My kids are joinging the military to pay for college
“My college savings plan is the military.” This is a response I got last week from a very serious woman at a college and career planning event I went to. I love the military and I thought it was a great plan. In fact, the chances of a service member going to college is higher than that of any civilian. http://www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/tanks-and-humvees-caps-and-gowns
The thing I have never understood about the idea of going to the military for education is how most people go about attaining it. Most people put a big burden on themselves making it even more difficult to achieve their education that what is necessary. I am speaking of ROTC/military college and becoming an officer versus enlisting and then going to college through the G.I. Bill.
The people whom I have met with the best financial and career situations are those that decided to take the time to research scholarships with ROTC and/or going to a military college. Maybe those people had to try even harder to attain those or they just took advantage of a system that not too many actually try for. Even if an ROTC scholarship doesn’t exist due to your academic record, it is amazing how the military will kick in if you pursue ROTC in college and stick it out for a couple years.
When a person enters the military as an officer, they will receive just about double the income of a regular enlisted person. (about $1500/mo for an E1 and $3000/mo for an O1). Over a 20 year military career that goes up to a difference of $5,000/mo for an enlisted person and over $10,000/mo for an officer. https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/military-pay-charts.html Just the pay alone is a big bonus, let alone all of the other perks. Officers also perform some of the cooler jobs, such as piloting airplanes, being a doctor, or engineer. They also become more employable once they leave the military as the tend to work more in their major of study from college, although not always the case. Once you enlist, you get assigned to where they need you and train you to the skills they need. If you do retire from the military, it is much nicer to get a paycheck for life that is double if you had only waited 4 years to complete that degree.
When a person enlists, they are putting themselves to work right away. Taking time away from work to pursue a degree can be extremely difficult, especially when that job takes you across the sea into war. I think the military needs more officers and the world needs more educated people to help lead. If your college career path is the military, plan to wait and try out the officer programs. It might be well worth the wait.