How Your Military Experience Can Help You in Community College


Many individuals who have spent time in the military are looking to attend community college after they have completed their time in the service. There are many ways that your service can benefit you if you decide to pursue community college.

Military Experience & Community College

Many of our service men and women are choosing to attend college during or after they have completed their time in the military. The military can not only help you to pay for school but also provide you with the skills you need to manage your time and coursework in community college.

There are certain Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits that you may receive depending upon your branch of the military. Check out the VA website for the specific assistance programs available to members from the various areas of service.

Tuition and Benefits

There are many options for soldiers and veterans to receive help with the costs of attending college. Many of these programs will help to pay for tuition and other expenses like books and even benefits while attending school. One such option is the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The following programs can benefit you when it comes to tuition:

  1. The GI Bill: This bill offers benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They not only apply to veterans but also active duty, National Guard, and family members. The bill covers the cost of education or even specialized training to gain future employment. There are several different programs offered through the GI Bill.
  2. Tuition Assistance Top Up: Top Up benefits provide assistance to active duty members who plan on completing their education before their service ends. Many active duty members choose this option if they are taking just one or a few courses while still in the service.
  3. Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB): This program offers a monthly payment for veterans and active service members. Payments are made for up to four years, or eight semesters, of education.
  4. The Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP): This program is specifically for veterans who made contributions from their active duty pay during their time in service. The military matches each dollar contributed with two dollars.
  5. National Testing Program: The National Testing Pogram is funded by the GI Bill and covers the fees for various specialized tests that are associated with admissions. It also covers registration and administrative fees.

Members of the military should note that the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) has terminated all new application processes. It is scheduled for complete termination by the year 2019.

There are many programs to benefit military education.


Some schools, including community colleges, will give you credit for the time spent and training that you received while in the military. This will not only help you graduate sooner but also can save you a lot of money on expenses that may not be covered through the VA. The American Council on Education (ACE) and the United States Department of Defense have collaborated to create a program that will review a service member's prior experience in the military and determine if any of his or her training and/or experience should apply towards their degree program.

This is something that you should mention to your academic advisor upon enrolling for classes. Your advisor and VA certifying official will review your military transcripts and decide how they can apply credits towards your degree program at the following schools.

It may be a difficult road to graduation but you will be glad you walked it.


The experience you gain during your time in the military can help you in college regardless of the tuition coverage and benefits that you may receive. Military training is designed to help individuals understand the importance of upholding important responsibilities, and there are serious repercussions for failing to honor your commitments.

Time in the military also helps many individuals acknowledge the importance of respecting those in positions of influence. This will certainly help you to appreciate the hard work that your professors put in to ensure that you are getting the most enriching experience possible while in community college. Your experience in the military will also likely help you with time management. Service men and women all know and understand the time constraints that are important in military undertakings, which can help you to better manage the time needed to fulfill your responsibilities at school and home.

There are many other life skills that you will learn in the military that can help with your educational aspirations. These include the ability to adapt, collaborate, and work as a part of a team, along with critical observation and analysis, communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills.

Photo by Gavin Whitner,
Take advantages of the many military benefits available to you while you can!

By Kyle Aken
May 2019
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