Education that Pays – During out-processing briefs, you probably attended at least one workshop about the great options available to turn your post-9/11 GI bill into a viable degree. Maybe you’re ready to take that step in your education but don’t know if it makes more sense to go to school on campus or explore online options.
Let’s be clear – either option is going to give you a leg up in most job markets. On average, college graduates can earn almost twenty thousand dollars more a year. And since your benefits are just sitting there, why not make the most of them?
Consider the following when you’re choosing between an online program and a traditional campus experience. Make sure you’ve selected an accredited non-profit university to ensure that your degree is verified and will be appreciated for all the hard work it takes to earn it. Several valuable resources can help you choose the right university. Some employers will also offer tuition assistance if you’re trying to work and go to school at the same time.
Overall, if you feel like you missed out on the classic college experience, then an on-campus education might be your best option. You’re likely to develop close relationships with your fellow students, and it might remind you of your time in the military. If you need to be able to log in and do your work when you have free time, then online is going to be much more useful for you.
On-campus education means more money for you.
It’s true. The VA pays far more for on-campus education than online-based programs. Your GI bill is going to cover all in-state tuition and fees up to almost $24,000. There’s also a monthly housing stipend to consider, which is based on location. It’s generally equivalent to what you would receive as an E-5 with dependents in the location of your school.
But if you’re doing an online program, the VA is only going to provide half of the national housing allowance, which is generally around $800.
Online is extremely flexible.
You’re already a non-traditional student, so there might be a benefit in taking this concept all the way. After all, how many of your classmates can relate with you about your experiences in the military? It’s likely that you’ll be the only veteran in any of your classes and that could increase a feeling of isolation. If you choose to take an online program, then you’re going to be able to select the times that work best for you to do your schoolwork. Additionally, since you’re transitioning from the military, you might be married, with a family, and a full-time job. Most college students don’t have to experience those kinds of stresses, so these factors should play heavily when deciding which is best for you.
The other key component available to you in an online program is that it’s likely accelerated. This means it’s going to take you less time to complete your degree than if you were following the same plan in a traditional setting.
If both options seem interesting, there are also plenty of programs that allow you to combine traditional learning environments with online courses. Once you’ve decided what’s going to work best for you, then consider how a degree can help further your job search. Attending our in-person job fairs or checking out our video series can help prep you for the next important steps in your life.