Initially, recruits without higher education or college degrees will hold the pay grade of E-1 and will be elevated to E-2 usually soon after basic training. Different services have different incentive programs for enlistees, such as higher initial ranks for college credit, being an Eagle Scout and referring friends who go on to enlist as well. Participation in DEP is one way recruits can achieve rank before their departure to basic training.
Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP). RIRP is a New York State program that offers tuition assistance for members of State military forces, such as the Army and Air National Guard and the Naval Militia. New York also offers a Veterans TAP Grant, which is received in addition to the regular TAP Grant.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a comprehensive test that helps determine students’ eligibility and suitability for careers in the military. Students who score in the 31st percentile are eligible for a wide variety of careers (combined with standards such as physical condition and personal conduct). Students and schools are also encouraged to take advantage of a free career exploration program that links personal interests with demonstrated aptitudes from the 9 ASVAB subtests, half of which relate to vocational skills, in addition to math and verbal skills.
Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB. The overall ASVAB score is known as the AFQT score, or Armed Forces Qualification Test score. Exceptions may be made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 31. The vast majority, some 70 percent, of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment achieve a score of 50 or above.
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The ASVAB test can be taken at your school or a MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Stations) or MET (Mobile Examination Test) sites. When the ASVAB is administered at your school, it is usually part of the Student Testing Program or Career Exploration Program. When the ASVAB is given at MEPS or MET sites, it is part of the Enlistment Testing Program. The ASVAB test content is the same no matter where you take it, except that you will not have to take the Assembling Objects test if you take the test at your school (as part of the Student Testing Program). When you take the test in the Student Testing Program you will receive three composite scores (Verbal Skills, Math Skills, and Science and Technical Skills). When you take the ASVAB as part of the Enlistment Testing Program, you will receive an AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score and Service composite scores. These scores are used for assigning your military job.
AFQT scores are grouped into five main categories based on the percentile score ranges. Categories III and IV are divided into subgroups because the services sometimes use this chart for internal tracking purposes, enlistment limits, and enlistment incentives. Based on your scores, the military decides how trainable you may be to perform jobs in the service.
The Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) Program allows enlisted servicemembers and offers to enroll in courses at accredited colleges, universities, junior colleges, high schools, and vocational-technical schools. TA will pay up to 100% of the cost of the course and up to 100% of the cost of obtaining a high school degree, with a limit of $250 per credit hour and an aggregate annual limit of $4,500. MGIB benefits may be used to "top up" TA benefits, paying the difference between tuition and the TA benefits. Military.com provides a good overview of the tuition assistance program.
There have been attempts to produce a military strength index: this is an example taken from a Credit Suisse report in September 2015. The factors under consideration for that military strength indicator and their total weights were: number of active personnel in the army (5%), tanks (10%), attack helicopters (15%), aircraft (20%), aircraft carriers (25%), and submarines (25%). It was practically impossible to make an estimation of the actual training of the armed forces.  These were the results:
SOC is a consortium of more than 1550 colleges and universities that provide educational opportunities for servicemembers and their families. It is co-sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and managed for the DoD by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). Course work can be done on campus, at military installations and armories, and at a distance by computer or correspondence. Associate, bachelor, and graduate-level degree programs are available. Special curriculum areas include SOCAD (Army), SOCNAV (Navy), SOCMAR (Marines), and SOCGuard (Army National Guard). In addition, SOC operates ConAP (Concurrent Admissions Program) to increase college enrollment of Army enlistees (Army and Army Reserves). ConAP allows you to enlist in the Army at the same time as you apply for college. DANTES also operates its own Distance Learning Program. For more information, contact: