Many individuals who have served in the military see school as a logical next step. Figuring out how to pay for that step can be tough, though, especially if you don't want to take out massive loans. Fortunately, there are a few things you can try if you want to go to school for less.

Network with Military Contacts for Educational Opportunities

The first place to look for financial help is with people who've been in the same place you're standing right now. Reach out to your military contacts to see if there are any educational opportunities in your area that are hard to find or that might be easily overlooked. These people can not only point you towards programs and scholarships, but they may be able to guide you towards specialized local opportunities that can help you to get a degree for a fraction of the normal cost.

Apply for Military-Specific Scholarships

There is truly an amazing number of scholarships out there for veterans. These scholarships range from those offered by schools to those offered by private individuals, and a surprising number of them go unclaimed. You may have to provide identifying information or even an essay for some of these programs, but they're all worth applying for if you're looking to save money. Since so many veterans ignore these scholarships, your odds of getting at least one are better than you might assume.

Apply to Schools with Military Aid Programs

There are also schools that offer educational assistance for military personnel. Many schools work with veterans to provide reduced tuition, while some actually have veteran-specific programs that work with the GI Bill. Taking the time to do a little research can save military applicants thousands of dollars in tuition and other school fees by identifying special programs that reduce the costs for veterans and military personnel.

Work through Current Employer for Higher Education Assistance

It's also a good idea to look and see if your current employer offers any kind of educational benefits. Many large companies offer some sort of scholarship, and some companies even offer tuition matching programs. While smaller companies are unlikely to pick up the whole tab for your education, there's always a possibility that they'll have some kind of program that can help reduce the total amount of money that you will have to borrow.
You don't have to go into a massive amount of debt to get an education when you've already served. Look into special programs and don't forget to network. With a little research, you'll discover that school can actually end up being quite affordable.

Author's Bio: 

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.