By: Alex Llorente
Military service is usually viewed as striving to be the best that you can be physically, mentally and intuitively – and where your “best” is tested, measured and determined based on one thing: strength. The decision to serve one’s country may come with many reasons, but the decision not to enlist as a soldier usually comes from a common insecurity that is characterized by self-doubt – a thought that says “I’m not strong enough to survive.”
As the strongest force in the world, the strength of the U.S. Army doesn’t come solely from battalions in combat. It comes from the men and women who have bested themselves in becoming the person that they aspired to be: doctors, nurses, medical technologists, psychologists, engineers, attorneys, accountants, information technologists, public affairs and media communicators, program managers and many other military and Army-civilian professionals.
As a soldier in the U.S. Army, one can choose to serve on Active Duty or in the Army Reserve and receive benefits that can help a young man or woman become a well rounded individual and thread on the path of continuous learning.
Education benefits come as an integral part of a soldier’s compensation. High school and college students may apply for ROTC scholarships with full-tuition, monthly living allowances, 2-4 year scholarship options based on the time remaining to complete a degree, options for room and board in place of tuition, and additional allowances for books and fees. Approval is based on a student’s merit and grades, and is not based on financial need.
The F. Edward Hèbert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) will pay the full tuition, books, equipment and most academic fees for graduate-level health care degrees at any accredited program in the U.S. or Puerto Rico for qualified applicants. The program may include an allowance of more than $2,000 every month and a non-taxable allowance for food and housing. Eligible students may also receive $20,000 as a sign on bonus.
The Army has a variety of Graduate Health Care Education programs for Active and Reserve soldiers who wish to pursue a career in their Dental, Medical and Allied Health Corps programs that may provide tuition reimbursement, a monthly stipend of more than $2,000, and/or funding for books and lab fees. Similar programs are available for Clinical Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Nutrition, Psychiatry, Anesthesiology and Veterinary Corps.
The Army has three programs to assist students who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. For Active or Reserve enlisted soldiers, the Army Medical Department Enlisted Commissioning Program offers up to $9,000 per academic year for up to 24 months, up to $1,000 per academic year for books, full pay and eligibility for promotions.
For Active duty Army officers, the Funded Nurse Education Program (FNEP) provides up to $12,000 per year, full pay and allowances. This is also available for a Master of Science in Nursing degree. For undergraduate students, the Army Nurse Candidate Program provides a monthly stipend of $1,000 while enrolled full time with a Collegiate Nursing Education or a National League for Nursing-accredited program, plus a $5,000 bonus at the beginning of the program and another $5,000 after graduation.
For Nursing students with student loans to pay, the Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program can provide up to $120,000 for those loans. For other students, the College Loan Repayment Program (LRP) will repay one-third of the student loan for each year of full-time duty served. This program is available as an incentive at the time of enlistment to the U.S. Army.
Aside from scholarships and loan repayment programs, the Army also offers education assistance through the Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill and a host of programs and internships for a chance to enjoy endless career opportunities.
In reality, joining the Army is more than just a question of whether you are strong enough to survive training, pressure or combat. The decision to enlist into the strongest military force in the world can stem from the realization that no matter how weak or strong you may feel at the moment, you can always be smart enough. Talk to a U.S. Army recruiter today.
For a complete list of benefits, requirements and other programs, visit www.goarmy.com. The website also provides information for parents of would-be soldiers, how to join the army, an online application form, recruitment locations and several resources. To talk to a U.S. Army recruiter, call 1-888-550 ARMY (2769).