News: Marines offered chance to expand education
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian Stevens
IWAKUNI, Japan - Tuition assistance offers active duty servicemembers the opportunity to take college classes during their off time.
Marines receive briefs on these opportunities, but many fail to take advantage of them.
“I think school is scary for some people,”said Mary Cory, education services officer with Marine Corps Community Services.“I think it’s intimidating. You've never stepped foot in a college and maybe you struggled in high school.”
Leadership has also taken a notice to just how important it is to get a degree.
"The commandant has named education one of his top five priories, so he is making sure that Marines have funding to pay for college,” said Cory.
Marines are always learning, and this important knowledge gained isn't overlooked by schools.
“Most people don't know that they already have college credits on their Sailor Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), you may already have 10, 15 or even 30 credits,” said Cory.
There are also some surprising statistics that make earning a degree worth the time and effort.
“Someone who doesn't have a degree will make about $1.4 million in their lifetime but someone with a degree will make around $2.2 million, so it almost doubles,” said Chanel
Sharp, personal and professional development director MCCS. Some servicemembers feel like the military is their career and think college is not necessary.
“Even if you stay in the Marine Corps for 30 years, you’re only 48, which is too young for most people to just stop working,” said Cory. “It's worth it, you need to protect yourself for your future. Last year the Navy and Marine Corps cut back on people and many people didn't protect themselves against that. Now, they find themselves unemployed, if they had a degree they would be more likely to have a job.”
College classes are available face to face and online. While online courses may be convenient, they aren't always right for everyone.
“I think that if Marines have it scheduled on their calendar then they go, but sometimes if it's on their off time and they have other options there are too many temptations other than focusing on college,” said Cory.
Marines unsure of whether or not to take college classes should speak with their leaders to ensure they are able to dedicate the proper time and effort to do well in college courses.