Military benefits students’ college life and onwards
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In today’s highly competitive society, jobs and college acceptance letters are nearly impossible to come by. About 3.5 million students will graduate from high school within the United States this year according to the U.S. Department of Education.
But what if the two impossibilities came as a package, and for free?
If the military is chosen as a career, the government completely covers the cost of a college education, as long as grades are kept up. The requirements are similar to those of a college scholarship.
This path is known as the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which is a training program for future officers in the military during college. To support officers-in-training, “Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100 percent for the tuition expenses of its members,” according to military.com.
However, this option comes with a catch; the more money received for education, the more years of active service required. These years don’t require service on the front lines, instead, an officer could be stationed domestically or at many peaceful locations abroad, depending on the job.
Although some roles in the military are physically dangerous, their financial stability greatly compensates for the risk. According to military.com, the military covers housing and insurance costs, which saves enlistees thousands of dollars a year.
Not only do they provide a steady income and many health benefits, these careers also can help set one up for a career in the military.
Jaelyn Sibley, a requirements officer (RO) for the U.S. Navy, and her husband Scott Sibley, an aviation ordnance chief at the Pentagon, are both familiar with these benefits, as they each have dedicated their lives to careers in the military.
“Any industry or federal agency definitely looks for those that have served in the military,” said Jaelyn Sibley.
The military appeals to those who seek stable pay instead of those interested in traditional “private sector” careers, where the pay may be more attractive, but where job security is harder to maintain.
Jaelyn Sibley said, “[Military personnel] do not make more than those in industry, but it can be a good and sustainable lifestyle with excellent benefits and the retirement is one of the best.”
According to a report from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, “Regular military compensation for the average enlisted member exceeded the 75th percentile of civilian earnings. Benefits provided to service members are substantially more valuable.”
Scott Sibley said, “Most people value being part of something bigger than themselves. Unlike most companies, the military doesn’t exist to turn a profit, so there I think there is more value placed on self-sacrifice.”
After 20 years of service, the military offers its own pension program, which pays veterans on a monthly basis according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
However, if service time is shorter than 20 years, it can still help one find a civilian job much more easily in some cases.
An example is Salesforce’s veteran-focused program, VetForce, which focuses on the recruitment of veterans in order to help them adjust to civilian life.
“We recognize the skills, experience, and aptitude that you’ve gained as a service member and combine those with business skills and Salesforce training to get you ready for the civilian workforce,” said a VetForce page.
This choice isn’t purely based upon the rewards, however, as those who enlist occasionally base their decision off of their personality.
For sophomore Collin Lucett, his interest in the military was based upon his desire to help others.
Lucett said, “A common thing in my life that has been coming up is the desire to help others, and I feel that being in the military would help me do that.”
Scott Sibley said, “If a country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for.”