The United States Army offers three main programs to help active-duty soldiers and reservists obtain college degrees in classrooms or online while serving in the military. College campuses are located on or off base worldwide to help soldiers earn college credits. A fourth program helps spouses of soldiers stationed in certain countries get a college education. Additional Army programs are aimed at enticing young men and women to enlist in the military to take advantage of educational opportunities.
GoArmyEd is an Army continuing education program that pays up to 100 percent of a soldier’s tuition for online courses. The soldier can enroll via the Internet quickly without the need to see a counselor. This Army continuing education option is commonly used by soldiers who are stationed in foreign countries where they have access to the Internet.
The Service Members Opportunity College consists of universities on or near bases throughout the world. College courses are designed to facilitate the transfer of credits when soldiers are reassigned. The Army continuing education program allows the soldier, or his or her family, to stay in school even when transferred abroad. These colleges offer associate and bachelor degrees.
Everything a soldier needs for Army continuing education via the Internet is provided through the eArmyU. Class fees, along with a laptop computer, printer, and Internet access, are covered under this option. If books or other class materials are necessary, the Army pays the expense. Once the soldier completes 12 semester hours of college, he or she may keep the computer and supplies. Both degrees and certificates in certain areas are available through eArmyU.
If a soldier is stationed in Europe, Okinawa, Japan, or Korea, his or her spouse is eligible for the Spouse Educational Assistance program. It provides a certain monetary grant each term the spouse is in school. The money is available for online courses or classes on a university campus.
Those applying for the Government Issue (G.I.) Bill may be able to receive additional money to cover college tuition and books. This Army continuing education program is designed to attract candidates for specific jobs in the military. Funds become available upon enlistment if the candidate meets minimum scores on examinations and is qualified for jobs the Army needs to fill.
The G.I. Bill was passed into law as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 to help military personnel return to life as civilians. It offers education and job training opportunities, and loans to help buy a home or business upon return from active duty. A provision in the bill also set aside money for unemployment benefits, but these funds were not commonly used. The law was updated in 2008 to provide additional educational benefits to those who were on active duty on or after 11 Sept. 2001.