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Earn your degree while serving

By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes | | November 8, 2012


Education and knowledge are not just highly valued in the workplace, they also help strengthen our nation’s communities and economy. Because of the importance of education, the Marine Corps makes sure every Marine has the ability to pursue their educational goals.

As a service member, education expenses may be paid by the federal government through programs like Tuition Assistance and the Post 9-11 GI Bill.

"There are many options available for Marines," said Sgt. Adam Dunigan, who recently obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Psychology. "Online courses can be taken as well as physically going to the many colleges near the Air Station."

The first step in acquiring a college education is to visit the education office, said David Ellard, Marine Corps Community Services education services officer. Prospective students will meet with an education service specialist to look at the different options available to them.

After a visit to the education office the service member completes an application for tuition assistance, which must be signed by the Marines’ chain of command and brought back to the education office. When the Marine has selected which classes he or she will be taking, the tuition assistance form can be brought to the college for payment.

Tuition assistance covers up to $250 per semester hour and up to $4500 per fiscal year for college tuition and fees. Tuition assistance covers costs for tuition and fees for any postsecondary education, from vocational certifications to graduate studies. Service members are only required to take courses that lead to a higher degree than they possess.

"The best advice I can offer is to take advantage of it and get the ball rolling," said Dunigan. "The hardest part of getting a college degree is getting started."

The qualities that make a successful Marine are similar to those that make a successful college student: discipline, drive, intelligence, perseverance and a willingness to learn.

"Completing my college education while in the Marine Corps was one of the proudest moments of my life," said Dunigan.

For more information, please contact the education office at 228-7484.