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With a 3-Year Enlistment and SLRP, Are There Any Education Benefits for Me?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently serving a 3-year enlistment which will pay off my student loans ($30,000). I am interested in going to law school and furthering my military career in the JAG corps. I would like to know if there are education benefits available to me. If so, how do I explore these options?

A: With a three-year enlistment and the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) option, there isn’t much else left for you as far as GI Bill education benefits. You see, while you are under your SLRP three-year obligation, you are not acquiring Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility. However, if you would reenlist for an additional three years, you would be 100% vested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Another option you could look at while still serving is the Tuition Assistance (TA) program.

Under it, your military branch can pay up to $250 per credit or $4,500 per year towards your tuition. Anything above that amount for now would be your responsibility. Once you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you could also use the Top-Up program in addition to TA. The amount over TA would then come out of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The trick to getting into the JAG Corp is to first make sure your ASVAB scores are high enough. Then you have to get your Juris Doctor (JD) or Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from an American Bar Association accredited law school. The final requirements are:
• being a U.S citizen
• admitted into the bar
• able to serve 20 years of active commissioned service before reaching the age of 62.

If you can meet all requirements, you may have a good chance at getting into the JAG Corps. Good luck!

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