Why College Is An Essential Next Step for Military Veterans

You’ve completed your tours of duty and have fulfilled your years with the military, but now what? Many veterans find themselves lost and unsure of their next step after they conclude their military assignments. Unless you were able to complete college before or during your military years, it is important to pursue a degree afterwards.

In this day and age, a college degree is essentially required to attain a good paying job in most fields of business. While the average salary of someone with a high school diploma is $30,000 a year, the average salary of someone with a college degree is $45,000.

If the contrast in salary isn’t reason enough for you, then try these reasons on for size:

1. Much of your military experience can be converted into college credits toward your degree. What does this mean? That you’ll be starting toward your degree with many credits already. In fact, 83% of college and universities that offer services for veterans and military members provide evaluated credit for military training, and another 63% grant evaluated credit for military work-related experience.

2. There is a great deal of financial assistance available for military veterans. The most notable is the G.I. Bill which pays full tuition and all fees for in-state students, and up to $18,077.50 for tuition and fees at private or foreign schools. For the 2014 school year, the tuition and fee payment for private and foreign school is going up to $19,198.31.

3. Many colleges and universities cater to veterans. About 6 in 10 colleges have a Veteran’s Affair office on campus. As published in 2012 by the American Council on Education (ACE), “Almost all campuses that have services for veterans and service members offer some type of academic support or student service designed specifically for these students. Aside from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits counseling, the most frequently cited services were financial aid/tuition assistance counseling (67%) and special campus social and/or cultural events (66 percent).”

4. Veterans who receive their college degree are happier and healthier. Because you will be in a career that you want to work in and a job that you like, you will be happier both while working and when outside of work. This leads to a healthier body, such as having lower blood pressure, being less likely to smoke, and being more likely to exercise. Many studies found that those who have a higher education have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which means that the 10-30% of military veterans that suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can feel better by attaining their college degree.

You’ve already proved your mettle and wherewithal in defense of your country. Getting that college degree will be a snap in comparison!