Welcome back: ‘School year will be full of learning, growth’

Photo courtesy of DODEA Pacific
Photo courtesy of DODEA Pacific

Welcome back: ‘School year will be full of learning, growth’

Military OneSource

Talk to education consultant

If you would like to talk to an expert about educational concerns, Military OneSource offers free and confidential one-on-one sessions with professionals knowledgeable about education resources. Learn more about How to Ease Back-to-School Transitions With a Military OneSource Education Consultant.

COVID-19 continues to create challenges, and Military OneSource is here to help. Consultants are available 24/7 anywhere in the world to help you stay strong while you navigate military life. No matter what kind of questions or concerns you have, you can call us at 800-342-9647, call OCONUS or start a live chat.

Military OneSource

Get help at tutor.com

Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, is a program that provides on-demand, online tutoring and homework help at no cost to eligible service members, civilian personnel, and their dependents. With live, expert tutors available 24/7, military-connected students can receive academic help at their moment of need — anywhere they have an internet connection.

- Around-the-clock help
• Work with a tutor from any internet-connected device, anywhere in the world
• Connect to an expert tutor available on demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week*
• Get online tutoring help three ways: request a tutor’s help right now, schedule a future tutoring session, or upload a document for offline review and get comments back within 24 hours
• Use the free Tutor.com app for IOS and Android mobile devices — take a picture of a homework problem and upload it for the tutor to see

- All coresubjects, all skill levels
Personalized help is available in more than 100 subjects for grades K-12 and college students, including math, writing, reading, ELL, science, English, social sciences, history, accounting, finance, nursing, world languages, computer science, study skills and test prep.  We also provide tutoring with bilingual Spanish-speaking tutors for math, science and social studies.  For details, view a PDF of all tutored subjects.

- Expert tutors you can trust
• Each of our 3,000 tutors is a carefully screened subject matter expert who must complete a rigorous application process and background check
• Tutors include certified teachers, college professors and graduate students from accredited universities, and many are military-affiliated, including military spouses
- Safe, anonymous learning environment
• Every tutoring session is anonymous, and takes place in a secure online classroom; we do not offer in-person tutoring
• No personal information is shared between the tutor and the student

* Except January 1, July 4, U.S. Thanksgiving Day and December 25. On those four annual holidays, Tutor.com tutors are unavailable for 24 hours starting at 2 a.m. the day of the holiday (U.S. Eastern Time).

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Tips for supporting your child’s education

Supporting a child’s education is one of your most important responsibilities. By cultivating a love of learning and knowledge at a young age, you can set up your child for success. Here are some strategies to help you build a foundation of learning for your child.

Nurture learning at home
Learning doesn’t stop when the school day ends. A child absorbs as much or more at home and through his or her experiences as through a textbook.

Try some of these tips to encourage learning at home:

- Keep to a routine. Make homework part of the routine by sticking to the same spot and time of day. Make sure your child has a quiet place to study.
- Monitor homework. Check your child’s homework every night, not just to see whether it’s done, but also for quality. Help your child carve out chunks of time to tackle larger projects.
- Praise your child’s efforts. Children learn best by positive reinforcement. Whenever you have an opportunity, praise your child for a job well done.
- Encourage learning at home. If your child is interested in insects, buy an ant farm. Talk about something in the news or a book he or she just read. Fostering full-time learning is one of the best ways you can equip your children for life after graduation and future success.

Relationship with school
Your relationship with the school will demonstrate to your child and the school’s staff the importance you attach to education. Even if you relocate often or are temporarily deployed, there are ways you can build a relationship with the school and your child’s teachers to help your child perform as well as possible:
- Meet the teacher. Allowing your child’s teacher to put a face with your name is a great way to show your investment in your child’s education.
- Attend events. Being present at back-to-school nights, school board meetings, open houses and school fairs can help both you and your child feel more connected to the school.
- Volunteer. There are dozens of ways to give your time to your child’s school, so it’s just a matter of finding a way to volunteer that suits your schedule.
- Join the parent/teacher group. Attending PTA/PTO meetings can be a great way to stay in the loop about what’s happening at the school and how you can get involved.

Tap into resources
Providing the best possible education for your child is not a one-person job. Be sure to tap into the support and resources of your military community.

