The Army College Fund (ACF) provides monies for college to members of the United States Army who meet special criteria. It is an enlistment benefit above the basic GI Bill assistance provided to members of the military who want to go to college. To receive assistance through the ACF, Army enlistees must determine eligibility and receive documentation at the time they join the service. Once they are enlisted, they should receive additional documentation to fill out so they can claim their benefits.
This program was started experimentally in the late 1970s and made permanent in the 1980s. It provides additional funding as an incentive to people who fill key roles, such as specialties with a critical shortage. Enlistees who agree to serve in qualified specialties and meet the standards can receive Army College Fund benefits on top of their GI Bill funding. Additional enlistment benefits may be available depending on the timing and the specialty.
Funding amounts are determined by the length of enlistment. People can discuss their options with a recruiter to learn more about the different options. With longer enlistments, more money is made available through the Army College Fund, because of the increased commitment. Recruiters can also provide information about other incentives that may be available. It can be helpful to get an overview of all options from a recruiter, to understand the available choices and the implications of different enlistment terms.
Recipients of Army College Fund assistance must serve on active duty to receive funds, and should be careful to retain all their documentation. This should include enlistment paperwork, along with a written confirmation that the enlistee is entitled to ACF assistance. Verbal promises from recruiters are not sufficient. If members of the Army do not receive paperwork to fill out after joining, they can talk to their supervising officers to request it and start generating a paper trail to document their eligibility for benefits.
Standards to determine who is eligible for the Army College Fund enlistment bonus can vary from year to year. The listed specialties change depending on conditions and current shortages. It is important to make sure a recruiter is using the most recent information, to confirm that quoted details on benefits and bonuses are correct. Enlisted members of the military can talk to human resources and career advisers to get more information about their benefits if they have questions or concerns.