Author Topic: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?  (Read 70448 times)

Vilgan

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Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« on: November 10, 2015, 07:12:27 PM »
Hi all,

One thing that I've seen over and over again both on these boards and in other places is people talking about paying for their kid's education. Like many fortunate people, I had amazing parents who gave me a huge leg up in life. However, they didn't have the ability to fund their kid's education beyond a little bit of help. I think I received $1100 twice and while my siblings got a bit more they didn't get anywhere near the 200k that their ivy league educations would have cost.

I took the route of military first followed by school. This was a good deal back when I did it (leaving with minimal debt, would have been none if I'd been more careful during those 4 years) and is a fabulous deal now with the new GI Bill. After 4 years of learning useful life skills, discipline, seeing the world, learning about themselves, etc enlisted people leaving the force these days also get 4 years of school + housing/food paid for.

My siblings took the route of school first on the military's dime followed by 4 years of service. In addition to free college (instead of 200k), my siblings also enjoyed or are enjoying challenging and interesting jobs around the world and 70k+ salaries while doing it. If you tack on the amount paid in school to their current salaries, officers in the military easy make 6 figure salaries right out of college: not a bad deal! Many of my brother's best friends are from his time in the Navy and they've forged lifelong bonds and followed each other into careers after the Navy as well.

Thankfully the general civilian attitude towards military is way better than at some periods in our past. I've always had people thanking me for my service, offering reduced/free things on Veteran's day, etc. However, the military is not JUST a noble sacrifice that some take on so that others don't have to. Its also a heck of a great way to pay for school, grow up a bit, and start life off the right way. Hollywood likes to show the dark side with the soldiers dealing with PTSD and messed up lives etc and for an infantryman in the Army that's a legit concern. However, there are thousands of jobs that DON'T involve getting shot at in a foreign country for a year or more.

In a forum that talks constantly about finding every way to save money, credit card rewards, DIY rather than paying someone: why is there so little discussion about education and especially the military as a way to pay for it?

I'm not a recruiter and certainly don't mind if people have specific reasons. I've just read a lot of "currently paying for 2 kids to go through college" in various threads recently and it boggles my mind.

cats

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2015, 07:22:19 PM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

All that said, I certainly don't think parents are obliged to pay for 100% of an Ivy League education (mine certainly didn't).  Make it clear to your kids what you can or can't provide, highlight what you think the benefits/drawbacks of university are, talk to them about the impact a big fat loan can have on their lives, and then let them figure out how to proceed.  My parents did a pretty so-so job of conveying this info to me and I still managed to get out of my four years with only a small loan, which, incidentally, took me only 4 years to pay off (about the same amount of time I would have spent in the military if I had decided to try the ROTC route) and came with very little risk of death or long term physical/mental injury.

Vilgan

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2015, 07:33:52 PM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

I assume they were army? I'm not sure that PTSD is much of a possibility for the Air Force or Navy. The Navy can still result in long separations, but on a boat rather than getting shot at by people who hate America.

kendallf

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2015, 07:35:48 PM »
Joining the USAF remains one of the best decisions of my life.  I enlisted after a couple of years in college and running out of money.  Two years in, I got a commissioning scholarship and went back to school on the AF's dime.  The discipline and life skills I learned in the military are responsible for a lot of what I've accomplished since. 

The new GI bill benefits are a huge leg up and the financial independent status you have after serving allows qualifying for significant other financial aid as well.  Large numbers of the people I work with are veterans and many of them got their degrees in exactly this fashion, debt free.

cats

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2015, 07:36:59 PM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

I assume they were army? I'm not sure that PTSD is much of a possibility for the Air Force or Navy. The Navy can still result in long separations, but on a boat rather than getting shot at by people who hate America.

Mostly Army, but I do have one HS friend who went Navy and had a similar experience.

RangerOne

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 07:47:39 PM »
If you are very financially stable it seems prudent to save what you can in a tax sheltered investment to make that assistance even easier when it comes time for your child to get a higher education or professional training. If your children make the choice to serve in our military that is not something you have to plan and save for. Thats one reason it may not come up as much.

Left

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2015, 07:50:35 PM »
You can get money for school without joining the military... join if you want to but not for the college money because ther are easier money to get

Blatant

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2015, 07:56:34 PM »
I grew up in a loving but somewhat poor family. Never missed any meals, but paying for college was not in the cards. The US Army paid for my formal education but they also provided me another form of education that was invaluable. Did I serve in combat? Yes. And I'm proud to have done it.

It's not for everyone, but it's one hell of an experience if you're built for it.

Villanelle

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2015, 08:04:25 PM »
Uncle Sam paid for DH's undergrad, paid for a graduate degree a few years in, and now is currently paying for me to work on a Master's degree (via the transferred GI Bill).  It's definitely not for everyone, but worth considering for most.


galliver

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2015, 08:07:54 PM »
Possibilities:
-ideology: some people are just not that enthralled with the idea of war, which ultimately is the purpose of the military. Anything else they do is a side effect. Thanking individual soldiers for service is the polite thing to do, and different from supporting the goals and actions of the organization as a whole. And one should support the goals of an organization they are joining, when they require the degree of dedication of the military.
-loss of control/freedom: sounds like you get some choices in the military, but ultimately there is always the possibility that you will be stationed anywhere and deployed anywhere. Also to the best of my knowledge it's not a job you're allowed to quit (before your time is up).
-fear: death, dismemberment, psychological damage (PTSD), and higher rates of sexual assault than the general population are all occupational hazards.

