The Military, Education, & Financial Aid

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by Ted Heiks, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    The Tedmeister needs help here. I am trying to advise my niece's boyfriend but I am inadequate because I do not have a military background. The niece's boyfriend is working on his bachelor's in civil engineering (he will finish soon). He has said that he would like to join the military. I have told myu niece privately (not in front of him, but I said it's okay for her to share) that I hope he does not end up with his brains splattered all over some god-forsaken desert because I don't want my darling little niece to become a poor dear grieving widow at the age of 20. First, do you know if he could join for some non-combatant duty, like the Army Corps of Engineers? Do you know if he could join as an officer given that he will graduate a civilian college (the University of Toledo)? Do you know how the financial aid works? When I tried to join in 1988 (rejected due to prior history of epilepsy), they made you choose between either: (a) rack up a bunch of student loans before the Army and let the Army pay them off for you at 15% per year or (b) take classes while in the Army under military TAP and let the Army pay 75% of your tuition bill or (c) save up for the GI Bill and go to college after the Army. Do you know if it is possible to use the Army for multiple types of financial aid for multiple degrees these days. I'd like to be able to give my soon-to-be-nephew-in-law some good advice. Please help.
  2. "I will throw in my two cents" (I am not an expert)...For starters, I think it would be pretty hard that he will get any duty that would not require him to deploy. In this day and age pretty much every duty deploys each is just a matter of how much and how often. An infantry man will deploy, a medic will deploy, even they guy sitting next to the washer machine waiting for the clothes to dry will probably deploy. I recommend him going in realizing that his chances of deploying are greater then his chances of not deploying. That's the best and most honest advice that I can give you on that subject. Oh, by the way the Army Corps of Engineers are pretty busy these days.

    Yes he can join as an officer even if he graduated from a civilian college. Most officers actually are from civilian colleges. The military has three main ways of commissioning officers. One of which being ROTC while in college, the service academies (West Point, etc...), the other being OCS which is primarily after college.

    The military does have some pretty good educational benefits. I personally use the new GI Bill so i could tell you about that if you wanted to know.

    Personally, I recommend him checking out the website to help him gain a lot of information.
  3. CS1

    CS1 New Member

    Go to and open the education tab in the upper right corner. Sounds like your friend is definately a candidate for a clerical role outside of the combat arms.
  4. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Sounds like OCS are the option in that the prior ROTC /NROTC /AFROTC route wasn't taken. I don't believe his particular degree field would qualify for a direct commission; but possibly a warrant officer direct appointment (?). My understanding is that OCS is pretty competitive regarding acceptance numbers.

    BTW, the Marine Corps also has OCS (Quantico, VA); I took this opportunity a number of years back. :cool:
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Can you explain in words that a common lump can understand what exactly a warrant officer is?
  6. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

  7. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    A warrant officer is not a commissioned officer and not a non commissioned officer but in between in the pecking order. Warrant officers are not required to have a degree and usually fill specific occupational niches.

    The Air Force did away with warrant officers many years ago. The Marines and the Army still retain these grades. Pay wise the warrant is paid more than an enlisted but less than a commisioned officer. However at the upper reaches of enlisted ranks there is little difference.

    Warrant officers are accorded a salute and courtesies by enlisted.

    In my opinion, there is no need for warrant officers if we are discussing a skill or responsibility issue, but having these grades does allow for monetary and non monetary benefits to the holder.

    The Marines also have Limited Duty Officers (LDOs) which provide another mechanism for promotion to the commisioned ranks.

    this may help:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2010
  8. Gabe F.

    Gabe F. Member


    As a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard I can tell you that "Coasties" rarely participate in combat. Yes, we have been a part of virtually every major war dating back to the days as the "Revenue Cutter Service", but generally it's those that who are active in law enforcement they provide security services during wartime. Technically speaking any member of the Coast Guard in pay grade E-4 and above is considered a federal law enforcement officer whether they participate in law enforcement or not.

    The Coast Guard is different in that beyond one's rate (job) he or she is really a lot of other things. I was a Yeoman (admin. job), but since I was attached to a cutter I had to be trained to become a shipboard firefighter and, lacking fun things to do while underway, I began participating in law enforcement activities.

    Having said of all that I'd like to get back to your main point: In an effort to fulfill jobs that have a great demand the Coast Guard has what's called "Direct Commission" programs. In particular they currently have a "Direction Commission Engineer" program in place. Check out this link for more information check out the program here. No boot camp and a very slim chance of ever seeing anything resembling combat.

    Feel free to PM me if you have further questions.
  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Does anyone know whether it is possible nowadays to have the military: (a) pay off all your old student loans on your already-completed bachelor's and (b) give you military TAP money for your master's while in the Army and (c) provide you with GI Bill benefits to complete your doctorate with after the Army?
  10. Jazz

    Jazz Guest

    A) Yes
    B) If you mean Tuition Assistance (TA), yes
    C) Yes
  11. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

  12. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    Jazz already answered yes to all three. First I'll point you to this link re: The GI Bill:

    Next, I'll offer some minor perspective.

