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Old 04-21-2010, 03:13 PM
 
409 posts, read 1,603,111 times
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One of my goals of enlisting in the Air Force is to finish my post graduate education. However, I don't see how this is possible while you are on active duty. Going to college and being an active duty soldier just don't seem to go well with one another. I am still in the Delayed Entry Program of the Air Force and don't have enough information to know how it works.

Have any of you been enrolled in college while on active duty?
How was it like?

The benefits are very encouraging. There is the new G.I. Bill which, as far as I know, "can" pay up to 100% of college tuition, a lump sum to help you pay for books and supplies, and a monthly housing stipend to be used for living expenses. I understand these benefits depend on how long you've been in service among other factors, but the possibility of getting the benefits are still there.

In addition there is the Air Force Tuition Assistance program. This program gets you $250 per credit hour or up to $4,500 annually.

These two benefits combined can basically pay for ALL your education.

What I don't understand is when will you go to school? Even if you enroll in an online university you still have homework, tests, and presentations that have deadlines that may not match your "working" hours. Also, there is always the possibility of you getting an assignment out side your base that will interfere with your classes. How can you manage this? Is there a program within the military services that assist you in this matter? The ideal thing to do would be to complete your education while enlisted. I just don't see how this can be done with the time restraints imposed by being enlisted.
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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With the obvious possibility of being deployed aside (which is considerable), it's much like having any other full-time job and going to school when off duty. I know, because I did it. So of course you can. And yes they'll pay for it. I would think you could time it so that you would know within reason when you would/wouldn't be deployed, but can't say for sure - and likely the realities will vary.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:34 PM
 
409 posts, read 1,603,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey2000 View Post
With the obvious possibility of being deployed aside (which is considerable), it's much like having any other full-time job and going to school when off duty. I know, because I did it. So of course you can. And yes they'll pay for it. I would think you could time it so that you would know within reason when you would/wouldn't be deployed, but can't say for sure - and likely the realities will vary.
Did you get your degree? How did you manage?
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:55 PM
 
Location: :~)
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OP, I completed all of my school work, up to MS, while active duty. Go for it but I have to provide a cautionary statement. I did complete my goals, but I definitely made it hard for myself. My last 6 yrs of active duty were school work and the full time job. Yes, I met my educational goals and at the same time about lost my mind. I worked 10+ hrs everyday along with 3 to 4 hrs of school work so I averaged about total of 13 hrs a days. Doable, very much so. Stressful, even more YES!

Your potential follow on question. Would I do it again? Yes! Word of advice, do not wait, start going to school as soon as feasible possible. I waited too long so I had full load of everything...along with 3 kids.

Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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My husband has been taking classes. He has 16 years in and almost has his BA. It's a slow, long process and VERY hard. Usually on sea duty he isn't able to take any classes due to how much he has to work and they are in and out etc. It can be done but takes years. And you don't want to use your GI bill while active because you will not get the BAH they give you.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:03 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
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My husband started taking classes online in 2008 while he was deployed. He recently earned his AA and is now working towards his BA. He is strictly using the Tuition Assistance Program.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:43 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
425 posts, read 1,022,895 times
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When I was in BCT when I was in the Army, one of the drill sergeants had a Master's degree, which she got while she was in the Army. I knew a good number of people who obtained degrees or are working toward them who are/were in the military, so it's possible.

A lot of service members do online schooling. However, I would caution you to ensure you choose the right school to go to if you choose that route. A lot of respectable "brick and mortar" (ie Virginia Tech) schools offer online classes. When you get to your permanent duty station, go to the base's education center (that is what the Army calls it, the Air Force may call it something different) and talk with a counselor. There should also be representatives from different schools there and brochures, as well.

Keep in mind, with tuition assistance, you will have to maintain a certain GPA. If you go below that GPA, you have to pay them back and they won't pay for you to retake the class. One of the only ways to withdraw from a class and not face any penalties is if you deploy (there may be a few others, but you would have to talk to a counselor about that). This information is according to the Army, the Air Force might have different regulations, so be sure to ask questions and read the information provided to you.

Good luck!
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,790 posts, read 28,218,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atreidi View Post
... Have any of you been enrolled in college while on active duty?
How was it like?
In the community that I served it was very common for enlistedmen to be working on degrees.

We never had internet connectivity, however regular correspondence courses were used.

Also many of our officers were PHDs and would offer to teach classes while we were underway. I know they had to do paperwork with a college to be approved, but they seemed to think it was worth the effort to get the experience on their resume and Personal Evaluations.



Quote:
... The benefits are very encouraging. There is the new G.I. Bill which, as far as I know, "can" pay up to 100% of college tuition, a lump sum to help you pay for books and supplies, and a monthly housing stipend to be used for living expenses. I understand these benefits depend on how long you've been in service among other factors, but the possibility of getting the benefits are still there.

In addition there is the Air Force Tuition Assistance program. This program gets you $250 per credit hour or up to $4,500 annually.
These benefits are available in all branches, not just the AF.



Quote:
... These two benefits combined can basically pay for ALL your education.

What I don't understand is when will you go to school? Even if you enroll in an online university you still have homework, tests, and presentations that have deadlines that may not match your "working" hours. Also, there is always the possibility of you getting an assignment out side your base that will interfere with your classes. How can you manage this? Is there a program within the military services that assist you in this matter? The ideal thing to do would be to complete your education while enlisted. I just don't see how this can be done with the time restraints imposed by being enlisted.
I deployed a lot. It was during our deployments that I got most of my coursework completed.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:22 AM
 
3,651 posts, read 5,556,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atreidi View Post
Did you get your degree? How did you manage?
Yes and not sure what you mean by how I managed - ? I busted my butt, that's how. Yeah not having kids helped (being young did too).
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:00 PM
 
32 posts, read 147,734 times
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Quote:
What I don't understand is when will you go to school?
Mostly at night and on weekends like other posters have said. There are also 3 or 4 schools that actually have offices and offer classes right on base. If they offer what you're looking for they can be the most understanding of your situation. They often offer lunch hour classes or 4-8 hour super classes on Saturday, as well as typical night classes. (And they usually have accomadations for shift workers too).

Though you're "on duty" 24/7, you'll actually settle into a normal 8 or 12 hour a day routine so you'll be able to figure out the best times/days to go to school and your boss and coworkers will also usually work with you to help make it happen.

Quote:
Also, there is always the possibility of you getting an assignment out side your base that will interfere with your classes. How can you manage this?
Once again, the schools on the base are very understanding and will work with you to do assignments ahead of time, afterward, or during your TDY/deployment. I've also had outside schools work with me once I explained the situation to them.

Quote:
Is there a program within the military services that assist you in this matter?
ABSOLUTELY!!! The military highly encourages advancing your education and has an Education Office staffed specifically to answer all your questions and help you every step of the way, including the best tuition assistance program to use (once you arrive at your first duty station you'll get a briefing from them). They even send representatives to deployed locations sometimes.

This is absolutely doable if you're willing to do the work.
Best of luck to you!
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