Not everyone is cut out for the military and risking one's life should not be the only practical way for people from lower-income backgrounds to get an education without exorbitant debt. And honestly, I would find debt a better sentence to all of the above.

The way I see it, the first question is: Do you want a military career? and then what that career looks like (college/ROTC->active duty or reserves? enlist->service->college->??)

GetItRight

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2015, 08:18:32 PM »
I considered it shorty before and after dropping out of college. I ran out of money after being conned by a university on top of them stealing nearly $20k from me by way of a bank I got student loans from.I was unwilling to borrow any more after the bank allowed the fraudulent charges and offered no recourse, and at that point was aware of sunk costs but when looking at $100k down the drain wasn't willing to accept it.

Anyhow, military would not pay for any of my student loans/previous college costs so that was a big strike against that option. I didn't feel the lifestyle was for me, though would have committed to at least a few years to wipe out student loans and get a degree. Would also involve a large pay cut, which sealed the deal as a bad one for me, in my situation.

I'm sure it's a good deal for some people. Looking back it may have been good for me if I did it within a year or two of high school as the pay would have been a good deal along with free college and the lifestyle would have been easier then. I probably wouldn't be earning as much as I do now, but I'd likely have a much higher net worth.

More important question I think is why do teens and young adults feel compelled to go to college at any cost when it offers little value for intelligent people? Why does college cost so much these days? What can be done to force a market correction of that pricing?

Sailor Sam

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2015, 10:15:08 PM »
I think the military has a kind of mystique to outsiders. We have a separate culture, a separate vocabulary, a strict rank structure, and the services exist (in a very simplified metric given to the non rank-and-file) to kill people. I think it's just too weird for some people to attempt bridging the culture gap. Or they are too intimidate by the prospect of bootcamp/OCS/plebe year to try. I've also heard that an increasing number of young people can't meet the physical requirements to serve.

In the meantime, I shall amuse you... 


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regulator

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 10:33:18 PM »
I could give you lots of reason I didn't and wouldn't.  Irrelevant to discussion of one's children.  The bigger issue is that if you have the ability to save for your children's education why on earth would you not do so?  Can you really make a choice for a 5 year old that they will be going into the military to pay for school so you can retire sooner?  Not me.

Pigeon

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2015, 03:57:36 AM »
To me, the costs and risks far outweigh the benefits. I've had a civilian job working for the military and have seen that life up close. I've also had family members who have had very negative experiences and lifelong issues as a result. Obviously YMMV.

We started saving when the kids were small and can pay for a public university for them. If they decide they want to join the military, that is up to them but it would never be anything I would encourage.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2015, 06:01:54 AM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

I assume they were army? I'm not sure that PTSD is much of a possibility for the Air Force or Navy. The Navy can still result in long separations, but on a boat rather than getting shot at by people who hate America.

"getting shot at by people who hate America" - Comments like this would not entice me to encourage my kids to sign up.


davisgang90

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2015, 06:25:07 AM »
I've served active duty Navy for 25 years so far.  I've gotten a free master's degree, and can pass my GI bill to my son.  I've got a fairly generous pension for the rest of my life and for a small fee, I can pass a portion of my pension on to my autistic son for the rest of his life.

When you add in reasonably priced health insurance for life, I feel like I'm doing alright.

I will always cherish my time in uniform.

Happy Veterans day.

muckety_muck

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2015, 06:34:03 AM »
I think for some, it's because a 4-6 yr commitment is too much. Or unimaginable... or just overwhelming. So much can happen in 4-6 years. What if a big war starts and they're deployed? What if they die? What if they leave kids/spouse behind? What if they are permanently disabled? What if they get sent to duty station in a place they never wanted to go? What if they are assigned infantry with no job prospects when they leave?

Some others may think - well, that's what student loans are for. Why would I sign away my life to the military.


Personally, I had a scholarship and never considered the military. It didn't appeal to me. Nothing specific, just not a lifestyle I wanted.

I am deeply appreciative to the military and all who have served in it. But it's not for everyone. Just like college is not for everyone, nor is getting married or having kids. It's a lifestyle choice.

2lazy2retire

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2015, 06:52:20 AM »
I have often wondered if this is one of the reasons the establishment have not tackled high tuition costs. Lowering costs would remove the incentive for the more intelligent to sign up, by keeping costs high it ensures a steady flow of smart ( but poor) recruits.

kimmarg

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2015, 06:55:42 AM »
However, there are thousands of jobs that DON'T involve getting shot at in a foreign country for a year or more.

17 year old me had no idea this was true. I thought if I joined the army I'd get shot. Loans seemed better.

I've now worked as an Army Civilian and in a field with a very large number of vets and would happily encourage my kids (if I had them) too look into the military.

Pigeon

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2015, 06:55:49 AM »
Joining the military is also a choice that affects your entire family, if you have one, in a way that most other jobs don't. I wouldn't become a military spouse.  It's just not a lifestyle that I would be willing to live.

If it works for you, that's terrific and I appreciate your sacrifice.  There certainly are some good potential benefits, but like all decisions, some things are going to be more attractive to some people than to others. 

It doesn't surprise me at all that more people don't do it to get college benefits.

GuitarStv

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2015, 07:13:04 AM »
Some people don't think a free education is worth becoming a part of a group of people who often do bad things.  Being in the military means subordinating your sense of right and wrong to someone higher up the chain of command.  Join up in the US and you could be in Guantanamo Bay torturing innocent people, in Afghanistan helping to keep pedophiles in positions of power (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/world/asia/us-soldiers-told-to-ignore-afghan-allies-abuse-of-boys.html?_r=0), or bombing innocent people in the hopes that you get a bad guy in northern Pakistan (http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/civilians/pakistani).  Sure, it's possible that you'll never end up being told to commit atrocities.  It's also possible that you will.  Couple that with general disagreement about how military is deployed, and I think you've got a very valid reason to steer clear of it for education.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2015, 07:31:53 AM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

I assume they were army? I'm not sure that PTSD is much of a possibility for the Air Force or Navy. The Navy can still result in long separations, but on a boat rather than getting shot at by people who hate America.

My brother is a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy.  He was on th ground stationed with a Marine battalion in both Iraq and Afganistan.

Gin1984

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2015, 07:36:44 AM »
Most of my friends who did ROTC to pay for college wound up with a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I also have several friends who had their marriages destroyed by PTSD resulting from these tours.  For those reasons, I would NEVER push the military on my kids as a way of paying for college.  If it is a choice they want to make, fine, but I will absolutely not pressure them to consider it.  I realize for many the military is a great experience and I have tremendous respect for people who have chosen to serve and take the risk of making the ultimate sacrifice, but I strongly believe that it needs to be a personal choice.

I assume they were army? I'm not sure that PTSD is much of a possibility for the Air Force or Navy. The Navy can still result in long separations, but on a boat rather than getting shot at by people who hate America.
Not according to the PTSD research done by the VA.

lizzzi

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2015, 07:38:59 AM »
I got my Bachelors for free on the GI Bill, so that was a great deal. But you have to remember that the service is about just that: Service. You're there to do the mission, whatever that may be. It's not about you, it's about the mission. If you end up parking dogsleds in Greenland, well so be it. If you're a mother of three and get deployed solo to Incirlik, Turkey, well so be it. You better hope that Grandma will take care of the kids while you're overseas.

I feel good about being a veteran. As someone said above, people thank me for my service, jump to change my veteran's license plates for me...whatever. Today I'm going to a special veteran's lunch at my grandkids elementary school, and the third-graders are going to sing patriotic songs for us. So that will be nice.

I would not advise anybody to join the military solely for the educational benefits. Yes, you can get a free education--a huge benefit-- but that's not really what it's all about. I think it's a fine thing to have some military background, and I have  lots of respect for fellow veterans, many of whom have made far more sacrifices and been in harm's way much more than most of us. But the military isn't for everybody, and people should think long and hard about what is going to be required of them...before they sign on the dotted line and get sworn in.

Jack

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2015, 08:14:32 AM »
My father was in the Army for the minimum enlistment period during the Vietnam era (he was stationed in a recruiting office, so he didn't face combat). My father-in-law was in the Navy for longer than the minimum enlistment, worked as a civilian for a while, then re-enlisted into the Naval Reserve and served in Iraq (in the more recent war).

Both of them told me, my wife, and the rest of their children never to join the military. I don't think financial considerations had much to do with that advice.

However, there are thousands of jobs that DON'T involve getting shot at in a foreign country for a year or more.

17 year old me had no idea this was true. I thought if I joined the army I'd get shot. Loans seemed better.

Ditto. I also had no desire to live in barracks or not be in control of where I lived, and figured that (as a scrawny nerd) my talents were better suited to a civilian career.

However, if I had to do it all over again, I'd seriously consider joining the (Navy) Civil Engineer Corps or (Air Force) Cyber Command, as an officer (if it's possible to guarantee such a choice).

EricL

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2015, 09:08:18 AM »
There are many great pluses and minuses to having the military pay your way.
Advantages:
- You get slam dunked into the real world - or a version of it anyway. But more real than, say, college. You get to live and work with great people of all backgrounds, races, religions on real jobs.  In some cases you get an up front, personal view of events politicians think they understand and journalists lie about.
- You get paid a pretty decent wage.
- There's an opportunity to travel and see parts of the world and understand it in ways you couldn't from a weeklong vacation.
- For a variety of reasons, warfare is no longer like it was in WWII or Vietnam. People can go their entire careers without seeing combat. Even if they actively seek it out. Throwing some perspective on it, consider that living in some of America's more dangerous cities is more dangerous than a lot of our combat zones.  Do those civilians get PTSD treatment?

Downsides:
- For the enlistment duration the military basically OWNS you. Even with all the bennies that's hard for a lot of people to swallow when considering it and even after joining.  You're subjected to a lot of seemingly arbitrary BS that from a strategic view makes a lot of sense. And a lot of BS that really is aribitrary. And not all your bosses are as good as they should be.
- There is danger. Not just from combat but training accidents and even hazards civilians face.  It's one of the reasons the bennies exist.
- It can be incredibly stressful for long stretches even well outside combat.  The hours can be gong and the working conditions harsh.  A single enlisted person should have what it takes to go the distance their first term without a breakdown. But not all can.
- The military is a huge organization (but by no means monolithic) up to God knows what. Some of it you won't approve of. Indeed if you're lefty lib you'll be spring loaded to not approve of it. And there are plenty of conservatives who've got issues and a wacky subset that believe the Army is going to take over Texas. You have to grit your teeth when it screws up and be accused of it as if you had direct control over the DoD.  Prepare to be rejected by ideological fellow travelers - especially if you add a differing perspective not given by their favored media outlet.