    1. There are certain programs and specialties within military service that have bonuses and other educational opportunities within them due to need that other specialties do not.

    2. The GI Bill is limited as you'll see from the data provided at the site linked above.

    3. You may need to get creative with how you pay off your loans and fund your education within the programs mentioned in point one. In a lot of cases it's straightforward because programs directly map to assistance. In others not so much, especially if you're going to a school where tuition costs are high.

    Nothing beats doing your research and working with your recruiter, then dotting your I's and crossing T's before signing anything. This is especially true when planning fallbacks should your first choice of specialty suddenly become "unavailable" due to need.

  13. Jazz

    Jazz Guest

    I'll add a caveat to my last post. If you take the student loan repayment option, you owe the Army 3 years. No biggie, but if you want both the student loan repayment, AND the GI Bill, you owe a total of 6 years. Each program comes with a 3 year obligation.

    For the Tuition Assistance, there is no further obligation for enlisted members. Officers incur a 2 year (I believe) obligation from the last day TA was used.

    Uncle Sam is more than willing to pay for your education. He just wants something in return.
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Thanks, guys, for helping me help my nephew. You've been a great wealth of info.
  15. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member


    Here is another perspective:

    If your niece's boyfriend is serious about civil engineering (CE) and wants to enter the CE career field, and also wants to be part of the Department of Defense, he may want to consider entering the DoD civilian service (CE career field is 0810. See below link). DoD civil service CE professionals do serious civil engineering. They work in the Army, Corps of Engineers, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. They are serious about CE and many pursue graduate degrees in CE and professional certification/license as a Professional Engineer. The tuition assistance applies to civilian employees as well. In fact the civil service has specific career program opportunities for graduate school and other training.

    On the other hand, when one joins the military, the needs of the military always come first, regardless of your educational background (except for the professional fields like medicine, law, chaplain, …). In the military, he may not be in the CE career field, and even if he is, he may not be performing CE duties—remember-- the needs of the military comes first (as it should be)---he may be working non-CE duties, especially in this current environment.

    Of course, if he is not serious about a CE career, and just wants to join the military, and would accept any job/career in the military, my comments are irrelevant.*%2CAR*%2CDD*%2CNV*&jbf522=&salmin=&salmax=&paygrademin=&paygrademax=&FedEmp=Y&tm=&sort=rv&vw=d&brd=3876&ss=0&FedPub=Y&SUBMIT1.x=0&SUBMIT1.y=0
  16. I submit the motion to add a Sticky to this thread.
  17. Glor1295

    Glor1295 New Member

    I agree with Dr. Rene.

    The following comments are based on my association with the Army:

    The question that must be asked is whether he wants to be a soldier or an engineer. If he wants to be a soldier, then enlist with OCS in his contract and he should eventually be an officer. That could be in any field, as OCS is "needs of the army." He will have a minimum of three years active time and five in the reserves or inactive reserves, for a total of 8 years. Everyone joins for 8 years even if only some is active time. He will then get to do all the soldier stuff like go to the field, sleep in the mud, and occasionally get blown up by IEDs. Make sure he is prepared to not see his wife very often, as he will probably spend much of his time in the field training or overseas. In my first five years in the Army, I spent 3 years overseas (Korea and Iraq), about 14 months training in the field or tdy somewhere, and about 10 months in the states. Also make sure his wife is prepared for all of this because divorce tends to be more expensive than tuition.

    The other option is to be a DoD civilian. This route pays almost as well, gives nearly the same benefits, and ensures that he will be a licensed engineer working in his field. Also, he can go into the reserves if he decides he cannot live without a little more Afghanistan in his life.

    I don't mean to come off as negative, it is just that these are some of the issues that need to be brought up when considering the military. In my experience, the military isn't a job, it is a calling. The people who love it are the ones that have wanted to do it their entire lives, the people who felt like something is missing in their lives without being in the military. Most everyone else is just doing it because they are waiting for the retirement or because they cannot get out without having to start over at entry level.

    Hope my comments are useful and best wishes with whichever route he takes!

  18. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You know, that does sound like a good idea. This thread has quickly grown into something that can be of benefit to far more than just the Tedmeister and his future nephew-in-law.

  19. I'm quite frankly shocked at the lack of Millitary education stickys. It deserves its own board, IMO.

  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Just out of curiosity, Maniac Craniac, were you ever in the military? I'm betting the mods will probably give this thing its own sticky because (a) Bruce Almighty our fearless leader was in the military and his war was Iraq 1 and (b) Randell1234 was in the military and his war was Iraq 2. Thusly, with two Iraq War vets as mods, it should likely get its own sticky. Besides, with members of the armed services having to be easily deployable (can be called upon to move in an instant, according to the needs of the military), distance education is a favorite with members of the uniformed services.

    BTW - One of our champion posters, the very eminent Dr. Rich Douglas (doctoral protege of the eminent Dr. John Bear), was in the military too.

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