Which Enlistment Incentive Would Be The Best for Me?
Q: I am in the process of enlisting in the Army and I have 8 classes left until I will have my degree. I am trying to figure out what route I need to take before I sign my enlistment contract. I.E. Student Loan repayment, G.I. Bill, Tuition Assistance and Green to Gold. Especially, the student loan repayment because I was told by my recruiter that as of January 1, 2012 they no longer have that program?
A: You will get Tuition Assistance anyway by joining the Army. You will be able to use TA after you complete Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training. It pays up to $250 per credit with a $4,500 yearly cap which is enough for 18 credits per year.
I just looked on the Army’s website and they are still showing the Student Loan Repayment Program as an education option and I have not heard they were eliminating the program, so I’m unsure what your recruiter was talking about.
However, if you pick SLRP at enlistment, you incur a three-year obligation meaning during that time, you do not acquire eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill because you can’t use the same time period for both incentives. If you enlist for six years, you could get both – three years for SLRP and three years for the GI Bill.
The GI Bill can tie in with TA through the Tuition Top-Up program or you can use your GI Bill benefits it for an advanced degree once you are out. The Green to Gold option will only apply if you plan on becoming a commissioned officer and that is not a decision you need to make at the time you enlist.