BTW, I encourage liberals to join the military.  One of the worst things to come out of the liberal 60's heritage is PROUD, PROUD ignorance of all things military.  This attitude fails them in the public arena and the halls of power.  Trust me, the experience and knowledge will not transform you into a mini Rumsfeld.

Shane

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2015, 09:49:52 AM »
It seems to me like 4+ years of my child's life would be a little much to pay for just a college education...

Tuition at state schools isn't really that expensive, even in the U.S., and there's lots of scholarships available for smart kids. Whatever the military is willing to pay for a specific skill set, I'm sure my child will be able to earn more in the private sector without having a bunch of assholes screaming at her and telling her what to do. I guess that can happen in a regular job as well, but then she could just tell her boss to fuck off and walk out. I'm pretty sure if you do that in the military the MPs tackle you to the ground and drag you off to jail.

It's kind of hard for me to imagine a scenario in which I would encourage my daughter to voluntarily sign up to join an organization where she would learn how to kill people in other countries just so that American corporations can safely make bigger profits. I guess if you look at it from a purely selfish perspective, the U.S. Military probably helps a lot in keeping share prices for U.S. corporations going up, which increases the value of my stock portfolio, but I'm not that cynical.

Even if your particular job in the military doesn't involve kicking down people's doors, pinning them to the ground and shoving guns into their faces, anyone who is a member of the military is still on that same team. No thanks.


MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2015, 09:58:04 AM »
Not worth it if going into tech or any other "smart person" field

So let's say I went military. My career path would be:

Year 1: Army, make 50k?
Year 2: Army, make 55k?
Year 3: Army, make 60k?
Year 4: Arm, make 65k?
Year 5-8: School mostly, make little
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 90k

Total money made: 400k
Total spent for school: 0k
Total 400k

Vs no military:
Year 1-4: School, make little
Year 5: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 6: Fulltime job, make 90k
Year 7: Fulltime job, make 100k
Year 8: Fulltime job, make 110k
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 120k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 130k

Total money made: 630k
Total spent for school: 40k
Total 590k

So I end up 190k ahead by not being miltary, and I have a career lead and earning more every year than my military twin.

And all of this is assuming I don't die in the military. I would need the difference to be at LEAST 1 million dollars over the 10 years to justify risking dying. Risk of death to lose 190k? No thanks

mm1970

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2015, 10:00:21 AM »
Hi all,

One thing that I've seen over and over again both on these boards and in other places is people talking about paying for their kid's education. Like many fortunate people, I had amazing parents who gave me a huge leg up in life. However, they didn't have the ability to fund their kid's education beyond a little bit of help. I think I received $1100 twice and while my siblings got a bit more they didn't get anywhere near the 200k that their ivy league educations would have cost.

I took the route of military first followed by school. This was a good deal back when I did it (leaving with minimal debt, would have been none if I'd been more careful during those 4 years) and is a fabulous deal now with the new GI Bill. After 4 years of learning useful life skills, discipline, seeing the world, learning about themselves, etc enlisted people leaving the force these days also get 4 years of school + housing/food paid for.

My siblings took the route of school first on the military's dime followed by 4 years of service. In addition to free college (instead of 200k), my siblings also enjoyed or are enjoying challenging and interesting jobs around the world and 70k+ salaries while doing it. If you tack on the amount paid in school to their current salaries, officers in the military easy make 6 figure salaries right out of college: not a bad deal! Many of my brother's best friends are from his time in the Navy and they've forged lifelong bonds and followed each other into careers after the Navy as well.

Thankfully the general civilian attitude towards military is way better than at some periods in our past. I've always had people thanking me for my service, offering reduced/free things on Veteran's day, etc. However, the military is not JUST a noble sacrifice that some take on so that others don't have to. Its also a heck of a great way to pay for school, grow up a bit, and start life off the right way. Hollywood likes to show the dark side with the soldiers dealing with PTSD and messed up lives etc and for an infantryman in the Army that's a legit concern. However, there are thousands of jobs that DON'T involve getting shot at in a foreign country for a year or more.

In a forum that talks constantly about finding every way to save money, credit card rewards, DIY rather than paying someone: why is there so little discussion about education and especially the military as a way to pay for it?

I'm not a recruiter and certainly don't mind if people have specific reasons. I've just read a lot of "currently paying for 2 kids to go through college" in various threads recently and it boggles my mind.
My husband and I met in the Navy.

Both of us were in ROTC.

So yeah.

I will encourage my sons to do the same, even though we can probably afford to pay for them to go anywhere. It was a good experience for me, even if I only drove a desk for 5 years.

Fishindude

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2015, 10:01:10 AM »
I've heard a whole lot more positive responses regarding military service than negative.
Most never see combat and have great stories about friendships made, things learned, places they saw, etc.

