One dual student and soldier says his decision to use TA benefits was simple.
“I don’t think opting to use TA benefits was a difficult choice at all; getting a degree can be expensive, especially depending on the school you choose to attend,” said Sgt. Mgr. Timothy White, an Army Senior Healthcare NCO with 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) at Fort Carson, Colorado.
“Every little bit helps, and I don’t see why anyone would opt out of using these benefits.”
White chose to pursue his Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance at Syracuse University due to the marketability of an MBA and the salary it can demand outside of the military.
He encourages other service members to take advantage of these benefits and points to how simple they are to access. “Accessing the benefits is as easy as going to the local education center and talking to a counselor, then applying to the school and requesting the TA benefits online,” White said.
However, before committing to the TA program, White says that service members must do some self-reflection. “Anyone applying to a university program while working full time needs to do a good analysis of whether or not it is feasible for them to accomplish the program and handle the rest of their life responsibilities,” White said.
Liz Green, executive director of Online Student Success at Syracuse University, works with service members like White every day. According to her, there are approximately 100 students in Syracuse’s part-time online undergraduate degree programs using TA benefits. Of those 100 students, 66% are pursuing cyber security or creative leadership degrees, while the remainder are following liberal arts paths.
Green says the biggest issues that service members face when pursuing online programs are time management and connectivity issues, but the support system that Syracuse offers is often able to help in these cases. “We’re not 24/7, but we try to be flexible with students and their schedule,” said Green.
“We try to have a very intentional model of support that is as proactive as can be.”
Syracuse University also helps by adjusting their tuition so that anyone using TA benefits to pursue an online undergraduate degree program will be fully covered. Jessica Calhoun, assistant director for Veterans and Military Admissions at Syracuse University, is also available to all service members and veterans during their time at Syracuse. Calhoun points to Syracuse University’s building dedicated entirely to veteran and military student success — The National Veteran Resource Center. As a service member or veteran student, “You know that there’s an entire brand-new program that’s dedicated to you and your success,” said Calhoun. Additionally, any employee at Syracuse who has experience and knowledge dealing with the military community has an orange sign that hangs from their door, inviting all military or veteran students to enter and ask for help.
The decision to use TA benefits is a personal one, but service members stand to benefit from it significantly — especially when applying to any college, university, or trade school with similar programs in place. If service members aren’t confident that they meet required pre-requisites to pursue a degree, they should still reach out to the school of their choice to inquire. “If a student isn’t confident that they’d meet the criteria for one of our programs, we’d like to speak with them anyway,” said Green.
Military accomplishments and schools often transfer into college credits, allowing service members to secure degrees even quicker. Learn more about TA benefits at your local installation education center.