The fact that paying for higher education remains a massive obstacle for Americans nationwide should be a source of sorrow for us all. The fact that our very own service members struggle to find an affordable pathway toward higher education is particularly shocking. Luckily, over the past few decades, the U.S. government has taken steps to alleviate the financial burden associated with tuition fees in an effort to assist members of the military seeking higher education during and after their active service.

Nobody deserves to be plunged into debt because they sought to complete a graduate or undergraduate program, least of all our veterans and active service members. If you're a member of the military and looking to secure your educational future following your service, you should be aware of some of the more important benefit programs for individuals in your situation.

1. The Post-9/11 GI Bill

First signed into law in June 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill was put into place to aid veterans as well as active service members in paying for higher education or vocational training of any kind. According to the law — depending on how much time you've served since September 10, 2001 — you are eligible for up to 36 months of benefits, which can be used to cover many of the expenses associated with pursuing education. This includes but is not limited to housing, course materials, and basic tuition costs.

While this bill continues to do an extraordinary amount of good for veterans and active service members, it is important to note that benefits may vary depending on the schools. While the Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover full tuition rates at many state schools, private and for-profit universities may only accept partial coverage of these benefits. For veterans or service members seeking to enroll in a private institution but unable to afford the exorbitant costs, there is another important option available.

2. The Yellow Ribbon Program

While the Post-9/11 GI Bill may only provide partial coverage for any school considered private or for-profit, the Yellow Ribbon Program was designed specifically to help ease the cost of these institutions for all service members and veterans. Because no one who has ever served in the U.S. military should feel that they have to limit their educational opportunities, this should be at the top of the list of financial aid programs to consider.

Eligibility, however, will depend on the private institutions you are looking to attend. For the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist in your financial aid, the school you are attending must already be participating in the program. Thus, you should investigate your prospective institutions to make sure you'll be able to accept the provided benefits. Fortunately, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has published the full list of participating schools on their website, which you can find by clicking here.

3. The A-List Education Military Veteran Program

In order to gain access to any higher education institution, you will most likely still need to invest in a little bit of standardized test prep depending on the requirements of the school. Whether you need to prep for your GRE or GMAT in the middle of your latest tour, your partner or spouse is planning to take their first LSAT, or the oldest teen in your household needs help with their SAT or ACT prep, A-List Education is committed to helping you navigate your military obligations while continuing to invest in your academic future.

A brand new venture designed to benefit veterans and active service members, the A-List Education Military Veteran Program is launching by proudly offering 40% off any online testing packages as well as three free hours of test prep instruction to get you started. We hope this exciting new program will help give our military members, active and non-active alike, the opportunities they deserve following their service. None of this should be a struggle after the sacrifices you've made, so if you need help clearing your higher education path, reach out to A-List today for a free consultation.