||Education. The majority of the enlisted force have high
school diplomas (96 percent), as indicated in Table 3.7. In FY 1997, 98 percent of female and 96 percent of male enlisted personnel were high school diploma graduates (Tier 1). There were fewer people with
no credentials in the military than in the civilian labor force (1 versus 11 percent), and fewer people with college experience (25 versus 55 percent). This latter comparison is misleading because enlisted
occupations are generally comparable to civilian occupations that do not require college degrees. Most military members with college degrees are officers (98 percent of officers have undergraduate or advanced
degrees). The education levels of the officer corps are discussed in Chapter 4.
The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps had roughly the same proportion of high school
diploma graduate enlisted members in FY 1997, ranging from 93 to 96 percent. Almost all Air Force members held diplomas (99+ percent). The Navy had the largest proportion
without at least a high school diploma (7 percent), while the Air Force had the smallest (two-tenths of one percent). Because of the way in which its forces are deployed, Air
Force members can more readily schedule and attend off-duty education programs. As a result, more than three-fourths of Air Force members have some college
experience--much more than in the other Services (3, 5, and 10 percent, for the Marine Corps, Navy, and Army, respectively). The Services encourage members to continue their education while in the military.
In-service tuition assistance programs pay 75 percent of tuition costs. Members also can use the Montgomery GI Bill to cover the majority of the cost of off-duty college and technical courses.(9) The investment in continuing education is a sound one. Enlisted
personnel who used tuition assistance had higher promotion rates and stayed in the service longer than those who did not.(10)Go to Representation Within Occupations
|Table 3.7. FY 1997 Education of Active Component Enlisted Members, by Service, and
Civilian Labor Force 18-44 Years Old (Percent)
|Tier 1: Regular High School Graduate or Higher
|Tier 2: GED,Alternative Credentials
|Tier 3: No Credentials
|College Experience(Part of Tier 1)1
| * Civilian percentages combine Tiers 1 and 2.
** Less than one-tenth of one percent.
1 Military data represent only enlisted members. Officers, who usually have college degrees, are not included. See Chapter 4 for a discussion of officers.
Also see Appendix Table B-27 (Education by Service and Gender).
Source: Civilian data from Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey File, September 1997.
- Department of Defense, Biennial Report to Congress on the Montgomery GI Bill Education Benefits Program (Washington,
DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Force Management Policy], May 1998). go back
- See Boesel, D. and Johnson, K., The DoD Tuition Assistance Program: Participation and Outcomes (Arlington, VA: Defense Manpower Data Center, May 1988).