So Tom and I have been getting REALLY excited because he found out (while in Iraq) that he can take college courses to finish his second degree—and the military would reimburse us for 75% of the costs. Excellent, no? That’s what we thought! We had it all planned out—he would extend his time by a year or two—just enough time to get his degree. He would take classes on Camp Lejeune or at the local community college. He’d graduate/have his degree just in time to get out and move home to Michigan (and be able to get a great job).
But. (There’s alway a but, right?)
Now he’s finding out more details. Of course, the people who told him about all this to begin with didn’t mention ONE THING about the caveat. Hoo boy. Oh, the military will pay for the classes…but you have to pay them back: you either stay in (I think it was) one extra year for every so many classes you took…or you have to pay EVERYTHING back. So, if you take any college classes, you’re automatically LOCKED into more time to pay it off. (I can’t recall the exact ratio, but I think it came out to us having to be here like four more years…which was NOT in our grand plan.)
The second problem, although not a military caveat, is that NONE of the classes Tom needs for the degree he wants are offered on Camp Lejeune. There wasn’t enough interest, so the classes have been cancelled. And as luck would have it, there are none at the community college, either. So, where ARE the classes? At MCAS Cherry Point, 1:30 away (oly 60 miles, but no highways). So, that totally sucks. If he wants to take classes, they have to be night classes, which puts him in the car a minimum of THREE HOURS A DAY and most likely puts him on the road late at night after having been up since 5 or 6. I am NOT happy about that. AT ALL. I got him home safe from Iraq—the last thing I need is for him to fall asleep at the wheel coming home from class.
So, for now, our grand plan has been flushed down the toilet. We have no idea what we’re going to do. He really wants to get his second degree (all the better to get a great job when we move home), but it’s going to be VERY hard with all the daily travel. We can’t afford to do it on our own financially (i.e. go back to school in Michigan), but in order for the military to pay for it, we have to stay in longer. His committment is offically up this August, so if he doesn’t extend (or doesn’t sign up for four more years), he’s done—and out!—in August. Worst case scenario, he’s done in August and then what??? Do we move home? Does he find a job as a civilian contractor for about the same money (more salary, but it evens out with the loss of the housing allotment)? EGADS. It seems nothing is ever cut and dried in the military!!