How to Use the Military GI Bill for Online Courses

How to Use the Military GI Bill for Online Courses

4 minute read

Guest Post by Jason Fox, StraighterLine Student

I was a community college dropout. I joined the military in 2009 almost exclusively for the GI Bill so I could attend school again. My grades kept me from getting more Pell Grants, but I was not willing to give up. I got hurt in an accident, was retired from the military, and spent the next few years adapting to my disabilities. I finally made the decision in 2015 to finish what I started. Online education was the only option that made sense for me. I needed the flexibility. I have large family and I needed to be there for my family while I achieved my education goals.

Taking College Algebra Online

Fast forward to 2017, I had nearly completed my degree. The only course I had left was College Algebra. I did not feel confident, and the self-paced learning of StraighterLine provided me with the perfect environment to hone my skills, complete the required course, and accomplish my goal of transferring credit without interfering with my hard-earned GPA. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Liberty University with a B.S. in Religion. Fast forward three more years, and StraighterLine did it again. When my family contracted COVID-19, I nearly died. I spent 35 days in the shadows considering my life and what I wanted to do next if I lived. I made the decision I wanted to leave retirement to work in healthcare. I began surveying local nursing programs available to me and two of them accepted StraighterLine classes for the prerequisites. I did not take any science courses when I earned my undergraduate degree, so I knew I had a tall hill to climb.

Completing Nursing Prerequisites at StraighterLine

With StraighterLine I was able to complete Anatomy & Physiology I and II with Labs, Microbiology with Lab, General Chemistry, and Statistics in less than 5 months. I worked at my own pace, read the books cover to cover on my iPad and computer, and was able to move through the courses at a breakneck pace that traditional college could never afford me; especially during the COVID crisis. In between completing the didactic portion and the labs my wife and I welcomed a new baby to the family, and I still was able to complete everything on time to be admitted to the Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing cohort at my local university.

Going Back to School as a Dad

As a father of 6 and a disabled veteran on a fixed income, I really appreciate that StraighterLine saved me money. I would have spent thousands of dollars or used up my valuable GI Bill if I had not had the ability to take those 21 credits worth of courses with them. Now I can use my GI Bill and the associated housing allowance to cover the entire graduate program I am enrolled in so living expenses will not be an issue.

Accelerating a Nursing Degree With Online Courses

I strongly recommend that anyone with dedication and determination consider taking their courses through StraighterLine and looking for programs that will allow them to use StraighterLine credits for admission. It is doesn’t make any sense to me to spend 1-2 years at community college paying thousands of dollars for credits you can achieve at a much lower price and start your program much earlier. I will be able to start working nearly a full year early because of StraighterLine, and that adds up to a lot more money in salary beyond the 21 credits worth of tuition. Getting to your goal of RN, or NP, or engineer, or whatever your career dreams are ahead of the traditional schedule could be a six-figure difference in your bank account. It was for mine.  

About the Author: Jason Fox is a veteran, father of six, and currently enrolled in a Master of Science of Nursing at Alverno College and pursuing his Nurse Practitioner (NP) degree. He completed 8 courses through StraighterLine.

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