Service Academy Benefits

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by mtnman17, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    Ok so we all know that USAFA, WP, and USNA are tuition free. But what else is free and what else do you pay for? Am thinking of books, uniforms, food, housing, etc. basically all the things you have to pay for at a civilian university. What comes from our tax dollars and what comes from the cadets pocket?
     
  2. Packerfan735

    Packerfan735 Member

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    you essentially pay for everything... freshmen at USAFA are given "$950" a month, but only receive $100 on average because we buy everything ourselves. Try not to buy a lot of stuff and save your money and you should be fine money wise..
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And it depends on how you look at it. You can look at it as though you pay for it. Or you can look at it as: The academy pays for everything, and they also give you $100 a month; initially; for personal use. And each semester, they will continue to raise the amount of money they give you for personal uses, until it reaches the maximum of $950 a month. (increasing for inflation as congress deems necessary).

    The reason I prefer to view this as EVERYTHING is free, and the academy/military is paying you a stipend, is because when compared to a private civilian college or university, you truly are spending money out of your pocket. At the academy, you aren't.

    Put it this way. You could be the unfortunate individual who has no parental or family support. You could walk into the academy with $5 to your name. You could have no outside source of income whatsoever, and it will NOT COST YOU $0.01 to go to the academy. In fact, you will receive; on top of your tuition, books, room, board, uniforms, and all other school related fees; approximately $100-$150 a month initially; working your way up to $950 a month. (Before taxes). So, view that anyway you want to. I personally don't see it as "You paying" for anything.

    In traditional colleges, you have the opportunity to work part time, get summer jobs, etc... so that you can have additional money for personal items as well as leisure and transportation. In the academies, the requirements are such that you are not allowed to seek outside employment, summer jobs, nights/weekend, etc... But you still have the need for personal items, leisure, transportation, etc... just like in a civilian school. So the academy/military compensates you for this lack of opportunity. Call it a stipend like I do, or refer to it any way you like. The point is, they give you $950 a month to take care of all your personal requirements. But to make life easier for you, they physically provide you with the initial setup of items needed; also so everyone is provided the same items. In return, they are taking out of the $950 a month what you would have been required to pay. But again, it's a stipend with certain mandatory requirements. I.e. everyone WILL use the laptop they tell you to use and hand you. You can buy another of your choosing out of your leftover money or personal money, but you will take what they tell you to have. Again, I don't see this as you paying for it, because you aren't working and earning the $950 a month that you are receiving. I see it more as a stipend to compensate for not being allowed to work part time for additional money. My son was offered similar scholarships from private sources prior to his accepting the academy. One paid literally for 100% of everything required to go to school. They then gave him $300 per month as a stipend for his personal use. This was because they didn't want him working part time jobs during the school year. They wanted him to concentrate on his classes. He could work summer jobs, but not during the school year. In return, he received $300 a month. mike....
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  4. sprtzm

    sprtzm Member

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    Well since your going to get a W2 and file taxes based on what you get at the Academies.....................I would say you earned it.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    That's because it's taxpayer money, and the government is not allowed to have you perform any task without pay. (Check out the 13th amendment to the constitution of the United States). Thus, all the military activities; from keeping your room cleaned, to marching, to P.E. to everything else, must be accounted for. So you can believe that you earned it if you want. So what, it's just words. The fact of the matter is, you aren't paying for anything out of your own pocket with funds at home, in a bank, given by grandmom, or anything similar. But if it makes you feel better believing that you're working so many hours a month, and they are paying you for that, then most definitely believe it. That's cool. So, if you take out school time, and sleep time, and considering that they have you pretty much every day; that means you're labor is being paid $3.95 hour. I guess you're worth about that much for the work being done. Honestly; read it any way that you want to.

    OH; and FWIW: The money the goverment spends on your housing and food is Not Taxable income. That isn't included in your W-2. Neither is your tuition or any government provided transportation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  6. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    But I am correct in assuming that it takes virtually no money of mine, and if I had the $5 that christcorp was talking about, would be okay because of the stipend?
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    That is correct. HOWEVER: The military is a bit slow at getting things started once you get there. So they recommend that you bring $150 with you for basic items. I'm sure you should be able to bring something like that. But after that, you won't "need" more money. You might "Want" more money, but that's a whole different topic. e.g. skiing, weekends off, etc...

    And for the others, I use the word "Stipend" because most people applying to the academy, and aren't cadets yet, can relate to that better, because of their understanding of civilian colleges/universities and scholarships. But if we want to be technical, you have signed up into the Air Force, you are going to school, and are being "paid" $950 a month (with certain deductions) for your current military service. Which is currently "To Train". It's semantics really. mike....
     
