Each branch of the military has educational benefits that only apply to that specific branch. The Army wants to ensure the academic success of its service members, both those who are serving on active duty and those who are in the Reserves. In the Army, the Reserves consist of both the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. This article elaborates on benefits that are available to members of the Army only. You may also be eligible for military-wide educational benefits.
|Benefit Name||Active Duty||Reservist|
|Army College Fund||X|
|Army Reserve and National Guard Montgomery GI Bill Kicker||X|
|Army Green to Gold: Active Duty Option||X|
|Army Green to Gold: Scholarship Option||X|
|Army Green to Gold: Non-Scholarship Option||X||X|
|Army Loan Repayment Program||X||X|
|Concurrent Admissions Program||X||X|
|Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarship||X|
|Early Commissioning Program||X||X|
|Army Medical Department Enlisted Commissioning Program||X||X|
Note: As of October 1, 2011, the Army College Fund was indefinitely suspended and no soldiers who have enlisted since then are eligible for this benefit.
This fund provided prospective soldiers with an incentive to enlist and fill a position for a critical or understaffed Military Occupational Specialty. Upon enlistment, soldiers accepted the Army College Fund for between two and seven years, depending on how long they enlisted. This money supplements any benefits received through the Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Award amount: The award amounts depend on when the soldier enlisted and began serving on active duty and the service commitment of the original enlistment. Money accrues monthly provided that the service member remains qualified for his or her original specialty.
- Benefits last for 10 years after the service member’s final release from active duty if used with the Montgomery GI Bill or 15 years if used with the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Eligibility: Soldiers must have enlisted with no prior service after July 1, 1985, and filled a specific critical or understaffed Military Occupational Specialty as offered to the soldier during the enlistment process. Soldiers must have elected to enroll in the GI Bill and the Army College Fund at the time of enlistment to receive benefits. This was not available to officers.
- Applicability: These benefits apply to degree and certificate programs, correspondence courses, online courses, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, work-study programs, private tutoring, remedial courses, cooperative programs, flight training, and vocational or technical training.
Montgomery GI Bill Kicker
The “kicker” provides prospective Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers an incentive to enlist and fill a position for a critical Military Occupational Specialty or unit. This money supplements the Montgomery GI Bill, and as such, upon enlistment, soldiers must opt into the GI Bill to receive the kicker.
- Award amount: For National Guard soldiers, the award is up to $200 monthly for a maximum of $7,200 for all soldiers except those who are commissioning. Commissioned officers can receive up to $350 monthly for a total of $12,600. The monthly amount depends on the time commitment of the soldier to the National Guard. Benefits can accrue for up to 36 months.
- Army Reserve soldiers can receive up to $350 monthly for a maximum of $12,600 depending on rank. Benefits can accrue for up to 36 months.
- Eligibility: Soldiers must be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill benefits and must not be on active duty. Qualifications vary depending on whether the soldier has prior service experience and whether the soldier is an officer or enlisted. For all service members, there is a six-year service commitment required to receive the kicker. The kicker expires when the soldier can no longer receive Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
- Applicability: These benefits apply to degree and certificate programs, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, preparatory classes needed for admission to a college program, private tutoring, flight training, and overseas study abroad programs.
This Green to Gold option is a 21-month program in which active duty enlisted soldiers can complete their bachelor’s degrees or earn a master’s degree while simultaneously earning their commission as an officer. Soldiers aiming to complete their bachelor’s degrees must have two years as a full-time student remaining in their degree programs. This involves going back to an eligible school to complete coursework while participating in the Army ROTC program. While at school, soldiers will continue to earn their military pay and have access to military benefits.
- Eligibility: Soldiers must be U.S. citizens in good standing who have completed at least two years of active duty service. Upon graduating from the Green to Gold program, soldiers must be younger than 30 years old and have served fewer than 10 years on active duty. Soldiers must be eligible for reenlistment and have no more than three dependents. Soldiers will incur an eight-year service commitment (three years on active duty and five years in the Reserve, National Guard, or the IRR).