This is a great way to pay for college, and isn't too bad of a career consideration.
20 years and out at age 38 with benefits and healthcare for life, plus plenty of time to get into another career.

mm1970

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2015, 10:02:38 AM »
I think the military has a kind of mystique to outsiders. We have a separate culture, a separate vocabulary, a strict rank structure, and the services exist (in a very simplified metric given to the non rank-and-file) to kill people. I think it's just too weird for some people to attempt bridging the culture gap. Or they are too intimidate by the prospect of bootcamp/OCS/plebe year to try. I've also heard that an increasing number of young people can't meet the physical requirements to serve.

In the meantime, I shall amuse you... 


Curtesy of Jeff Bacon, Broadside Cartoons
:P
I can't relate, my ROTC experience is from a mostly-engineering school.

mm1970

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2015, 10:03:55 AM »
I could give you lots of reason I didn't and wouldn't.  Irrelevant to discussion of one's children.  The bigger issue is that if you have the ability to save for your children's education why on earth would you not do so?  Can you really make a choice for a 5 year old that they will be going into the military to pay for school so you can retire sooner?  Not me.
If you ask my friends -
-they would rather vacation
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-they would rather spend the money they earn

mm1970

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2015, 10:08:48 AM »
Not worth it if going into tech or any other "smart person" field

So let's say I went military. My career path would be:

Year 1: Army, make 50k?
Year 2: Army, make 55k?
Year 3: Army, make 60k?
Year 4: Arm, make 65k?
Year 5-8: School mostly, make little
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 90k

Total money made: 400k
Total spent for school: 0k
Total 400k

Vs no military:
Year 1-4: School, make little
Year 5: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 6: Fulltime job, make 90k
Year 7: Fulltime job, make 100k
Year 8: Fulltime job, make 110k
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 120k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 130k

Total money made: 630k
Total spent for school: 40k
Total 590k

So I end up 190k ahead by not being miltary, and I have a career lead and earning more every year than my military twin.

And all of this is assuming I don't die in the military. I would need the difference to be at LEAST 1 million dollars over the 10 years to justify risking dying. Risk of death to lose 190k? No thanks
This really is going to vary.  I went ROTC, so there was no "break" for school.

So year 1: I was making about $20k less than my civilian counterparts
Year 5: I was making the same
Year 6+ then it's all me.  Doesn't really matter, though military often gives you a leg up if you are in certain jobs/ industries.

sol

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2015, 10:24:18 AM »
I went to college for free without seriously considering any military options.  Every branch tried to recruit me, but finances were not an argument in their favor since it was clear college wasn't going to cost me anything anyway.  This is one side of the college-funding debate that no one seems to address here; about 5% of you will be able to send your kids to college for free because they are smart.

But not everyone gets scholarships.  If you're a mediocre student, and don't have rich parents, the military is certainly one way to pay for school.  Assuming you can handle the psychological implications of servitude, which I struggled with.

But on the plus side, the US government has strongly increased veteran's preference for civilian federal hiring.  With so many returning vets looking for work back in the states, and facing a national epidemic of highly trained killers resorting to drug abuse and homelessness, the federal government hires them for almost anything.  I work in a federal facility and have been involved in lots of hiring over the past few years, and we basically never get to even interview candidates who aren't veterans.  HR can't even pass a non-veteran on to the interview committee because the point reward for military service swamps any of the points for qualifications for the jobs.  We routinely get hiring lists of six veterans with zero relevant experience, especially for jobs that don't require advanced degrees.  We still occasionally hire non-vets for PhD positions, but for any other job with the federal government you basically can't get hired anymore without a military record.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 11:34:00 AM by sol »

Sailor Sam

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2015, 10:34:08 AM »
Not worth it if going into tech or any other "smart person" field
This really is going to vary.  I went ROTC, so there was no "break" for school.

So year 1: I was making about $20k less than my civilian counterparts
Year 5: I was making the same
Year 6+ then it's all me.  Doesn't really matter, though military often gives you a leg up if you are in certain jobs/ industries.

Plus the benefits of another MMM beloved, tax optimization. I made O-3 and started grossing 90k about 5 years after taking my commission. Which has since crept up to 98k. On gross, I pay 12.5% effective tax rate, including both Fed and FICA.

Tax breaks aren't an actual reason to sign up, but they sure are fun.

Gin1984

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2015, 10:48:33 AM »
I went to college for free without seriously considering any military options.  Every branch tried to recruit me, but finances were not an argument in their favor since it was clear college wasn't going to cost me anything anyway.  This is one side of the college-funding debate that no one seems to address here; about 5% of you will be able to send your kids to college for free because they are smart.

But not everyone gets scholarships.  If you're a mediocre student, and don't have rich parents, the military is certainly one way to pay for school.  Assuming you can handle the psychological implications of servitude, which I struggled with.

But on the plus side, the US government has strongly increased veteran's preference for civilian federal hiring.  With so many returning vets looking for work back in the state's, and facing a national epidemic of highly trained killers resorting to drug abuse and homelessness, the federal government hires them for almost anything.  I work in a federal facility and have been involved in lots of hiring over the past few years, and we basically never get to even interview candidates who aren't veterans.  HR can't even pass a non-veteran on to the interview committee because the point reward for military service swamps any of the points for qualifications for the jobs.  We routinely get hiring lists of six veterans with zero relevant experience, especially for jobs that don't require advanced degrees.  We still occasionally hire non-vets for PhD positions, but for any other job with the federal government you basically can't get hired anymore without a military record.
Interesting and good to know.  Does this still apply for those transferring from other types of governmental work?

reader2580

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2015, 11:33:33 AM »
Not everyone is even qualified to be in the military these days.  There are a number of medical conditions that will disqualify you from some or all of the services.  You also have to be in fairly good shape and not be terribly overweight.  I keep reading that the military is going to have problems with new recruits because a lot of 17 and 18 year old kids don't qualify for military service.

