Veterans and Military Education
KEY POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
THE POST 9/11 BILL IS THE ONLY GI EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT YOU CAN TRANSFER TO SPOUSES OR DEPENDENTS
CHECK OUT THE POWER POINT FOR THE DIFFERENT EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS. CONTACT NUMBERS ARE LISTED FOR ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.
IOWA EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS (515) 252-2690
CAN HELP YOU WITH GRANTS AND STATE LEVEL PROGRAMS OFFERED IN IOWA. THEY CAN HELP EDUCATE YOU ON THESE, AND PERSONALIZE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS BY TIME SERVED, ERA, AND DISABILITY RATING.
How to transfer credits from military studies and training to civilian education institutions
Just because you are not technically in academia when you are in the service doesn’t mean you aren’t learning enough to earn college credit.
The G.I. Bill is one thing, but let’s face it: you have skills. It seems unfair for you not to get college credit in, say, engineering for your practical study if you act as an engineer for your military occupational specialty (MOS). Yet many schools simply don’t acknowledge equivalent credit from what may be hands-on work in higher stress situations than any other kind of freshman has ever faced.
So how can you position yourself to find the credits you deserve? Here’s what you can do to receive credit where it’s due.
Start with your transcript
As you probably know, the Joint Services Transcript (JST) provides a detailed assessment of your professional military education, training and occupation experiences and puts them on an official document. The American Council on Education gives instruction on how to apply for and receive a JST and is a wonderful resource for those looking to align their military experience and convert that into college credits. More than 2,300 colleges and universities take the JST document and use it to apply toward credits.
To augment your JST, make sure you use your Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) properly. This includes any college credits or AP exams. Also be certain that you retain any documentation that might assist in your credit development, including commendations, sample work, training certificates, recommendations and evaluations.
Schools will take all this into account when assessing how your JST will translate into credits.
Take the tests
There are several kinds of exams offered that allow Veterans to test out of college level courses using the knowledge built up during time in the service. The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) includes 33 standardized tests in many subjects, and many Veterans and their families can take these tests for free.
The DSST exam process is another way that Veterans can earn college credit. Exams are available for everything from Astronomy to American History. However, before you apply to take these exams, make sure institutions that interest you will take the credits these tests claim to earn for you.
Some institutions will allow Veterans to submit documentation including their JST, as well as written narratives and other supporting material. Corresponding faculty members will assess the portfolio and make a judgement on what this experience may correspond to in credits.
Do Your Research
There are many institutions that say they offer credit to incoming Veterans but do not assign those credits to associated skill sets. For example, if you had an engineering MOS, you might get some college credit, but it wouldn’t be for engineering, just for general studies—which won’t help you toward your major and would mean you might still be stuck taking remedial classes, even though you should have passed out of them. Make sure your credits will be taken for what they are worth.
- Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) helps Servicemembers with counseling and exam preparation.
- Service Members Opportunity Colleges serves to help create academic opportunities for Servicemembers and is tied directly to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
There is truly no shortage of resources to help servicemen and women take advantage of their time and education in the military and translate that to college credit. Increasingly, non-traditional students are being courted by universities, and many schools particularly embrace Veterans because their leadership training is so desirable.
The very best way to make sure you are getting all the credit you deserve is to rely on your training and take the initiative. Check in on your credits, talk to your advisors, do your research and be persistent. You’ll find that you can take years off of your college education, enter the workforce earlier and save a great deal of money in the process.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (888)-442-4551
VEAP is available if you elected to make contributions from your military pay to participate in this education benefit program. The government matches your contributions on a 2-for-1 basis.
Types of Training
Assistance may be used for college degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, flight training, apprenticeships or on-the-job training, high-tech training, licensing and certification tests, entrepreneurship training, certain entrance examinations, and correspondence courses. In certain circumstances, remedial, deficiency, and refresher training may also be available. Get the VEAP pamphlet.
You may use these benefits for degree, certificate, correspondence, apprenticeship/on-the-job training programs, and vocational flight training programs.
Available Benefits and Eligibility
Benefit entitlement is for one to 36 months depending on the number of monthly contributions. You have 10 years from your release from active duty to use VEAP benefits. If the entitlement is not used after the 10-year period, your portion remaining in the fund will be automatically refunded.
You must meet the following requirements to qualify:
- Entered service for the first time between Jan. 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985
- Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987
- Voluntarily contributed from $25 to $2,700;
- Completed your first period of service and were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
- If you are currently on active duty and wish to receive VEAP benefits, you must have at least three months of contributions available.
Other Factors to Consider
Contributions may be withdrawn if you do not meet the basic eligibility requirements or if you formally request a refund of the contributions withheld.
To apply, take these steps depending on your situation:
- Make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. VA can inform you and the school or company about the requirements.
- Obtain and complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the state where you will pursue education and training. If you are not on active duty, send copy 4 (Member Copy) of your DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty.
- If you are on active duty, you must have your enrollment approved by your base Education Services Officer, and you must have your service verified by your Commanding Officer.
- If you have started training, take your application and Member Copy of DD Form 214 to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send all the forms to VA.
- If you wish to withdraw your contributions from VEAP, obtain and complete VA Form 22-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions, and send it to your nearest VA regional office.
Educational Assistance Pilot Program
The Educational Assistance Pilot Program, created by the Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1981 (Public Law 96-342), allows for the payment of monthly education benefits to encourage enlistment and reenlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces. Benefits may be available to individuals who entered on active duty after Sept. 30, 1980, and before Oct. 1, 1981 (or before Oct. 1, 1982, if entry was under a delayed enlistment contract signed between Sept. 30, 1980, and Oct. 1, 1981). (Note:
Although this law established a start date for the test program as Oct. 1, 1980, the military service departments did not start offering the test program to new enlistees until Dec. 1, 1980.)
Air Force Eligibility Requirements
Servicemembers must meet all three of the following criteria to be eligible for this benefit :
- Must have enlisted between Dec. 1, 1980, and Sept. 30, 1981
- Enlistment was in one of the following Air Force Specialties: 20723, 20731, 20830, 46130, 46230A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, or Z, 46430, 81130
- Enlistment must have taken place at one of the following locations: Beckley, W.V.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Dallas ; Fargo, N.D.; Houston ; Jackson, Miss. ; Louisville, K y.; Memphis, T enn.; Omaha, Neb .; Philadelphia ; Seattle ; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Syracuse, N.Y.