Each branch of the service operates its own Service Academy as a four-year institution of higher education. All students receive a full scholarship with a small monthly stipend. Upon graduation, you're commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps or as an ensign in the Navy or Coast Guard. Appointment to a service academy is extremely competitive. For more information, call 1-800-822-8762 (US Military Academy in West Point, New York), 1-800-638-9156 (US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland), 1-800-443-9266 (US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado), 1-800-883-8724 (US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut), and 1-866-546-4778 (United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York).
Under the Student Loan Repayment Program, when you enlist the Army will pay back up to $65,000 in qualified education loans (up to $20,000 for reservists), the Navy up to $65,000 and the Air Force up to $10,000. Each year 15% of the loan balance or $500, whichever is greater, will be repaid by SLRP. There may also be annual and cumulative caps on the amount repaid. Participants must score 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT). SLRP must be requested at the time of enlistment or reenlistment. Qualified education loans include federal education loans such as the Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidation loans, but not private alternative loans. Defaulted loans are not eligible. Payments made under the SLRP are considered taxable income.
The other written test format is the Student ASVAB which is given at high schools, vocational schools, or colleges. This test lasts approximately three hours. The Written Arithmetic Reasoning subtest of the ASVAB consists of 30 multiple choice questions, which must be answered in 36 minutes. Below are a few sample questions which are very similar to the actual questions you'll see on the ASVAB:
The majority of people who complete the exam have little intention of entering the military. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the United States military is actually one of the nation’s largest employers. If you’re undecided about your future after high school graduation, taking the test can give you a better picture of your options in both civilian and military life.
The test is part of the larger ASVAB Career Exploration Program. The Program uses the test to help students identify both their interests as well as their strengths in three skills areas (verbal, math, and science and technical skills). Based on a student's skill levels, information is provided about more than 400 occupations in order to enable students and parents to judge their potential success in areas that interest them the most. Schools that may be facing budget cuts or finding themselves with limited resources devoted to career counseling are encouraged to find out whether using the ASVAB Program would be useful, as the testing and career development services are free of charge.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is used by all of the Services to determine if an applicant is eligible for the military. Four of the ASVAB subtests are combined to form the AFQT. It measures general cognitive ability and is composed of verbal and mathematics subtests. AFQT scores are grouped into categories for reporting purposes. The table below shows the AFQT categories and the percentile score ranges corresponding to the categories. Applicants that score in AFQT category IIIA or higher may qualify for enlistment incentives.
The Student ASVAB is the most flexible of the exams. It is typically provided to high school students to help them assess their skills, job prospects, potential military positions, or college majors. The ASVAB for students is essentially the same as the MET ASVAB exam, only students are not necessarily testing for positions within the military. The students’ school counselors examine their scores and help them decide on what to do after graduating from high school. This test is still an important component of a student’s education because it can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and help set them on the right track for their future career goals.