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There may not be a better feeling as an enlisted troop than leaving the base for the last time, waltzing off into the sunset with your newly minted DD-214 to take on the world. For some, that means using that sweet, sweet G.I. Bill to pay for a college degree that will guide your transition back into the world of civilians; for many, that means choosing from one of several veteran-friendly colleges.

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Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Swanson

Everyone knows that getting a degree is critical to professional success in today’s economy, but there is a misperception among many veterans that all paths leading to a degree are equally viable. Veterans who rush to get into the easiest or the quickest program may find out the hard way that a high student-debt burden and a still-weak economy are a dangerous combination. In fact, attending college can become a financial catastrophe for student veterans if they allow themselves to rack up thousands in debt while earning a degree that is in little demand, or worse, if they become one of the many online college dropouts who still owe their school money for courses they never completed.

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