I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?

Vilgan

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2015, 11:58:18 AM »
Not worth it if going into tech or any other "smart person" field

So let's say I went military. My career path would be:

Year 1: Army, make 50k?
Year 2: Army, make 55k?
Year 3: Army, make 60k?
Year 4: Arm, make 65k?
Year 5-8: School mostly, make little
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 90k

Total money made: 400k
Total spent for school: 0k
Total 400k

Vs no military:
Year 1-4: School, make little
Year 5: Fulltime job, make 80k
Year 6: Fulltime job, make 90k
Year 7: Fulltime job, make 100k
Year 8: Fulltime job, make 110k
Year 9: Fulltime job, make 120k
Year 10: Fulltime job, make 130k

Total money made: 630k
Total spent for school: 40k
Total 590k

So I end up 190k ahead by not being miltary, and I have a career lead and earning more every year than my military twin.

And all of this is assuming I don't die in the military. I would need the difference to be at LEAST 1 million dollars over the 10 years to justify risking dying. Risk of death to lose 190k? No thanks

If your "cost" for college is only 40k, then the military as a means to pay for it doesn't make sense. Many people want to attend schools where that isn't an option. Heck, even state schools are frequently more expensive these days. The thread was aimed more at people who are seriously impacted by trying to pay for their kid's education, if 40k is the baseline they should just take a loan and move on.

A different graph for people looking at Ivy League/more expensive education options and stressing about how much it will cost them:

Military:
Years 1-4: Everything paid for +10k
Year 5: 75k save 35k
Year 6: 82k save 40k
Year 7: 90k save 45k
Year 8: 95k save 50k
Year 9+: Totally depends on the person, many opportunities abound to make 150k+. Both sibs and many friends have or will be able to make at least 150k+ shortly after leaving.

Total NW after 8 years taking military route: 210k assuming NO appreciation, probably more like 250k-300k

Non Military:
Year 1: -50k
Year 2: -50k
Year 3: -50k
Year 4: -50k
Year 5: 75k save 40k
Year 6: 90k save 45k
Year 7: 110k save 55k
Year 8: 120k save 60k
Year 9: Same deal, could be making 250k or 100k here, just diverges way too much.

Total NW after 4 years this route: still negative assuming student loans. 8 years of their life and they are finally starting to think about clawing their way out from underneath student loans. This is assuming they have the mental and financial fortitude to focus on paying off loans rather than inflating their lifestyle. Something common on these boards but kids don't always share the same priorities as their parents.

I'm not saying the military is perfect or for everyone, but it should surely be considered as an option. Both my grandfathers, both parents, all siblings, my wife, and much of my extended family spent 4+ years in the military. Every single one of them felt the military had a profoundly positive impact on their lives. I wouldn't, personally, recommend signing up to be an infantryman in the army though.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 12:00:35 PM by Vilgan »

MishMash

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2015, 11:59:09 AM »
Obesity, 1 in 3 is too fat to even join http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2015/07/15/report-nearly-1-in-3-young-adults-too-fat-for-military/30178023/

In regards to your quote on "there are jobs that don't require you to deploy for years at a time and get shot at" and the only Army gets PTSD.  Man are you off base.  This might have been true in the past but sure as heck not in these wars.  Before DH went into an elite unit he was in a "desk job", he still almost got blown up 4 times, once a mortar hit a gym, on post in Iraq, while he was working out in said gym.  Now that he's doing the current job...yea that's only increased, he's got guys with 3-4 purple hearts.

In regards to PTSD and only Army deploying etc, there are MANY joint operations overseas that use Airforce and Navy guys.  Are they deployed less then Army, yea, but they still get to sit in Afghanistan on occassion.  You are also leaving out the entire SOF/SOCOM/JSOC community, and the Seals, PJ's, MARSOC guys. 

DH would do it again, the HUGE thing it looks like everyone left out in their comparisons of working schedules pay etc is the lifelong cheap healthcare at retirement, and the pension, for life if you can make it 20 years.  Assuming 1.3% pay raises until DH retires, that's just under 60k/year he will be slated to get, inflation adjusted for life. Me, my tour helped pay off the student loans but I don't think I could have been a lifer. 

Jack

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2015, 12:23:26 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?
Bachelor's degree in engineering (or CS, or maybe accounting?) from a state university (10 years ago; it's more than $10k/year now).

mm1970

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2015, 12:48:42 PM »
Good points here.  Spouse was Ivy, I went private school, we def got our money's worth out of the military ROTC scholarships and I also got my master's paid for.  And, my positive experience is partly due to being in the Navy, during non-war time (1992-1997), and driving a desk for 5 years. (Combat ships were not open to women when I joined, and by the time they were, I was well ensconced in my position).

