The US Armed Forces offer several programs to provide students with money for school. Students can choose to serve in the military first and attend college after, or attend college first and serve later.
Those who elect to serve first can benefit from financial aid programs like the Montgomery GI Bill and the Army or Navy College Fund which help pay for college. In practice, however, only about three-fifths of the average cost of a college education is covered by these programs.
For those who elect to serve after, they can participate in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program and earn scholarships in return for a post-graduation commitment of three or four years, depending on the branch of service. Scholarship amounts vary and are merit-based but usually cover a greater portion of the cost of education than the GI Bill.
For more information, visit www.military.com or www.myfuture.com.
This program provides full-time educational awards in return for work in community service. You can work before, during, or after your postsecondary education, and you can use the funds either to pay current educational expenses or to repay federal student loans.
For more information, call 1-800-942-2677 or visit www.americorps.org.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS offers two federal income tax credits (dollar-for-dollar reductions in tax liability) for higher education expenses.
- The Hope tax credit, worth up to $1,500 per student, is available for first- and second-year students enrolled at least half time.
- The Lifetime Learning tax credit is a tax benefit equal to 20 percent of a family’s tuition expenses, up to $10,000. The credit can be used for virtually any postsecondary education and training, including graduate and professional schools and even for less-than-half-time study.
For more information on the Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits, and other tax benefits for postsecondary students, go to www.irs.gov.