General Question

letmeknow17's avatar

Will the Air Force cover half the cost of my bachelor's degree?

Asked by letmeknow17 (97points) July 8th, 2011

I know you have the option of a 4 year contract and a 6 year contract, but I want to know if I can work on majoring in Biology(while I’m enlisted and I know 4 years won’t cover it all), and since 4 years will cover about half of this, can I just leave the AF go to a regular college, major in Biology, and go to Dental school without worrying about serving again? I just need some financial help with college so I figured I could go to the AF and get them to cover half of my first four years of college and take care of the rest myself.

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12 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Shouldn’t the AF have tuition assistance? If so, you can go for free until you get out, then use a GI Bill for the rest?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ask the Air Force recruiter, get it in writing and good luck.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Depending on the enlistment bonuses you are eligible for they may pay for the whole thing. If you agree to an extended hitch after your schooling, they will pay for it all, and probably promote you too.

Talk to the recruiter.

blaze626's avatar

Yes, you can get the GI Bill that gives you ~2000/mo for three full time years of college (4 year degree). During your service, you can get a certain number of credits 100% through tuition assistance (separate from gi bill). But, the majors offered at the on-base colleges will be limited, probably not bio). You can go to a nearby regular college though.

Have you considered a more practical degree than bio? ;) I have one, and it’s very hard to put to use. Or just know you will have to get a PhD before you’ll get a real job.

jerv's avatar

Part of that depends on the school you go to. The tuition at many schools where I used to live were high enough that the GI Bill wouldn’t have helped much and would’ve run out quickly. In other parts of the country, schools are cheap enough that the GI Bill is actually useful to those that don’t have rich parents or feel like taking on massive debt.

Part of it depends on how much schooling you get during your service. Just my A-school was enough that I probably won’t need any math or physics classes, and I took a couple of CLEP tests on top of that, so I’m already well on my way to a degree in some majors without ever going to college.

So there are some big variables there, not the least of which is how much free time you have during your enlistment. In the Navy, Engineering department doesn’t get much, but some other departments leave you enough for some extra classes.

blaze626's avatar

There is a “yellow ribbon” program in tandem with the post 9/11 gi bill that will pay extra toward a higher than average priced school (it’s an agreement between the school and the VA)

blaze626's avatar

That $2000/mo. is a really rough average. It depends on your location, whether you had extra benefits like top-up, Navy/Army College Fund, etc.

blaze626's avatar

jerv has a good point that it depends on your situation. Surely you could get the first two years of education done in one enlistment, especially in the air force. I did a whole B.S. on my shore duty in the Navy.

Depending on the school, the first two years includes courses like physics, bio, stats, gen ed req (english, crit thinking, ethics, math, etc), calculus. These are classes you can take in most places. I took lots of clep/dantes challenge tests but most schools will limit how you may use them. It’s not likely you will get credit for math/science credits for military schooling (ACE recommended credits) as they will not fulfill specific requirements at most schools (even if it seems like they should), but probably will use them to fill up electives.

letmeknow17's avatar

Should I pay for college with loans(since I know for sure ill be able to get a degree in Bio) then enlist and let them pay off some of my debt?

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t believe the G I Bill or any other military financial assistance is retro-active, but I could be wrong. Call your local recruiter and ask them.

blaze626's avatar

You would probably have to go in as an officer to get any loans paid off upon entry, and it may not pay them all off, and you’d likely incur a longer obligation. They may not even be doing this much now, since no service is hurting for people that bad. Using TA during your enlistment then using GI Bill after is a much better bet.

That I know of, the GI bill is not retroactive in any way, although I hear you can transfer the benefit to a spouse or children now, which is cool.

Enlisted service doesn’t really care that much about having a degree. I know there are programs to pay on loans for enlisting in reserves, though.

jerv's avatar

@blaze626 Correct; a degree is somewhere between “nearly useless” and “outright bad” for enlisted people at some commands. I mean, why stick with a job that pays <$20k/yr when your degree can earn you at least twice as much? Some commands appreciate the effort you are taking to better yourself, but some see it as looking for a way out.

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