For Military Learners, Veterans and Families

Tips for Military Learners, Veterans and their Families

Community College Student

Your military service has probably earned you college credit based on training, coursework and occupational specialty.

How do I find colleges that are military friendly?

A good place to start is with the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) consortium whose membership consist of more than 1,700 colleges that are military friendly. Use our Search for Transfer Profiles to discover more information about a particular institution, or even to compare a few. You should definitely contact your prospective school's Admission Office and try to speak with an advisor that specializes in military learners.

How will my military training be accepted as college credit?

The American Council on Education (ACE) collaborates with the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) to review military training and experience to recommend how it can translate into college credit for Armed Forces members. Contact your prospective institution to find out how they accept ACE recommended credit. You will be required to provide a transcript from your military service.

Are there ways other than the Post-9/11 GI Bill that the Military will help me pay for college?

The Army, Marine Corps and Navy all have College Fund Programs that can be added to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Each branch determines if you qualify and how much you will receive. The Air Force has the Montgomery GI Bill Kicker that works in a similar way. It is mandatory that you have a high school diploma and be enrolled in the Post-9/11 GI Bill. There may be additional requirements based on your Service, test scores and occupation.

Five Important Questions to Ponder

What is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

It is a comprehensive educational benefits package available to military servicemembers, as well as Reserve and Guard members who have been activated for more than 90 days. The benefits are dependent on college tuition and fees, housing allowance and book allowance. The actual benefit amount is based on your total length of service, and is payable up to 15 years after your honorable discharge or retirement. Also, for the first time in history, you may share benefits with family members (wife, husband or child/stepchild).

How can I save time and money to complete my degree as an active duty military service member

It is important that you make career and education decisions wisely. You should find a college and program of study that is right for you and get started as soon as possible. If you know what degree you want to pursue, use our Search for Programs to find the best college that offers it. If you move around a lot due to assignments or deployments, you might want to consider an online or distance learning program.

Can I get my military transcript from ACE?

ACE does not provide military transcripts. These must come from your branch of service, or you can request a Joint Services Transcript (JST):

  • Army - You can request your transcript through the AARTS system.
  • Navy & Marines - You can request your transcript through the SMART system.
  • Coast Guard - You must provide documentation of training and an enrollment form to receive your transcript.
  • Veterans - You should be eligible to use your former service branch's program. If you are not, you need to fill out a DD-295 and provide your DD-214 to receive credit for your experience.

Are there ways other than ACE recommendations to receive college credit for my military experience?

The Military administers academic exams to all service members every year that earn you credit for the skills you've acquired through training and operations. The DANTES Subject Standardizes Test (DSST) program provides untimed examinations in several subjects for college credit. You can also take College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) General Exams or Subject Exams to test out of coursework.

Is there military financial aid for my spouse other than sharing my GI Bill benefits? How about for financial aid for spouses and dependents of veterans?

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program will give your spouse up to $4,000 of assistance if he or she is pursuing a degree program, license or credential that lead to employment in a portable career field. The Spouse and Dependents' Education Assistance (DEA) program will provide training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans. The DEA program offers up to 45 months of educational benefits that may be used for degree and certificate programs, on-the-job training and/or apprenticeship.