Veterans & Service Members
Veterans and service members are eligible for significant tuition assistance.
Over the course of your military career you may have seen your fellow service members utilizing their benefits to attend college. It may be one of the reasons you decided to enter the military. As a veteran of the military you qualify for a college education benefit. You have likely seen your peers and fellow veterans use this benefit, but may not know where to start for your own college journey. Now that you’re ready to think about college, you may have questions: Will I “fit in” to college? Can I fit classes into my life? How do I use the benefits I earned from my service? And the application may feel overwhelming. We’re here to answer these questions and guide you through the process.
The University of Maine System has your back. We understand the challenges veterans and service members may face when returning to college—childcare, transportation, finances, juggling responsibilities and so much more.
By pursuing a degree you may be choosing to finally reach that goal, you may want to be a role model for your children or may want the skills for a higher paying career to support you or your family.
Whatever your reason, you are not alone. There are many adults right now making the same decisions and looking to go back to school for their own reasons. And, there are people at the University of Maine System that are here to help you along the way.
How to get started on your path to earning a college degree:
You have made the decision to go to college. What’s next? Going back to college is a big decision. Identify your support system, both on and off campus. Ask family, friends and co-workers to be your cheerleaders! Get them on your team now—they will be able to provide encouragement, compassion and understanding. It will be easier if you have a team behind you from the start. Don’t forget, there are also support systems on campus—classmates, instructors and advisors, all of whom are ready to be part of your team.
If you know which University of Maine System campus you want to attend: Connect to the services and communities for veterans on our campuses.
All University of Maine System campuses have School Certifying Officials to help you navigate the process of accessing your educational benefits:
- University of Maine (External Site)
- University of Maine at Augusta (External Site)
- University of Maine at Farmington (External Site)
- University of Maine at Fort Kent (External Site)
- University of Maine at Machias (External Site)
- University of Maine at Presque Isle (External Site)
- University of Southern Maine (External Site)
If you’re not sure which University of Maine System school is right for you:The University of Maine System has qualified staff to answer your questions about going to college, help you figure out what’s your next best step, answer questions about financial aid and to help navigate your journey back to college. Contact one of our University of Maine System student success coaches or campus-based navigators to learn more programs, certifications, transferring college credits and so much more!
Do you want to find the best fit between your military training and a civilian career? Are you looking to prepare for a different career? Do you want to try something new? There are many free resources to find careers that are in demand and interesting to you, including:
Military skills translator (External Site): See which civilian jobs correlate to your military occupation specialty/Air Force Specialty Code or military job title. Search for openings based on your military skill set.
My Next Move for Veterans (External Site): This site helps veterans match their military career to a civilian career.
If you’re not sure whether you want to stay in your specialty area, but want to explore other possible degrees and careers, check out our career insights tool.
Take time to search for programs that you might be interested in and see how far along toward your degree you may already be. We offer over 100 convenient programs, degrees and certificates that meet your interests and career goals.
We are very proud of those who have been recognized for their robust veteran community support. All of the University of Maybe System schools have designated support networks for veterans, service members, and their families. Visit our Universities page to learn more about the different types of schools in the University of Maine System, who to contact, available flexible options and if there is a campus near you. More information:
- University of Maine at Augusta is a designated Military Friendly School (External Site).
- University of Maine at Farmington is proud to have earned a national reputation for excellence, being named the #2 Best College for Veterans, Regional Colleges – North – 2020 by U.S. News and World Report (External Site)
- University of Southern Maine houses a Veterans Upward Bound program (External Site). This is a federally funded pre-college program that provides assistance at no-cost to eligible veterans who wish to pursue a college degree. Veterans Upward Bound offers access and support to help veterans successfully transition into and be successful in college.
Get your Military Transcripts together. Veterans of US military service may receive credit for learning gained through documented military training and experience. Veterans of the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy should submit official copies of their Joint Services Transcript (External Site) (formerly SMART and AARTS transcripts). Air Force veterans need to submit an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force (External Site). If you have questions, don’t hesitate to connect with a campus Veteran Advisor.
College costs will depend on which school you select, how many classes you want to take and for how much aid you qualify. We offer many financial aid options available for adults who want to come back to finish a degree, and resources to help you plan and pay for school. Visit this Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more!
Each University of Maine System institution has a net price calculator which will factor the cost in addition to what your specific financial aid plan covers.
Many employers in Maine offer tuition and education benefits for their employees. Check with your employer’s Human Resources office to determine if they offer tuition benefits or flexible options for adults looking to return to college.
Everyone who attends college may be eligible for federal and state grants. Find out what you qualify for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) (External Site).
Fill out the FAFSA every year between October 1 to June 30 in order to reapply for financial aid and scholarships. The earlier you apply, the better financial aid package you are likely to receive.
Veterans and Active Duty Military Benefits: The amount of aid you qualify for is dependent on the nature of your military service. Some service members may qualify for a percentage of their educational expenses to be covered, while others qualify for all expenses to be covered. If you are fully qualified, it means the GI Bill (External Link) will cover all tuition and expenses. Learn more information about education benefits and grants available for veterans and active duty members (External Site).
From the federal government: In Maine, approximately 75% of our students receive some form of financial assistance. Learn more about Pell and other Federal grants (External Site).
Beware of scholarship scams: Use only free scholarship searches. You should never pay for scholarship information.
From the state: Qualifying Maine adults can investigate scholarship and grant options through the Finance Authority of Maine (External Site). You may be eligible for Maine’s Adult Degree Completion Scholarship. Look for more adult-centric scholarships through the Maine Adult Promise Program (External Site).
From The University of Maine System: You may be eligible for a scholarship or tuition waiver from the University of Maine System. Additionally, the financial aid office at your campus will be able to tell you if there are additional University-specific scholarships and grants available to you.
From lenders: Direct Loans are low-interest loans to help pay for the cost of your education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (External Site). However, most of the contact will be with your loan servicer. Subsidized loans have no interest charged while you are in school at least half-time, during the grace period and during deferment periods. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment period.
Don’t forget to apply for Maine’s Adult Degree Completion Scholarship!
Some institutions require an application fee, which can be paid online using a credit card. If you do not have a credit card the site will advise you how to pay the fee. You will need to submit your academic records from your high school, GED, HiSet or college official transcript. A transcript is an official record of a student’s educational progress. The transcript may include information such as a list of classes taken, grades earned, your major area of study, grade point average and which degrees have been earned. Your official transcripts must be sent directly from the institution either electronically or in a sealed envelope to be considered “official.”
Note: Some schools have specific application deadlines; you will need to submit your application prior to the deadline for that semester.