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What Do Veterans Need to Remember as They Think About College

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Most servicemembers initially came into the Army searching for education and training. Many were enticed by promises of numerous education benefits aimed at encouraging bright, ambitious college-capable young people to enlist in the Army. Since 1985, the vast majority of enlistees have enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) for education benefits that now range up to $27,000. If a servicemember enlisted in the Army in specific specialties, then they may have up to $50,000 additional educational benefits through the Army College Fund. Others may have joined the Army as a ConAP soldier, who were already admiteed to a college.

Now is the time to collect on these benefits and go to college. Here are the current MGIB rates as of January 1, 2003.

You probably have some questions regarding whether or how college credits earned while on active duty can be used. For answers, find a Veterans Counselor at your college. If on or near a military installation, check out the local installation Education Center; talk with a counselor or education specialist. Contact the registrar or admissions office at your college or universtiy; ask questions; get the college catalog and read it carefully. If you need further information about Servicemembers Opportunity College or about SOCAD, call SOC toll-free at (800) 368-5622.

If your local college is a SOC, it will award credit for your Army service school courses based on the American Council of Education guide. It may also award credit for your Army experience as listed in the same guide. Be sure to request your AARTS transcript. Present the AARTS transcript (along with your other forms) to the college's admission office for the college to determine credits you'll be awarded based on learning achieved through your Army training and experience. See Use Your AARTS To Obtain College Credit for more information.

If you are attending a SOC college, be sure to complete all the academic residency requirements of your "home college". Some colleges have a time limit on degree completions. Be sure to check with your "home college" to ensure that you understand your requirements and limits regarding your SOC Student Agreement.

If you are a ConAP Army veteran, your admissions agreement with your SOC college is in effect for two years following completeion of active milityar service, or, for Army Reserve soldiers, two years after completion of initial active duty for training. As a ConAP soldier, you were admitted either on a full or provisional basis. "Provisional admission" means that a student may be required to take certain developmental courses or undergo other academic preparation.

In summary, seek out a SOC college or university. Use the education benefits that you have earned. Education opens many doors to you for employment and provides a foundation for the rest of your life.

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