MishMash

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2015, 12:51:39 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?
Bachelor's degree in engineering (or CS, or maybe accounting?) from a state university (10 years ago; it's more than $10k/year now).

I have a masters degree in engineering, I assure you the raises are NOT 10k a year unless you are job hopping like a mad man, more like 3-5% is standard with me, and pretty much all my engineering friends.  They started most of us off at 50-60, through job hopping we are all in the low six figure range 10 years out but no one I know has seen 10% plus yearly raises ever.

Jack

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2015, 01:08:45 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?
Bachelor's degree in engineering (or CS, or maybe accounting?) from a state university (10 years ago; it's more than $10k/year now).

I have a masters degree in engineering, I assure you the raises are NOT 10k a year unless you are job hopping like a mad man, more like 3-5% is standard with me, and pretty much all my engineering friends.  They started most of us off at 50-60, through job hopping we are all in the low six figure range 10 years out but no one I know has seen 10% plus yearly raises ever.

I'm an engineer too (actually, two kinds: a real EIT (civil) and a fake "engineer" (software)), and my salary has doubled in the last four years. Of course, that's because I have in fact been job-hopping like a madman (underpaid civil job -> underpaid software job -> decently-paid software job where my civil degree is also relevant).

On the software side of things especially I can see the salary progression being mostly reasonable, assuming changing jobs a couple of times (which is more accepted in that industry) and working in a HCOL area.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2015, 01:40:04 PM »
I'n English but my brother is currently in Army training (post-university). I would never join the military no matter what the deal for the following reasons:

1. TBH, I do not have the kind of personality that would deal well with military culture. I would have a very hard time following orders I thought were stupid without having the reasoning explained to me. I'm just not very good at trusting that my superiors know best. And the lack of privacy and time alone - argh! I like being an individual more than I like being a member of a group. (Maybe that's why I've ended up on the MMM forum??)

2. What if you die? Seriously. You have to go where you're posted. You might get shot. If you don't die you could still easily lose a leg. That's not a risk I'm willing to take just to pay for education.

3. PTSD. It happens to a lot of people, and no one knows who or when. I've been reading about shell shock recently (First World War anniversary and all that) and the advances that have been made since 1918. People still basically don't know what to do - how to prevent it or how to cure it. Also, I worked in an outpatient psychiatric hospital for a while and we had a LOT of ex-soldiers (Northern Ireland, Falklands, that sort of thing, not just Iraq/Afghanistan) who were just beyond fucked up by what they saw and did. I like my mind. I'd like to keep it. This is the most important reason for me.

4. I am very uncomfortable with a lot of things the military does. I am not a complete pacifist but I would not like to get involved in the military machine and have to do things I didn't agree with. In four years time, who knows? We could be having World War Three with Russia. You have to be prepared to commit to that kind of scenario.

However, my brother seems to be having the time of his life. He enjoys the group cohesion, the routine, the active lifestyle. Even when he's woken up at 5am every morning by some mad sergeant or whatever shouting in his face. He likes it! And I saw a play about Iraq/Afghanistan once where injured veterans performed alongside actors, and at the end of the play they were all asked if they would do it all again if they could go back: they all said yes, they would do it all again. (Even the guy who got a bomb splinter in his skull and lost his personality and short-term memory.) One of them even works as a recruiter now, even though he only has one leg.

MidWestLove

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2015, 01:59:02 PM »
"Why do so few people consider military paying for college?" - because people are not stupid and the price of "free education" could be extraordinary high. I know personally multiple families greatly impacted by being in the military and tours in Iraq (one Army one Marine),permanent damage and injury, sever PTSD, drugs, drinking, and very self destructive behavior. horrible for the rest of his family, life very likely to be over for a young man who is barely in his 20s. Beware of 'gifts' like this and only go into if you believe you need to go in , not for college benefits.

dramaman

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2015, 02:15:15 PM »
I went to college for free without seriously considering any military options.  Every branch tried to recruit me, but finances were not an argument in their favor since it was clear college wasn't going to cost me anything anyway.  This is one side of the college-funding debate that no one seems to address here; about 5% of you will be able to send your kids to college for free because they are smart.

But not everyone gets scholarships.  If you're a mediocre student, and don't have rich parents, the military is certainly one way to pay for school.  Assuming you can handle the psychological implications of servitude, which I struggled with.

But on the plus side, the US government has strongly increased veteran's preference for civilian federal hiring.  With so many returning vets looking for work back in the state's, and facing a national epidemic of highly trained killers resorting to drug abuse and homelessness, the federal government hires them for almost anything.  I work in a federal facility and have been involved in lots of hiring over the past few years, and we basically never get to even interview candidates who aren't veterans.  HR can't even pass a non-veteran on to the interview committee because the point reward for military service swamps any of the points for qualifications for the jobs.  We routinely get hiring lists of six veterans with zero relevant experience, especially for jobs that don't require advanced degrees.  We still occasionally hire non-vets for PhD positions, but for any other job with the federal government you basically can't get hired anymore without a military record.
Interesting and good to know.  Does this still apply for those transferring from other types of governmental work?

Sol is overstating the situation. I'm in federal government and although there are a good many individuals who were in the military, there are just as many of us who are not. Yes all other things being equal, veterans do get a bonus in the scoring of applicants, but the way scoring works, an unqualified veteran should not be hired in favor of a qualified non-veteran. Like in any other job opening, it really comes down to who else is competing for the job. Qualified persons who are not veterans can and do get hired for a federal positions.

