The National Guard's roots date back to 1636, when colonial militias made up of ordinary citizens would put down their plows and pick up weapons to protect families and towns from hostile attacks. Today, Citizen-Soldiers® hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training PART TIME, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
The National Guard serves both state and federal governments. While the Guard originally focused on protecting local communities, it eventually grew into a force that complements the Active Duty Army when help is needed anywhere in the world. The biggest difference compared to other branches is that while Guard units are combat-trained, they serve PART TIME in their local communities.
As a Guard Soldier, your primary area of operation is your home state. Any governor or the president himself can call on the Guard at a moment’s notice. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency helping to defend American freedom and ideals. This is what makes the National Guard a unique and essential element of the U.S. military.
To meet minimum National Guard requirements, you must:
Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
Have a high school diploma (or be near graduation) or have a GED certificate
Meet medical and moral requirements
Education is an important key to recognizing your potential. The Guard offers lots of programs to help both you and your dependents. Take advantage of scholarships, funding programs and academic counseling.
Montgomery GI Bill provides a monthly allowance of up to $356 for books and supplies.
State Educational Assistance Program can cover up to 100% of your college tuition.
Federal Tuition Assistance can cover up to 100% of your college tuition and general fees, up to $4,500 per year, or $18,000 over four years.
Student Loan Repayment (SLRP) may pay up to $50,000 to cover your student loans. Available for certain MOSs with a six- or eight-year enlistment commitment
Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) can repay your medical school loans up to $240,000 if you join the Army Medical Department (AMEDD).
Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover up to 100 percent of your tuition, depending on how long you serve. You can actually pass this benefit on to your children if you’ve already been through school, or if you don’t intend to use it for yourself. You must be a Soldier who has served at least 90 days of Active Duty service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
Army National Guard Kicker provides up to $350 per month in living expenses.
State Education Programs provide additional benefits on top of federal and GI Bill benefits. These vary by state.
Specialized Training Assistance Program provides a monthly stipend of $2,122 if you are in medical training for one of the specialties most needed by the Guard.
Army National Guard soldiers can also take part in the ROTC program. The National Guard has two major scholarships to assist ROTC cadets who wish to attend college and enlist in the National Guard: the Dedicated Army National Guard (DEDNG) scholarship and Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) contract.
GRFD and DEDNG scholarships are for full-time students. These scholarships pay full tuition and mandatory fees, or can pay room and board up to $10,000 per year. Cadets also earn a monthly stipend.
DEDNG scholarships cover full tuition. You’ll also receive up to $1,200 for books, along with a monthly allowance of $350 during sophomore year, $450 during junior year and $500 during senior year. You can apply as a grad student if you have only two years remaining until graduation. Beyond your monthly allowance, you will also receive the drill pay of a sergeant, approximately $225 per month, when you participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP).
The GRFD scholarship is similar to the DEDNG scholarship, but is mainly for students entering their junior year of college with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. You must also join the SMP of a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit on your campus. GRFD recipients receive full tuition plus $1,200 each year for books. You earn an ROTC allowance for 10 months of the year: $450 per month during your junior year and $500 per month during your senior year. As a member of the Guard, you also receive drill pay. To receive one of these scholarships, you must be involved in the SMP with a National Guard unit while in school, and have a letter of acceptance from a local Guard unit stating that they will accept you in an SMP status. You must be a current cadet to apply.
Contact your ROTC Department Cadre for details.