar with the feeder to Annapolis though. You would then have to serve as a faculty member until you've reached 30 years of military service.

Besides these, everybody qualifies for approximately $250/credit hour in tuition reimbursement while on active duty. Members that take this will owe two years of service after receiving this reimbursement. If they decide to get out, they'll have to pay back a pro-rated amount of this tuition reimbursement.

Finally, the programs that I'm not talking about: GI Bill, Med School, Law School, etc are available; however, I don't have direct experience with. If you want info, I could potentionally do a referral.

No comments: