Transitioning to Civilian Life: Resources for Returning to School

Transitioning from military service to civilian life isn’t always easy, but there are several resources – from applying for financial aid to finding a mentor – that will help prepare you for your first class and motivate you throughout your educational journey.

Understanding Military Education Benefits and Funding Options

Veterans are eligible for military education benefits to help pay for college, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, which covers tuition, and provides a stipend for living expenses and an allowance for supplies and books. Other education benefits include the Montgomery GI Bill® and Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP). Visit or call 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GI-BILL-1) to learn about education benefits for veterans.

Federal grants and education loans are available for veterans that complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarships may be available for expenses not covered by the GI Bill. Some are offered by a particular branch, while others are open to all veterans. Scholarship databases online help you search for opportunities based on academic major, state, religion, academic achievement, ethnicity and military experience.

Earning College Credit for Military Service

Veterans may be eligible to receive course credit for military training and experience. New England College accepts credits for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). Veterans can submit Joint Service Transcripts (JST) to be evaluated for course credit. You will have to arrange to have transcripts to be sent through the American Council on Education (ACE), depending on the branch of service (JST or Community College of the Air Force). An NEC Enrollment Services Representative can guide you through the process and provide information about programs for military/veteran students.

Advice and Support from Fellow Student Veterans

Your college’s veterans resource center or veteran services representative is a great way to learn about student groups, activities or online organizations that you can connect with or attend, such as Students Engaged with Respect to Veterans Education (SERVE), New England College’s association for veterans that are part of the college’s learning community. To learn more, contact NEC’s Director of Veteran Services, Dr. Cindi Nadelman, at (603) 428-2909 or

Student Veterans of America published a Military to College Guide that provides helpful tips from applying for student aid to making the most of your study time. Veterans can access free personalized vocational and educational counseling services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. Expanded services are available to eligible veterans under the VA’s Vet Center Program, which offers a broad range of counseling services, outreach and referral services to through community-based locations nationwide.

Refresher Courses, Tutoring and Mentoring for Veterans

The Veterans Upward Bound program offers a variety of online and on-campus resources for eligible veterans. The free program, offered through the U.S. Department of Education, has 49 locations nationwide. Services can include academic skills assessments, refresher courses, tutoring and mentoring, and assistance completing college admission and education benefit forms.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

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