Active duty service members and veterans who are pursing academic opportunities can turn to benefits offered by the military. Many service members take advantage of benefits to finance their education, either while they are serving or shortly afterwards.
Active duty members can use their benefits to expand their opportunities for new assignments and promotions, and, in some cases, to gain access to an officer candidate program.
Veterans can use their benefits to secure higher-paying positions when transitioning to the civilian world. In 2011, the average starting salary of an MBA recipient was more than two times higher than the average starting salary of someone who only held a BA. A graduate degree like an MBA can help veterans and service members advance their careers by developing knowledge and leadership skills that will benefit both their civilian and military careers.
Those who have served in the military have a range of options for financing their MBA education. Education benefit programs include Chapter 33 Post 9/11, Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill and the GI Bill Kicker.
The Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill is typically for individuals with 90 days of consecutive active duty service on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Disabled veterans discharged from active duty after 30 days also are eligible. This benefit includes funds for tuition, as well as a housing allowance and a book stipend. Service members might find that the availability of funds is greater under this allowance.
The Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill provides an educational supplement on a monthly basis. The current maximum benefit for a full-time graduate student is $1,564 per month, while the current maximum monthly benefit for a part-time graduate student is $782. Most veterans who receive an honorable discharge from the service are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill. Basic eligibility requirements for the Montgomery GI Bill can be found on Military.com. In the event that the service member is unable to collect on hir or educational benefits, a family member might be able to collect in their place. All Montgomery GI Bill eligibility expires 10 years after the service member leaves the military.
The GI Bill Kicker, sometimes called the Army, Navy or Marine Corps College Fund, is offered to most enlisted service members who sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill program. The GI Bill kicker usually is offered as a bonus for taking specific high-need jobs in the military, such as positions in Special Ops, Communications, Military Intelligence and the Signal Corp. When a service member selects the kicker, his or her monthly benefit can increase by $950 per month.
The maximum possible lifetime benefit with the Montgomery GI Bill and the GI Bill Kicker is more than $87,000. These benefits could reduce the need for high-cost loans and debt. Veterans can determine their eligibility by completing the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Typically the process takes six–eight weeks. Active duty and veteran service members should always consult their education center and the Department of Veterans Affairs, respectively, to identify their funding options.
Earning an MBA can double one’s earning capacity while developing crucial skills for military and post-military success. However, tuition expenses at top schools can seem overwhelming at first glance. Fortunately, most veterans have a range of options to finance their graduate business education. To learn more about the options available to MBA@UNC students, visit our Veterans Benefits page. With options like Chapter 33 Post 9/11, Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill and the GI Bill kicker, active duty service member or veteran seeking a high-quality education from a respected institution will face fewer financial limitations to achieving their goals.
This blog post originally appeared on onlinemba.unc.edu.
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