If you want to improve your job outlook within the Army or prepare for when you leave, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of people prepare for their future careers by making the most of the Army’s educational benefits. One of the most important benefits available is funding. The Army offers both scholarships and grants to military members to continue their education.
There are some significant differences between scholarships and grants. For example, a scholarship is usually merit-based. You need to meet specific requirements, whether they’re academic or performance-based challenges. You’ll also be competing against other people to get the money since scholarships are typically limited in number and funding. The government offers many scholarships that are only open to military members.
Grants are more approachable. Most don’t have any merit requirements. They’re available to anyone who meets the proper criteria. As a service member, you’re eligible for grants like Army Tuition Assistance and Credentialing Assistance intended to help you get an education that will help you in your future, whether that’s continuing in the Army or back to civilian life. Here’s how you can find the educational funding that fits your needs.
Military scholarships cover a wide range of requirements and subjects. Each scholarship has different eligibility requirements. For example, you're no longer eligible for ROTC scholarships if you are enlisted. However, there are also scholarships specifically intended for active and Reserve service members or members of the National Guard.
Since there are so many potential scholarships, it’s easiest for you to find ones you qualify for on your own. Sites like Scholarships.com offer searches that help you sort through military scholarships to find those that suit you. You can filter scholarships based on your age, location, service branch, and more until you find those for which you’re eligible.
Military education grants are easier to find. The Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) program is a grant that can pay for approved courses and exams to help you get industry-recognized civilian credentials. The program is designed to fund certificates that the GI Bill doesn't cover and will help you cover the costs of attending programs that meet the qualifications.
That means you need to find credentials that meet the CA program guidelines. There are a few ways to manage that.
First, you can use the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP), recently renamed the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. This program is an expansion of the Army Tuition Assistance program designed to help service members transition out of the military. It's intended to help you find credentials that suit you and fit the Credentialing Assistance guidelines.
You can also use Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) to search for pre-approved training programs. This system is excellent if you already have an idea about what you want to learn. Plus, you don’t have to worry about these programs not being approved for funding assistance. Army COOL-approved programs are all eligible for Army CA funding.
As a service member, you have an enormous number of opportunities to learn new skills. With military scholarships and grants, you can get the funding you need to pursue the career of your dreams. While Army and National Guard scholarships are competitive, grants are available to any service member who meets the qualifications. Start looking for grants, scholarships, and training programs that can improve your life today.
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