THE BASICS

Before You Start

Here are some options that can help you lessen the expense of going to college.
  1. Finish School Sooner: High school students can take the College Board's Advanced Placement examinations and/or concurrent enrollment courses and earn college credit.
    Advanced Placement
    Concurrent Enrollment
  2. The Military: Educational benefits and scholarships are available to those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. In some programs, enlistees receive an education first, and serve an equivalent amount of military time after graduation. Other programs allow you to accumulate money for an education while completing an initial enlistment period. Some scholarships pay full tuition and all instructional fees, and may include a living allowance. Loan repayment is also available to Army service personnel. For more information, contact your local Armed Forces recruiting office.
  3. AmeriCorps: This service program is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Servicenew_window and allows people of all ages and backgrounds to earn help paying for education in exchange for a year of service.
  4. Work While You Learn: It may not be possible to earn all your own college costs, but a part-time or summer job can help reduce the amount you'll need to borrow. School employment offices can help you find a job on or off campus. On some campuses, work-study or student assistant programs help students find career-related jobs. Jobs funded through need-based work-study programs can also have additional financial aid advantages.

You may also be eligible for additional financial aid if you fall into some of the categories below:

Native American
Students with Disabilities
Veterans and Their Dependents
Athlete

Native American

Native American students who can prove membership in a federally recognized tribe may receive education grants from the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairsnew_window (BIA). Information about scholarship or grant programs available to members of your tribe may be available in your tribe's education office.

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who meet the academic qualifications for a college should apply for admission and, if needed, financial aid. By law, a qualified student cannot be excluded from college solely because of a disability.

All public schools and colleges and many independent schools provide services to students with disabilities. Benefits may include counseling, tutoring, readers, interpreters, note takers, special parking zones and loan of special equipment. You may also request that a class be relocated to a more accessible place on campus.

Your student budget, as calculated by the colleges, should include all educational expenses necessary to accommodate your disability. Be sure to work with your financial aid offices if you apply, so they understand your particular circumstances.

For more information, contact the schools' disability services office, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Servicesnew_window, or the national organizations serving your particular disability.

For information on benefits for service-disabled veterans, call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 800.827.1000.

Veterans and Their Dependents

Federal Educational Benefits

Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill provides educational benefits to Veterans and Servicemembers who have at least two years of active duty.

You may be an eligible veteran if you got an honorable discharge, AND you have a high school diploma or GED or, in somecases 12 hours of college credit, AND you meet the requirements of one of the categories below:

Category I

  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985.
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for first 12 months.
  • Continuously served for three years OR two years if that is what you first enlisted for OR two years if you entered Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served four years ("2 by 4" Program).

Category II

  • Entered active duty before Jan. 1, 1977.
  • Served at least one day between Oct. 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988, (or June 30, 1987, if you entered Selected Reserve within one year of leaving active duty and served four years).
  • On Dec. 31, 1989, had entitlement left from Vietnam Era GI Bill.

Category III

  • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II.
  • On active duty on Sept. 30, 1990, AND separated involuntarily after Feb. 2, 1991, OR involuntarily separated on or after Nov. 30, 1993, OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program.
  • Before separation, had military pay reduced by $1,200.

Category IV

  • On active duty on Oct. 9, 1996, AND had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND elected MGIB by Oct. 9, 1997, OR entered full-time National Guard duty under Title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985, and Nov. 28, 1989, AND elected MGIB during the period Oct. 9, 1996, through July 8, 1997.
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution.

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/mgib_ad.asp.


Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve

The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve program provides education and training benefits to eligible members of the Selected Reserve, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard or Air National Guard.

To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985. If you are an officer, you must have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation. For some types of training it is necessary to have a six-year commitment that begins after Sept. 30, 1990.
  • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT).
  • Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT. You may not use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement.
  • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. You will also retain eligibility if you were discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct. Your eligibility period may be extended if you are ordered to active duty.

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/mgib_sr.asp.


Veteran's Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

VEAP is the post-Vietnam era Veterans Educational Assistance Program for those who entered active duty for the first time between Jan. 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985, and contributed to the VEAP fund while on active duty or had contributions made for them by the military.

To qualify you must meet the following requirements:

  • Entered service for the first time between Jan. 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985 (for all branches other than Air Force).
  • Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987.
  • Voluntarily contributed from $25 to $2,700.
  • Completed your first period of service.
  • Were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.

If you are currently on active duty and wish to receive VEAP benefits, you must have at least three months of contributions available.

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/veap.asp.


Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment

Service-disabled veterans may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Benefits may include education or training to qualify for employment, counseling, tutorial assistance and medical services.

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/.


Survivors and Dependents Assistance

Educational benefits also are available to veterans' dependents if the veteran (spouse or parent) died in service, was totally disabled, or is listed as missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force or a foreign government power.

The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI bill allows Servicemenbers to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while serving as an active member of the Armed Forces. If you're eligible, you may transfer benefits to the following individuals:

  • Your spouse
  • One or more of your children
  • Any combination of your spouse and child

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/survivor_dependent_assistance.asp.


Veterans' Work-Study Program

If you're a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree, vocational, or professional program, you can "earn while you learn" with a VA work-study allowance.

VA will select students for the work-study program based on different factors. Such factors include:

  • Ability of the student to complete the work-study contract before the end of his or her eligibility to education benefits
  • Job availability within normal commuting distance to the student

The number of applicants selected will depend on the availability of VA-related work at your school or at VA facilities in your area. Veterans with service-connected disabilities of at least 30% may be give priority consideration.

To learn more, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/workstudy.asp.


State Educational Benefits

National Guard Tuition Waiver

The Oklahoma National Guard Tuition Waiver is established as an incentive for qualified young men and women to join the Oklahoma National Guard and as a means to retain skilled, productive citizens within the state.

Who is eligible?

A student who is a member of the Oklahoma National Guard shall be eligible for a full resident tuition waiver (up to 18 credit hours per semester per institution), provided the student:

  1. Is a bona fide member of the Oklahoma National Guard at the beginning of the semester for which he/she is applying for a scholarship or by the scholarship application deadline determined by the institution.
  2. Has been certified as a member in good standing by the Adjunct General.
  3. Is an Oklahoma resident.
  4. Does not currently hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree. (Must be pursuing an associate or baccalaureate degree and enroll in a minimum of three credit hours.)
  5. Meets all admission and retention requirements of the institution.

To learn more, visit the National Guard Tuition Waiver page, contact the Oklahoma National Guard at 800.GO.GUARD or visit https://ok.ng.mil/Pages/Tuition-Waiver.aspx

Athlete

Athletes considering a National Collegiate Athletic Association college should contact the NCAA for information on college recruiting rules, grade point average and testing requirements. Visit www.NCAA.orgnew_window or write to the NCAA at 700 W. Washington Street, PO Box 6222, Indianapolis, IN, 46206-6222, or call 317.917.6222.