Finding ways to pay for college is the last thing on a veteran’s mind prior to, and during the heat of their studies. Most student veterans know the ins-and-outs of what the Post 9/11 GI Bill has to offer and virtually every student veteran, once at a university, puts their blinders on, their head in the books – or computer screens #2020 – and allows their GI Bill benefits to dwindle on auto-pilot. For many, this works well, and they might even have some benefits leftover to use towards graduate courses. For some, like myself, we find ourselves wondering how we can squeeze in nineteen credits a semester in order to finish our degree with our bank accounts unscathed. The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship made its debut in 2019 as an add-on benefit and savior to many student veterans in longer degree plans.
First, what is a STEM degree? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This can cover majors such as Biology, Computer Science, Economics, and even Dental Hygiene. The uniqueness in these degrees and the STEM degree field is in the salary and technical difficulty. Many of these majors require a lot of quantitative ability, and as a result pay higher in the work force. The downside is the amount of credits required for these degrees. A student veteran in a STEM major will ultimately find that they are having to complete higher level math, science, and sometimes writing courses. This means more credits needed for a degree, which means more time needed to complete said degree.
The Rogers STEM Extension provides any student veteran with less than 6 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits remaining to add up to 9 months of coverage or $30,000 worth of housing stipend total. To qualify, the veteran must be in a STEM degree field and have at least 60 credits already completed towards their degree. Any degree that requires more than 120 credits (180 quarter credits) to complete is acceptable. The program provides preference to individuals who are eligible for 100% Post 9/11 benefits and precedence to those whom require the most credits to complete their degree. The program also grants acceptance to individuals who want to obtain a teaching certification if they have already finished a post-secondary STEM degree and have been accepted into a teaching program. Currently, the program does not grant benefits to graduate programs. The program also denies access to Yellow Ribbon benefits.
So, whether you spent a semester making up classes for a GPA boost, or find your benefits running low due to a longer degree program, the STEM extension can provide you approximately two semesters more worth a of classes covered and monthly stipend. With minor setbacks like lack of Yellow Ribbon and graduate school studies, this is far from a one-size-fits-all solution. Proper planning and some financial stability are imperative if one wishes to utilize these benefits. Still, the Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship is a necessary and helpful ticket out of any long and rigorous STEM degree plan and will continue to foster successful veterans across the country.
STEM Extension Information
Yellow Ribbon Information