  8. sprtzm

    sprtzm Member

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    If you attend USMA you will also need to send them $2000 before you report in June as a deposit.
     
  9. skmay

    skmay New Member

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    So if you send the $2000 deposit.. do you receive more money per month?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yes; well to be more specific; the money that you are paying them back for many of the things you need; laptop, etc... is paid off sooner. Therefor, you start getting your full amount sooner.
     
  11. Packerfan735

    Packerfan735 Member

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    i like the way christcorp put it... everything is essentially free... and you get paid on top of it.. the only money i needed coming in was to buy basic stuff like hygiene and iron/ironing board ect... $150 is fine and then you're set... granted you can be thrifty and don't blow it all on weekends..
     
  12. Lee2015

    Lee2015 USMA & USNA Mom

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    Christcorp, can you send in more than the required $2,000--say $10,000?
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    From my understanding, you can pay back the part they are spotting you, as soon as you want to. Some individuals who have "private" scholarships for college, and they aren't tied to tuition or dorms (Can't use those at the academy), use the private scholarships to pay back the part that you owe back to the academy/military. Thus, starting to receive their full monthly check each month.

    I wouldn't "send" in more. If you get accepted to west point, I would send in the required amount, bank the other money you wanted to use, then after you get there and out of BCT, then pay the extra you want towards you IOU. Why would I recommend it this way?

    1. When it comes to pay, the military tends to mess things up. It's better if you can do stuff that they aren't use to, in person.
    2. What if you don't make it through BCT and are let out early from the academy? Now, instead of trying to get reimbursed for your $2000, you're trying to get money back that you paid extra on. Doesn't make sense to pay early if there's nothing to pay back, because you didn't make it through BCT.

    On a 2nd note: My son was in a position to pay back his debt early. But I told him not to. The money the military is taking from you is to simply pay back a debt. If you put money towards the debt, that's fine, but dollar for dollar, you won't have MORE money than if you didn't pay it back early and had that extra money in a bank. Matter of fact, the money you WOULD have used to pay back the debt early, you could actually be making interest off of. With my son, because of college fund and other things, instead of paying back the debt early, mom and I simply "give" him and extra few hundred dollars a month into his personal savings account that he does what he wants with.

    All you're doing is taking money from one hand and moving it to another. Nothing wrong with that, but definitely wait until you get through BCT. And for the average cadet, the debt is fully paid back in 2 years anyway. (That's Air Force). For Army, I would assume that there's less debt being you're starting off with $2000 to them. I suggest holding the extra money you were going to pay back with, and use that to offset the lower paycheck. good luck. mike....
     
  14. Lee2015

    Lee2015 USMA & USNA Mom

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    Makes sense! I just wanted to "free" up the college money we already have set aside (529).
     
  15. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    *NOTE: cadets pay for their books on their own. (At least after 1st semester...I think they can still use "magic money" for the first set)
     
  16. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    thats really what i was wondering about, the books. And the laptop also comes out of the stipend? How about uniforms?
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Everything comes out of the $950 a month. Clarification: Everything REQUIRED. You can also use the $950 as raimius said also as magic money. Basically, if you need to buy anything at the cadet store, it goes against your paycheck. And I believe raimius is correct about how long you can use magic money. But that, I am not 100% about. At some time, you're going to need to start using your debit card for your bank account that your $950 a month is going into, to pay for things. In other words, you are going to have to become financially responsible. Sounds easy enough, but some cadets have a difficult time. Also; remember that even though we keep mentioning approximately $950, that's before taxes and mandatory money removal for the laptop and such. Again, I don't know the full ruling on the magic money. Basically, you buy something you need, and it comes out of your NEXT paycheck.

    So; 1st semester; you'll be getting around $100-$150. 2nd semester a little more. 3rd semester even more. My son, just finished his 3rd semester, is totally paid back for his mandatory items. Partially because he didn't have to buy everything when he got to BCT. He already had boots and some other items. Anyway, he gets the full amount each payday; minus taxes; and minus any magic money type of stuff that they will pull directly from your pay for. Don't ask what his net pay is, I never asked him. But I helped teach him to do his taxes this morning, (You gotta learn eventually); and he told me that he pretty much gets his full net pay now.
     
  18. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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  19. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    Be careful about financial management. Books are "paid for" for first semester classes, but it's all up to you the second semester. Save some money (20% or more) with every paycheck because it's easy to rack up $1000 for books second semester.
     
  20. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Hint: look online for textbooks!
    Some C-store books are reasonable, others I can find for half the price on places like amazon.
     

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