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Enlistment Incentives

What is it?
The Army offers three different types of enlistment incentives: enlistment bonuses, Army College Fund (ACF), and loan repayment. These incentives are designed to attract and retain quality applicants for critical and hard-to-fill skills.

What has the Army done?
The Active Component offers enlistment bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 to non-prior service (NPS) applicants enlisting in shortage skills and/or for critical training vacancies. Selected prior service (PS) applicants may be eligible for an enlistment bonus depending on the specialty chosen or critical training seat vacancies. Soldiers must successfully complete basic and advanced individual training, and arrive at their first duty station before they receive the initial enlistment bonus (EB) payment.

The Reserve Components offer an enlistment bonus ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. An enlistment bonus up to $20,000 is offered to NPS applicants enlisting for up to six years in designated units and/or critical skills. A maximum $15,000 bonus is offered to PS applicants who enlist for six years. A $7,500 bonus is paid to PS applicants who enlist for three years.

The Army also offers bonuses ranging up to $8,000 for college credit (HIGRAD) and up to $20,000 on the basis of seasonality. The combination of all bonus programs cannot exceed $40,000 for Active Component Soldiers and $20,000 for the Reserve Components.

The ACF is offered to applicants who enlist in the Active Component for critical skills. The ACF provides a supplement of up to $950 per month to the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) for college and is targeted at those individuals who are both high school graduates and are categorized as Test Score Category I-IIIA. Currently, the combined ACF/MGIB value is approximately $81,000. This program is most effective in meeting the educational goals of applicants - money for college. Elements of the Reserve Components pay a MGIB "kicker" of up to $350 per month for 36 months. The "kicker" amount is added to the basic MGIB Reserve Components benefit.

The Loan Repayment Program (LRP) is an enlistment incentive designed to increase penetration of the college market. It is especially beneficial for that segment that opted out at a point prior to graduation. The Active Component LRP pays up to $65,000 to high school graduates who enlist for critical skills for at least a three year enlistment. The LRP repays one third of the total amount of the loan per year or $1,500, whichever is greater for each year served. Soldiers must maintain the military occupational specialty (MOS) for which the LRP was offered. The Reserve Components LRP pays up to $50,000 and is offered to enlistees in critical skills.

The Army adjusts enlistment bonus amounts quarterly to address critical skill vacancies. The Army has used seasonality bonuses to influence recruits to attend initial entry training during periods of reduced throughput.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
In 2008 the Army introduced the Army Advantage Fund to broaden the array of recruiting incentives to include choices such as a down payment for home purchase or equity for a small business. The Army is also offering more bonuses for continued service in the Reserve Component after a Soldier completes serving in the Active Component.

Why is this important to the Army?
To successfully recruit more than 175,000 new Soldiers per year that are required to sustain the All-Volunteer Force, the Army must continue to attract and retain quality young men and women willing to serve the Nation in America's Army.

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