- Soldiers must submit transcripts showing all previous postsecondary education they have completed; the minimum GPA required is 2.5.
- Payment: Soldiers who participate in this program are not eligible to use Tuition Assistance but can use the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty or Army College Fund to fund their education.
This Green to Gold Option provides financial aid for enlisted soldiers on active duty who want to finish their education and become officers after graduating. There are two-, three-, and four-year scholarships available, depending on how much undergraduate education the soldier has already completed. Those accepted to master's degree programs may be eligible for two-year scholarships. Upon acceptance into the program, soldiers leave active duty (thereby losing their military pay and benefits) and enroll as ROTC cadets. Following graduation, soldiers commission as a second lieutenants and serve on active duty, in the Reserve or in the National Guard.
- Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens in good standing who will be under 31 years of age at the time of commissioning and who have no more than three dependents. Applicants must have completed two years of active duty or received a waiver approved by Human Resources Command in Fort Knox, but they cannot have served more than 10 years on active duty. Applicants must attend an institution that offers an Army ROTC program.
- Four-year scholarship recipients must have a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and have a minimum SAT score (math and verbal) of 920 or ACT score of 19. For the 2018–2019 school year and those that follow, the minimum SAT score accepted is 1000.
- Two- and three-year scholarship recipients must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on all previously completed college work.
- Payment: Scholarships will cover either tuition and fees or room and board (student can choose) and provide a yearly stipend for books and supplies and a tax-free living allowance for up to 10 months each year.
This Green to Gold option is available to enlisted soldiers who have already completed the first two years of college and can complete their bachelor’s degrees in two more years. As with the other Green to Gold options, students will enroll as Army ROTC cadets and must attend a school that offers the Army ROTC program.
- Eligibility: Applicants must have already completed two years of college courses and maintained at least a 2.0 GPA. Applicants must also be under 30 years old by June 30 of the year they would commission. Soldiers must have completed at least two years of service before applying but no more than 10 years of service at the time of commissioning.
- Payment: Students will receive a monthly stipend for 10 months each year and attend the Cadet Leadership Course for free. Additionally, students can participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program in which they are concurrently enrolled in ROTC and serving as members of a Reserve or National Guard unit. This would provide an additional source of income (cadets are paid at the level of a sergeant). However, students are responsible for paying all tuition and fees associated with their education. The Montgomery GI Bill can help alleviate these costs for eligible students.
As an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill, enlisting active duty soldiers can choose instead to participate in the Loan Repayment Program, in which the Army pays back part of the soldier’s qualifying student loans. This is a better option for soldiers who have completed as much education as they want (and thus will not need Montgomery GI Bill benefits) but need help repaying the loans that made their education possible. It is only open to soldiers filling positions in specific Military Occupational Specialties.
- Award amount: Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, and PLUS Loans (taken out for the soldier’s education) are all eligible for repayment. The Army will repay the greater of one-third of the outstanding balance on the loans or $1,500 after each year of service for three years. Total repayment value is not to exceed $65,000.
- Soldiers are responsible for paying interest and taxes.
- Eligibility: Enlisting active duty soldiers must agree to an active duty service commitment of at least three years and decline to enroll in the Montgomery GI Bill at the time of enlistment. They must be filling a position in a critical Military Occupational Specialty, possess a high school diploma, have never served in the military before, and score at least a 50 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
- Reserve Soldiers: Members of the Selected Reserves may participate in a similar program called the Army Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program. This program will pay off only 15% or $500 of student loans each year, whichever is greater. Both officers and enlisted service members are eligible. Soldiers will have to commit to serving six years in the Reserves.
This program allows new enlisting soldiers to earn college credit while they are serving in the Army on active duty or in the Reserves. Soldiers wanting to serve on active duty can enlist for two to six years, while soldiers wanting to serve in the Reserves must enlist for six years. Before basic training, the soldier will submit a College Referral and Intent to Enroll form to a participating institution declaring intent to enroll following the completion of the service commitment. The idea behind the program is that soldiers move smoothly from the Army into college. Participating colleges will award credit for relevant military training, courses, and experience, which will move the soldier closer to graduation. There is no monetary award, but participants in this program can use Tuition Assistance, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or the Army Loan Repayment Program to help fund the rest of their education.
