State or Province
School Type


The US Servicemember's Guide to Academic Programs and Aid

By staff writers at

Military branches and non-profits provide active duty service members, veterans, and their family member with ample funding opportunities for college. Funding and training for current personnel are usually designed to help you complete a certificate or degree program around your military schedule. Veterans have access to monthly school funding of up to $1,500 per month and career development training. Spouses and children of servicemembers and veterans are often eligible for tuition, educational supply assistance, and child-care aid.

Please note the programs discussed in this article exclusively apply to U.S. military servicemembers.

Academic Programs and Resources

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES): This Department of Defense program that supports service members in all five military branches as they pursue higher education opportunities.

Examination Programs: DANTES provides examination prep courses and administers more than 150,000 tests each year at more than 500 military installations worldwide; some of the sponsored exams include:

Troops to Teachers: This program provides educational materials, referrals, and other resources for military service members who are interested in pursuing a career in primary or secondary education. Troops to Teachers is open to any former or active military personnel whose “last period of service is characterized as honorable.” Interested parties must submit a registration form in order to receive information about certification requirements, upcoming certification exams, and job referrals; the form will ask for the following information:

  • Relevant information pertaining to vocational background, certifications, and professional licensure
  • Contact information
  • Military service record
  • Teaching/educational background
  • Referral preferences (pre-K through 12th grade)
       • Interested parties should contact the TTT office in their state of residence for more information.


Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC): This Department of Defense-funded consortium of 1,900 accredited higher learning institutions works to help military personnel and their families earn associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree credentials. Available academic programs and eligibility requirements for students will vary by college/university. It’s also important to note that the SOC does not provide any sort of financial assistance. However, active service members and veterans who attend SOC schools receive the following benefits:

  • Reduced credit load: Students must only complete up to 25% of the degree requirements (30% for exclusively online programs) in order to complete their academic program; this allows them to avoid any sort of “final year residency requirement.”
  • Transferability: Credits are easily transferred between SOC schools to help students avoid enrolling in duplicate courses.
  • Bonus credit: SOC students may receive credit for military training and/or experience, as well as completion of the following exams:
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    • General and Subject Examinations
    • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
    • Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)


American Council on Education (ACE): The ACE has collaborated with the Department of Defense to create ‘College Credit for Military Service,’ a program that reviews the training and experience of active service members and recommends formal courses and occupations offered through the U.S. military. Web users can browse available courses and occupations featured on the site database using the following criteria:

  • ACE identification number
  • Military course number
  • Military course title
  • Training location
  • Dates completed
  • Subject/level


Joint Services Transcript (JST): The JST is a comprehensive record of a service member’s military service, training, and ACE credit recommendations that is currently recognized by more than 2,300 accredited higher learning institutions. Historically, each individual branch of the U.S. military used a different template for military personnel transcripts. Today, the Navy, Army, and Marine Corps each use the JST; the Coast Guard is in the process of adopting this transcript, while the Air Force continues to retain its original transcript format. Sample transcripts for all five branches of the military are listed below:


GoArmyEd: This organization provides technology-based centers known as Multi-use Learning Facilities (MLFs), which provide the following resources to U.S. Army veterans who want to acquire professional skills that will lead to successful careers:

  • Online registration for the Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP)
  • Access to the Reimer Digital Library
  • A list of available “self-development courses”
  • Preparatory materials for the Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) training, as well as web-based college programs that correspond to the College of the American Soldier’s Career NCO Degrees and Enlisted Education Programs (see below)


Career NCO Degrees Program of the College of the American Soldier: The College of the American Soldier offers resources for service members who wish to enter the Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES). The goal of the NCO Degrees Program is to build on higher education opportunities for NCOs by providing “broad preparation degree options with college credit for specific NCOES courses taken throughout their careers” that:

  • Adhere to a flexible course schedule that allows extra time for program completion
  • Allow students to easily transfer credits to accredited colleges and universities
  • Enable military personnel and veterans to earn credit for service training and experience
  • Reduce requirements pertaining to “academic residency requirements”
  • Ultimately reward graduates with a degree in business and/or management

The following academic options are offered in conjunction with the NCO Degrees Program: