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Making the Most of Your Military Education Benefits

At Gulf Coast State College, we want to help you sort through the mire of your military education benefits so you get the education you deserve. Whether you are active military and need help processing your tuition assistance (TA benefits), a new veteran coming back to school on the GI bill, or a military spouse or dependent, Military and Veteran Services is here to help.  Reminder - please ensure you contact your Education Service Officer (ESO) prior to submitting funding request.

Gulf Coast State College is recognized as a top quality, military friendly school

Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida, is recognized by military and veteran organizations as a great place to redeem your education benefits.

  • Member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC)
  • Best for Vets, 2020 Military Friendly® School
  • Partner school for My Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
  • General Education Mobile (GEM) program school, providing online courses for the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)
  • Approved provider of general education classes for the Community College of the Air Force on the Tyndall Air Force Base
  • Gulf Coast State College does not participate in nor condone high-pressure recruiting tactics such as making multiple unsolicited contacts (3 or more), including contacts by phone, email, or in-person, and engaging in same-day recruitment and registration for the purpose of securing enrollments. 

Gulf Coast commits its own resources to help you succeed

  • Gulf Coast State College allows early registration each term for active duty, veterans and civil service personnel so you get into the classes you need in time to submit your paperwork.
  • The College operates Military and Veteran Services offices on both the Panama City, Florida campus  and on the Tyndall Air Force Base.
  • Gulf Coasts’ Military Resource Centers on the Panama City and Tyndall campuses provide you with a space to study, access to computers and networking opportunities with other military and veteran students.
  • Because the Department of Defense prohibits inclusion of fees for tuition assistance, the GCSC Military and Veterans Services works with the Gulf Coast State College Foundation to help find funding that can help offset the cost of your education.  Contingent on fund availability, our staff automatically applies fee offset for you.  In addition to this support, there are a number of scholarships you can apply for through the Gulf Coast State College Foundation in addition to federal and state military scholarships.  Check out our Military Scholarship page for additional information/opportunities.
  • Gulf Coast continues to strive for ways to maximizing transfer of Military Credit toward a degree options.

Career Coach

Gulf Coast State College makes it easy to use your GI Bill benefits

Credit for previous academic courses, military training and job experience

Gulf Coast State College follows the American Council on Education recommendations and is a Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) member. As a military or veteran student, you may transfer course credits from other accredited colleges to use toward your degree from Gulf Coast. Learn more about SOC agreements and requirements.

You are also allowed to take CLEP and DANTES (DSST) exams to earn college-level equivalency credits for your experience. You can skip courses such as speech or algebra if you test well in those subject areas. Register now for testing.

No Penalties if Deployed

You will not be penalized for withdrawing from a course because you were deployed. Just show your orders or a letter from your commander when you withdraw.

Degree Completion if Transferred

As a SOC member, Gulf Coast allows you to complete your degree by transferring courses back to the college in the event of a move. You must complete 15 credit hours at Gulf Coast State College to qualify for an SOC agreement. Learn more about SOC agreements and requirements.

Out of State Waiver for VA Students and Active Duty

Florida waives out-of-state tuition fees for all honorably discharged veterans through the “Congressman C.W. Bill Young Tuition Waiver Program.” This means that if you are a veteran from another state and are accepted into a Florida state college or university, you will qualify for in-state tuition rates, as long as you reside in the state of Florida while pursuing your degree.

Pursuant to Florida Statutes Rule 6A-14.0305, out-of-state fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed and Reserve Forces (Air Force, Army Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) and the National Guard (Army or Air) or any other student who entitled to and used educational assistance provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs who physically resides in Florida while enrolled as a degree or certificate seeking student.

Honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces, the United States Reserve Forces, or the National Guard who physically resides in the state of Florida while enrolled in the institution must provide:

  • Member 4 Copy of DD214 Certificate of Release
  • Proof of residence Florida during term of attendance. This may include, but is not limited to, copy of Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card or copy of current lease.
  • Additional documentation may be required

Students who are entitled to and use educational assistance provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs who physically resides in Florida while enrolled as a degree or certificate seeking student must provide:

  • Copy of VA Certificate of Eligibility
  • Proof of residence in Florida during term of attendance. This may include, but is not limited to, copy of Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card or copy of current lease.
  • Additional documentation may be require

Active Duty Military Waivers grants in-state residency for tuition purposes to active duty military members, including their spouses and dependents, who are residing in Florida or attending a public postsecondary institution within 50 miles of a military establishment at the time of acceptance to the institution. Students must provide:

  • Proof of active duty status

Purple Heart Recipient Waivers

The Purple Heart Waiver, established in s. 1009.26 (8), F.S., provides tuition waivers for Florida military veterans who have received a purple heart OR combat decoration that is “superior in precedence.”

  • The waiver covers the tuition toward a degree or certificate program up to 110% of the required hours for the program of study. The waiver does not cover other costs, such as textbooks, housing, and food. However, additional financial aid opportunities may be available; contact the college’s office of financial aid for other financial aid opportunities.
  • To be eligible, the veteran or active military member:
    • Must be a current Florida resident for tuition purposes.
    • May be a full-time or part-time student.
    • Must be enrolled in a certificate or degree program. Non-degree seeking does not qualify for the waiver.
    • Must submit documents showing receipt of the Purple Heart.  

Choose Any Program at Gulf Coast State College

You may be able to use your military credit towards a degree or college credit certificate program at Gulf Coast; check out Gulf Coast’s 150+ areas of study. Continuing education courses and audited courses may not qualify. Contact Military and Veteran Services with specific questions.

GCSC’s Military & Veteran Service Center (MVSC)

The MVSC is located in Student Union East and is the main point of contact if you are receiving educational assistance from Veterans Affairs (VA). It is professionally staffed to assist you with VA educational benefit inquiries. If you are receiving benefits from the VA, you must visit this office during registration or whenever a change occurs in your class schedule.

The MVSC provides services to veterans, active duty military, reservists and eligible dependents enrolled at the College. Some of these services include:

  • Providing information and guidance for veteran students and dependents about entitlements, filing claims to the VA, and certifying enrollments at the College.
  • Advising veterans concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs requirements for maintaining satisfactory course pursuit.
  • Reviewing selected courses for consistency with VA regulations and direct relation to the requirements specified for a diploma, certificate or degree.

Providing assistance in resolving problems that may arise in the student’s relations with the college and the VA.

First, apply to Gulf Coast State College. Your next step depends on your military status:

Active duty military

Start early! You’ll need to meet with one of our Military and Veteran Services offices to choose a degree plan, which you must submit to your education center before you can request tuition assistance. We will recommend courses and help you choose a degree plan that will best use your military education benefits.

You must also complete your tuition assistance training (working with your ESO) and apply for tuition assistance at least two weeks prior to the start of classes or risk being dropped from your classes. Select Active Duty Military to learn more about your process and deadlines for your specific branch of service.

new veteran

The Checklist for New VA students will help you start using your GI Bill education benefits. You must complete an application with Veterans Affairs (visit the VA.GOV website for additional information) to establish your GI benefits before registering for classes. Veteran students must complete deferment paperwork at Gulf Coast State College each term that you enroll. Stop by a Military and Veteran Services office before registration fees are due to fill out and sign your deferment paperwork. Deadlines for registration fees are available on the Gulf Coast State College academic calendar.

Military Spouse

As an active duty military spouse, you are eligible for a grant from MyCAA for $2,000 per year (up to $4,000).  Apply to Gulf Coast State College and meet with an academic advisor to set up a program plan or training goal.  Additionally, as a military spouse, you may qualify for Veterans Benefits if a portion of benefits was transferred.  Follow New Veteran steps for benefits.

Questions? CONTACT US!

Panama City Campus
Monday-Friday  |  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Student Union East, Military/Veteran Service Center, Rooms 50-51
850-769-1551, ext. 3210
Fax: 850-873-3523
 
Tyndall AFB Education Center
Education Center, Room 45A
Monday-Friday  |  9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
850-913-2910
Tyndall direct lines/DSN: 283-2322 or 2321 
Fax: 850-913-3305

By email

 
Dave Jantzen, Coordinator of Veteran Services
djantzen@gulfcoast.edu
 
Gretta Preston, Coordinator of Military Services
tpreston@gulfcoast.edu or  tafb@gulfcoast.edu

Photo by Airman 1st Class Cody Miller, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs; The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement
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