Is applying for college during a military contract a good idea to save money, and have the ability to make more at the same time? ?
I would like to go into the Air Force after I am out of high school, and was wondering if going to college for Aviation Mechanizing and having the government pay for it was a good idea, especially on a fixed contract.
I’m a Medic and moonlighted as one to make couple extra thousand a month on-top of my base pay. Ask your chain of command first, apply for approval and get a part time job even if it has nothing to do with your military occupation. However, need to recognize burn out and balance school in between. It’s hard but doable.
Depending on if you’re active duty, you can use tuition assistance, save the money and put it into investing or a Roth IRA. Think about a high-yield savings account and build credit. I’ve heard of people also taking out a $2,000 loan from their banks, not spending it on anything and pay it off in a reasonable time before the interest adds up….then do it again.
Don’t worry about impressing other people in your peer group. You don’t need a new car, fully furnished house, newest electronics etc. That will all come to you someday. Need to be patient. Nobody will care about your brand new Cummins Ram 2500.
Play your cards right and you can be debt free, great credit and transferable skills after your service.
Get as much free schooling as you possibly can. Even just getting your general ed out of the way. It's paid for 100%. Even if you choose a different path or degree when you're out, you'll build a base for free that you won't have to pay for later in loans. I did not take classes while I was on active-duty Air Force and regret it entirely. Yes, you have your GI Bill when you get out, but that doesn't cover nearly enough.
Regardless of your path, get as much free school as possible!
Here's the thing: it can be difficult to find the time to actually take courses. It takes longer than the traditional college path for many people, especially in the aircraft maintenance world. There will be long hours, shift changes, deployments, last minute TDYs, details, and even military based courses which come when they come, regardless of your personal schedule. Many people have to drop classes because of this. It is not impossible, but it is harder than other avenues. A big plus to going this route is the fact that you will have gained experience those simply taking the courses won't have.
I think is a great idea. I’m a bit biased because I’m a Navy Recruiter, but taking advantage of the education benefits a service has to offer is just plain smart. Aside from receiving education benefits, you’ll be getting paid, trained, and working in a, hopefully relevant, job, acquiring experience to increase your prospects for job opportunities at the end of your contract in the Air Force. I would only caution you to become masterful in time management. The only reason I earned my bachelors and masters while operational in the Navy was because of a decent internet connection and time management.
Eric E. Hopkins, MHA, RMA
So think about it strongly.