According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the enactment of the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and the withdrawal of military personnel from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to a significant increase in the number of veterans and service members using military benefits to continue their education. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is just one example of the many programs and financial aid opportunities available to military veterans and their families as they pursue a postsecondary degree in criminal justice.
Active-duty personnel, reservists, and veterans may apply for benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill® instead, or pursue additional aid through the Yellow Ribbon Program or the National Call to Service
Active-duty personnel, reservists, and veterans may apply for benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill instead, or pursue additional aid through the Yellow Ribbon Program or the National Call to Service. The federal government also provides financial support to military families through the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program.
On top of government support, current and former members of the armed forces can apply to a variety of private scholarships as well. Some scholarship programs cater specifically to members or veterans of a particular branch, while others award scholarships to military veterans who plan to pursue a career in law enforcement or corrections. Take a close look below at the various forms of financial aid that you may be able to receive in recognition of your service.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
|The Montgomery GI Bill is one of the two main education benefit programs available to veterans and military personnel. It provides up to $2,078 per month for a maximum of 36 months. Students receive this monthly allotment directly and can use it to pay for tuition, books, and other related education expenses.|
|What's Covered||Students receive between $482 and $1,928 per month, depending on their enrollment status. Service members can receive an additional $150 per month by participating in a buy-up program. The government provides this funding for a maximum of 36 months.|
|Who's Covered||Active-duty personnel must enroll in the program and pay at least $100 per month for 12 months in order to receive these benefits. They must also meet minimum service requirements and receive an honorable discharge.|
|How to Apply||Veterans and service members can apply through the VA's website by completing form VA 22-1990. In addition to service requirements, you must also have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for this program.|
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
|The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the second and newest of the two primary education benefit programs open to veterans and military personnel. It covers up to the full cost of tuition and fees at the most expensive public university in a student's home state, or an equivalent amount of tuition at another institution. This money goes directly to the school|
|What's Covered||This program covers tuition and fees for up to 36 months, but it also provides a monthly housing allowance, a $1,000 stipend for books and course materials, and a $100 monthly allotment for tutoring services.|
|Who's Covered||You may be eligible for this program if you served for at least 90 days of active duty after September 10, 2001. You must also be either an active-duty service member or a veteran who received an honorable or disability-related discharge.|
|How to Apply||You can apply for this program on the VA website. You cannot receive benefits under both the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills. You must also apply to this program within 15 years of your last date of active duty to retain eligibility.|
Yellow Ribbon Program
|At some out-of-state and private schools, the GI Bill may not cover the full cost of tuition and fees. Colleges and universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program voluntarily make additional funds available to military students to help offset this difference. The VA then matches the amount of funding provided by the school.|
|What's Covered||Schools in the Yellow Ribbon Program provide additional funding towards a military student's tuition and fees. The participating school selects an amount to contribute to these students, and the VA matches this amount.|
|Who Qualifies||To qualify, you must be a veteran who is eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You cannot be on active duty, and your school must also choose to participate in the program.|
|How to Apply||You must apply directly to your school in order to receive this additional funding. Contact your school's financial aid office for more information. A list of participating schools and programs can be found here.|
National Call to Service
|Administered by the VA, the National Call to Service (NCS) program offers funding or financial aid to individuals who perform a period of national service. For military students, this program should be seen as an alternative to the GI Bill programs since any NCS money you receive will reduce the amount of Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bill money you can receive.|
|What's Covered||Participants can choose to receive either a $5,000 bonus, repayment of student loans up to $18,000, an allowance equal to the monthly allotment of the Montgomery GI Bill for 12 months, or an allowance equal to half of the Montgomery GI Bill monthly payment for a period of 36 months. /td>|
|Who Qualifies||This program is open to all military personnel, reservists, and Americorps service members who have completed a period of national service. The duration of that period varies at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense, but it is usually not fewer than two years./td>|
|How to Apply||To apply for this program, visit the VA website and complete VA Form 22-1990N. As a reminder, participating in the NCS program will affect your eligibility for either the Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bill.|
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance
|The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides financial support to spouses and dependents of veterans who have been killed or permanently disabled as a result of their service. The Fry Scholarship also provides aid to surviving spouses and their families, but you may only participate in one of these programs.|
|What's Covered||Through the DEA, the government provides up to $1,224 per month for a maximum of 45 months. Participants can use this funding to pay for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training.|
|Who Qualifies||You must be the child or spouse of a veteran who was killed or disabled in the line of duty. You may also be eligible for these benefits if your spouse or parent is currently missing in action or was captured during their military service.|
|How to Apply||You can apply on the VA website by completing VA Form 22-5490. When you apply, you must make an irrevocable choice between participating in the DEA program or the Fry scholarship for military dependents.|
Scholarships for Military and Veterans
U.S. Army Scholarships
Army Women's Foundation Scholarships $1,000 - $2,500
National Ranger Memorial Foundation Scholarship $1,000
AMVETS' Scholarships $1,000 - $4,000
U.S. Navy Scholarships
Dolphin Scholarships $2,000 - $3,400
USS Hampton Scholarship $1,500
Navy College Tuition Assistance Program $4,500
U.S. Air Force Scholarships
AFAS General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant $500 - $4,000
Air Force ROTC Scholarship Full Tuition
U.S. Marine Corps Scholarships
Women Marines Association (WMA) Scholarship $1,500 - $3,000
Tillman Scholars Program $10,000
Navy ROTC Marine Option Scholarship Full Tuition
National Guard Scholarships
Dedicated Army National Guard Scholarship Full Tuition
Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarship Full Tuition
VFW/Sports Clips Help a Hero Scholarship $5,000
Coast Guard Scholarships
Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Education Foundation Scholarships $1,000 - $5,000
Coast Guard Foundation Captain Ernest W. Fox Perpetual Scholarship $2,000
College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) Scholarship Program Full Tuition
Military Families Scholarships
American Legion Legacy Scholarship $20,000
Veterans United Foundation Scholarship $50,000
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation $10,000
Fisher House Foundation Scholarships for Military Children $2,000
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs The VA administers a wide variety of benefits for current and former members of the armed forces, including financial aid programs like the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills.
- U.S. Department of Education The ED provides resources on how to access various forms of financial support, including scholarships for active-duty military personnel. The ED also administers more general student loan, fellowship, and grant programs.
- American Veterans AMVETS is a Congressionally-chartered service organization for veterans. As one part of its broader mission, it assists veterans as they navigate government resources and apply for benefits.
- Wounded Warrior Project In addition to offering physical and mental health programs for veterans, WWP also provides career counseling and benefits assistance to former members of the military and their dependents.
- National Veterans Foundation NVF operates both a toll-free helpline and online assistance portal for current military personnel and veterans. The foundation helps former service members find food, shelter, jobs, and medical treatment, as well as education and training programs.
- National Criminal Justice Association NCJA represents criminal justice professionals and advocates on issues related to crime reduction, corrections, victims services, drug treatment, and pretrial justice reform. It is an excellent resource for military students considering a career in criminal justice.
* GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.