The Army is willing to repay college loans in order to recruit the right types of Soldiers for the infantry.
The U.S. Army has announced a new recruiting initiative that would see them repaying up to $65,000 in student loans or awarding $15,000 bonuses to new Soldiers signing up to serve in the infantry.
The Army missed its recruiting goals in 2018 by a sizable number–6,500 troops–and ever since then, they’ve been looking for new ways to entice young Americans to serve in physically challenging occupational specialities like infantry.
“There’s a very unique bond between infantry soldiers not found in any other (career) in the Army,” said Staff. Sgt. Leonard Markley, an Army recruiter in Toledo, Ohio, whose primary career field is infantry.
“It’s us against the world, and we as infantrymen all know about the hardships that come with this (career): Walking countless miles, sleep deprivation and rationed meals. Even when I see another infantryman walking by, I have respect for him and have his back, because we are brothers through all our hardships.”
But the benefits don’t end when Soldiers swear in; they’re also eligible for up to $4,000 per year in tuition assistance to enable them to continue pursuing their education while in service. That benefit is available to all soldiers, regardless of occupational specialty, but with the addition of college loan repayment benefits, the Army may be offering young Americans an offer they wouldn’t want to pass up.
College education has become increasingly expensive in recent years, prompting many to enlist in order to pay for school. However, with the exception of a few programs, there’s usually not much a recruiter can do about student loan debt that were incurred prior to service. This new loan repayment program can help young people get out of debt while continuing to develop a strong resume for a future career.
“The Infantry has instilled a work ethic in me that is noticeably different than my peers,” Markley said. “This work ethic and discipline will set me apart wherever I go after the military. It is the premiere career for leadership and management development skills. I can go anywhere and be a successful manager in any civilian field.”
There are other benefits beyond college too, including 46 different certification and credential programs available to Soldiers through the Army Credentialing Opportunities On-Line Program.
Of course, in order to be eligible for the program, new Soldiers will need to meet the qualification requirements for service, and must be capable of withstanding the rigorous training associated with serving in the U.S. Army infantry.
The Army points out that they’re looking for a particular kind of recruit–one that possesses “tremendous discipline and high moral character,” as well as the willingness to face danger and the ability to keep calm under stressful conditions. Serving in the infantry isn’t for everybody, but for those with the grit, the intellect, and the willingness to serve, this new Army program could be just the deal you’ve been looking for.