Joining the Military with a GED and GED Plus

The Army only allows about 15 percent of their total enlistments each year to have a GED (See Military ASVAB/Education Minimum Levels).

However, the Army has a special enlistment program for people who have neither a high school diploma, nor a GED. It’s called the Army GED Plus Enlistment Program.

The GED Plus Program enables applicants who currently do not possess a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate to be sponsored by the Army to obtain a GED for enlistment purposes. This program is available only in certain areas (mostly inter-city areas where most disadvantaged youths live) and for limited numbers. In order to qualify, you must:

  • Be 18 years old and withdrawn from high school for at least one year
  • Not be able to return to high school to fulfill your high school diploma requirement
  • Must be in good moral standing (ie, requires no moral waivers)
  • Score 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test
  • Score 46 or higher on the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) test
  • Possess a letter of enrollment into a GED program with a start and completion date
  • Not require a Drug and Alcohol waiver

According to most surveys, education is the number one reason given for joining the military. Then why do so many service members put off their education goals until they leave the military?

Many veterans find it more difficult to pursue the education when they get out and end up missing out on their education benefits. The truth is, its rare to find an employer that offers as much education support as the military and it is usually much harder to go to school part time as a civilian.

GED Testing

The Army Continuing Education System will also provide general education development (GED) testing at no cost to the soldier.

The GED tests give adults who didn’t finish high school the opportunity to earn a high school credential. Recognized throughout the United States by employers and educators, the GED diploma has increased education and employment opportunities for millions of adults since 1942. The tests cover five academic areas—writing (which includes an essay), social studies, science, literature and the arts, and mathematics.

The GED Test is available at no cost to military personnel at authorized Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Test Centers overseas. Forty-seven states allow GED testing at no cost at DANTES Test Centers located at the Army Education Centers on all major Army installations.  Questions regarding these programs should be directed to a local Army Education Center.

If the GED tests are not available through the installation/post Army Education Center, the tests are administered in all 50 states at identified GED test centers. The tests are also available in Spanish and French editions, and in Braille, large print and audio cassette formats.

Army High School Completion Program

This off-duty program provides soldiers and adult family members the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.

he Army’s High School Completion Program (HSCP) is an off-duty program that provides soldiers and adult family members the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or equivalency certificate. Tuition Assistance (TA) is authorized for soldiers up to 100 percent of the cost of the courses leading to a high school diploma or the equivalent. The local Army Education Center can provide information on the availability of a resident HSCP on base, in the community, or through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) external degree program.

Tuition Assistance Overview/Eligibility

The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of a Soldier’s professional and personal self-development goals. TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning. The courses must be offered by schools that are registered in GoArmyEd and are accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to degree programs, TA is available to Soldiers to complete a high school diploma and to complete certificate programs. However, TA will not be approved to complete credentials at the same or a lower educational level. TA is not authorized for programs beyond a master’s degree.

All eligible Soldiers will request TA through GoArmyEd.

By law, officers who use TA incur a service obligation. Active Duty officers incur an Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) of two years and Reserve Component officers incur a Reserve Duty Service Obligation (RDSO) of four years. The ADSO/RDSO is calculated from the date of completion of the last course for which TA was used.

Non-Army service members must obtain TA through their branch of Service. This policy has been mutually agreed upon by all Services.

Further details on the provisions of TA are found in AR 621-5.  Follow this link for information about online GED classes if you want to be well prepared.

More information can be found here.