Leanthree

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2015, 02:33:08 PM »
I mean this in the most respectful way possible to those that do serve, but I am glad I can afford to pay other people to fight my and my children's wars so that I can live in a peaceful and stable country because the alternative of revolution and foreign millitarys messing around seems horrible. I am happy that the military is seen as this wonderful service and patriotism and is a wonderful experience that teaches leadership and life skills because that keeps the HR costs down.


sol

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2015, 02:52:30 PM »
Sol is overstating the situation.

Perhaps, since I'm only reporting on hiring practices in one facility, in one agency.  Maybe it's different elsewhere.  We also have a base nearby, so we may get more military applicants than other locations.

We also have a bunch of people at my facility who are not veterans.  The problem is that none of them have been hired in the past five years.  Literally EVERY non-PhD permanent hire we have made in the past five years has had to go to a veteran.  Nobody else even makes the hiring lists we have to choose from.

As a purely anecdotal data point, we had a student intern doing some GIS work for us.  She did great work, got along with everyone in the office, and made herself vital to several ongoing projects.  When her two-year student appointment was up, we wanted to hire her as a permanent employee so we wrote a position description for a GIS person with two years of experience doing the things she had been doing for us.  We had over 100 applicants, and were given a list of 10 people to interview, all of whom were veterans and six of whom had no GIS experience at all (but were partially disabled), and none who had the kind of experience we were looking for.  After two years of exemplary work, she wasn't considered qualified for her own job because of veteran's preference in the point scoring system.  So we had to choose between hiring someone who was clearly unqualified for the job, or not hiring someone.  In either case, her two years of service to the agency were worthless.  She has no opportunity to find find federal employment, unless she enlists first.  We lost a valued employee and the projects she was supporting faced setbacks as a result.

It's even worse for less-skilled jobs.  Every general office-work position, like secretary or budget analyst or credit-card or travel processing, we only get veterans.  At least for those jobs we've been able to find veterans on the hiring list who have some relevant experience doing paperwork, since the military is pretty good at training people to do paperwork.

MishMash

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2015, 03:09:55 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?
Bachelor's degree in engineering (or CS, or maybe accounting?) from a state university (10 years ago; it's more than $10k/year now).

I have a masters degree in engineering, I assure you the raises are NOT 10k a year unless you are job hopping like a mad man, more like 3-5% is standard with me, and pretty much all my engineering friends.  They started most of us off at 50-60, through job hopping we are all in the low six figure range 10 years out but no one I know has seen 10% plus yearly raises ever.

I'm an engineer too (actually, two kinds: a real EIT (civil) and a fake "engineer" (software)), and my salary has doubled in the last four years. Of course, that's because I have in fact been job-hopping like a madman (underpaid civil job -> underpaid software job -> decently-paid software job where my civil degree is also relevant).

On the software side of things especially I can see the salary progression being mostly reasonable, assuming changing jobs a couple of times (which is more accepted in that industry) and working in a HCOL area.

I've also doubled mine in about 5 years due to job hopping.  However, once you in a management position, you can't really expect to keep doing 10k plus bumps a year, it's one thing to go from entry level to finally finding a well paying job.  You hit a certain terminus there for a couple of years until you gain executive level experience though.

One thing for everyone else that thinks "thank god I can pay for others to fight my wars" remember that next time you hear someone complain that the military is overpaid or doesn't deserve their pensions because without that...no one would stay, and there would go a chunk of your peace and stability.  DH had a six figure college fund and he still chose to join but I know he probably wouldn't have done more than 4-8 years if it weren't for the pension and medical...me, I was always in it for the minimum to pay off the loans, I'm simply too hard headed for military rules.

On PTSD, it's interesting, a lot of recent studies have shown that certain personality types are more prone to it then others, most of the SOF units have their own on hand psychs that evaluate new recruits, if you don't fit into a certain head type, they will boot you from assessment, there are also in unit pyschs.  DH has deployed more times then I can count, been shot, mortared, had bumps from jumping out of planes etc and he has zero signs of PTSD.  He works with guys that have similar backgrounds and not one of them has signs of PTSD (pretty much everyone has been in a minimum of 5 years with many in the 10-20 range).  Before he joined this unit he was in a standard Army unit.  Of his PTSD cases, one of the 5 had ever actually been deployed.  The other 4 were young soldiers, and so sheltered that training and being away from home was enough for them to claim PTSD. 

The media does a PHENOMENAL job of pointing all the negatives of potential service out, without the opportunity to show any of the positives.

reader2580

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Re: Why do so few people consider military paying for college?
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2015, 04:03:40 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how someone spends $40k on school and has $130k in income in ten years?
Bachelor's degree in engineering (or CS, or maybe accounting?) from a state university (10 years ago; it's more than $10k/year now).

I can see only spending $40k on school, but that will get you a bachelor's degree.  I was more questioning what bachelor's degree would get you a $130k job within 10 years except maybe in a HCOL area?

A guy I know is in the reserves.  His unit got called up for the tail end of the Iraq war.  He ended up being deployed to somewhere near the Washington, DC area.  He was somehow able to room at a ranch near Washington, DC and had it pretty easy.  However, he had previously been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.