- Home-schooling resources are found on your installation, such as school liaison officers; child, youth, and teen programs; and activities through your installation’s Department of Defense Education Activity school.

Give your child the best chance for success. Foster an appreciation for learning — it can help your child meet his or her potential and develop life skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

– Source: militaryonesource.mil

Savings plans, student loans, scholarships for military teens

With the many available scholarships, grants and other options for financial aid, paying for college doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are plenty of resources to help you as you begin planning for your future.

As you think about how to pay for school, be sure to maximize financial aid, grants and scholarships first, then look into educational loans to cover the rest. You can also get a head start on saving with a 529 savings plan.

What’s a 529 Plan?
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan that can make it easier to save money for college. You can check out the Securities and Exchange Commission for more details, but here are the basic facts:

- There are two kinds of plans. 529s are either college savings plans, which can be used for college expenses at any college, or prepaid tuition plans, which lock in future tuition at in-state public colleges at the present price. Talk to a financial professional to find out which is best for you.
- Your parents will call the shots. You’ll be the beneficiary of the plan, but your parents or guardians will be the ones to decide when withdrawals can be made.
- The earnings won’t be taxed. This is one of the biggest perks of a 529 plan — it isn’t taxed as long as any withdrawals are made for college expenses. If the money is used for something other than college, like on a new car, tax penalties could apply. Make sure you read the fine print and know the details of your plan.
- You can get a plan in any state. 529 plans vary by state, but you aren’t stuck with the plan from the state where you currently live. If you like another state’s plan, you can get that one instead.
- Anyone can contribute. Make sure you tell other important adults in your life —grandparents, aunts, uncles and the like — about your 529. Next time they’re wondering what to get you for your birthday or graduation, they can make a contribution.

How can I apply for scholarships, financial aid?
- Fill out a FAFSA. The Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, should be the first step in your financial aid journey. You can either get an application from your guidance counselor or download it online — just don’t wait until the last minute. The earlier you can fill out the application, the sooner you’ll know what type and amount of aid you can expect.
- Consider your qualifications. There are thousands of scholarships out there — it’s just a matter of finding the right ones for you. First, see what local scholarships are available in your area, and from your potential college choices. Second, check for scholarships based on your individual strengths, credentials, talents and accomplishments.
- Military scholarships. Having a parent or guardian who is a service member may qualify you for certain scholarships. Talk to them, or contact your installation education center for more information.

What do I need to know about student loans?
After you’ve exhausted all financial aid or scholarship options and saved as much money as you can, it may be time to look into student loans. Consider these factors before accepting student loans:

- Remember, you have to pay them back. Loans are not “free money” and you can end up paying back much more than you originally take out, depending on the interest rate.
- Pay attention to the terms. Make sure you understand the terms of any loans you accept. In addition to the interest rate, you should also pay attention to the repayment schedule and find out about the “grace period,” or how soon you have to pay it back after graduation.
- Go for federal loans first. You can apply for loans through the government or private institutions, but federal loans tend to have lower interest rates and a more generous grace period.
- Check for military-offered loans. Talk to your parents and research whether you’re eligible for any interest-free loans through the military. You can also read about the various scholarships, grants and loans for military students.

Where should I start?
- Talk to your guidance counselor. Take advantage of your counselor’s wealth of experience and make an appointment to discuss your individual options.
- Sit down with your parents or guardians. If you haven’t already, find time to sit down and talk candidly about your plans and your family’s financial situation. You’ll need to know all of your options before you begin formulating a college savings plan. Getting everything down on paper can help keep everyone on the same page.
- Connect with a no-cost personal financial counselor. A financial counselor can give your family more information on your options. Learn more about how to arrange for no-cost financial counseling through Military OneSource.
- Contact the education consultants at Military OneSource for help with college admissions and financial aid applications.
- Do your research. Lots of schools and organizations put their scholarship opportunities online, so a preliminary internet search is a great way to get your feet wet and see what’s out there.

There are many ways to finance your college education; it’s just a matter of seeking out the options that work best for you. Military OneSource has your back to connect you with the best support for the next step in your education — and before you know it, you’ll be walking across the graduation stage with a diploma in your hand.

– Source: militaryonesource.mil

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