This scholarship is open to non-prior service students and enlisted soldiers who have previously served in the military and would like to return to school to finish their bachelor’s degrees or the final two years of a graduate degree and receive a commission in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. Upon returning to school, service members must enroll in an ROTC program and enlist in the Reserves in the Simultaneous Membership Program (concurrent enrollment at school and in the Reserve or National Guard). The service commitment after graduating and receiving a commission as a second lieutenant is eight years. This is a merit-based scholarship.
- Award amount: This two- to three-year scholarship covers full tuition and fees or room and board up to $10,000 annually and provides a stipend for books and supplies. Students will also receive drill pay at the level of a sergeant (E-5) or higher. Soldiers may also receive Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
- Eligibility: Soldiers must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 17 (at the time of enrollment) and 31 (at the time of commission) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a minimum SAT score of 1000 or an ACT score of 19. Soldiers can, but are not required to be, previously enlisted. Additionally, they may have to be qualified to fill a Military Occupational Specialty and must have exactly the length of the scholarship left to complete their degrees.
This two-year scholarship is available to students who want to attend a junior military college and receive a commission in the Army. Following graduation from the junior military college with associate’s degrees, students will continue on to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Students must participate in an ROTC program and join the Reserve or National Guard while simultaneously working on their bachelor’s degrees. Students must be able to finish and receive their bachelor’s degrees within 36 months.
- Award amount: While attending the military junior college, all tuition and fees or room and board will be covered; the choice of which is up to the student. There will be an additional $1,200 annual stipend for books. Cadets will also receive a monthly living allowance of up to $500.
- After graduating from the junior military college, students have the option of enrolling in the Educational Assistance Program while completing their bachelor’s degrees. This will cover tuition and fees or room and board up to $10,000 annually for two years. For each year that the student uses the Educational Assistance Program, they will incur a one-year service commitment.
- Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens, in possession of a high school diploma or the equivalent, and must be over the age of 17 by the end of the first semester of college and less than 31 years old by December 31st of sophomore year. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and a minimum score of 920 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT.
This is a program that provides eligible enlisted soldiers on active duty or in the Reserve or National Guard the chance to return to school to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). The program only covers upper-level nursing classes; completing prerequisites is the responsibility of the soldier. Additionally, soldiers must be able to obtain their BSN within two years. After completion of the degree, soldiers will receive a commission as an officer in the Army Nurse Corps.
- Award amount: Soldiers will continue to be paid at their rank by the Army while participating in the program for up to 24 consecutive months. Additionally, the program will cover tuition and fees up to $15,000 yearly and provide a $1,000 annual stipend for books. If relocation is necessary, the Army will cover the associated costs.
- The use of any GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, or federal financial aid is not permitted. If tuition at an institution is higher than $15,000 annually, the institution must waive all fees in excess of the $15,000 for the soldier to attend the institution and partake in the program.
- Eligibility: Soldiers must be enlisted (this opportunity is not open to officers) and have served at least two years on active duty. Soldiers serving in the Reserve or National Guard must have fewer than 14 years of active federal service (time spent on active duty while in the Reserve or National Guard) at the time of commissioning. Soldiers must hold the rank of specialist or higher to apply. Additionally, a soldier must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on all previous college coursework
- Score at or above 110 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
- Be eligible and medically qualified for appointment as a commissioned officer
- Be less than 41 years old at the earliest possible time of commissioning
- Agree to serve six additional years from the beginning of the program (soldiers may have to reenlist to meet this service requirement)
There are a variety of other opportunities and scholarships for students and service members interested in continuing education in the medical field. For information on undergraduate opportunities, click here. For graduate opportunities, click here.
Page last updated: 07/2018