Additional Funding Beyond the Post-9/11 GI Bill
Veteran Education Benefits After the GI Bill
Sometimes the Post-9/11 GI Bill is exactly what you need, and other times that benefit simply isn’t enough, or you need to use a different type of program. But there is confusion about what’s available above and beyond the GI Bill. Which programs can you use as an alternative, or after you have run out of Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits?
We explore both below.
Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB-AD) gives educational benefits to veterans and service members who have served at least 2 years of active duty.
This type of GI Bill can be used for
- College degrees
- Technical or vocational courses
- High-tech training
- Licensing and certification tests
- Entrepreneurship training
- Apprenticeships and on-the-job training
- Certain entrance exams
- Flight training
- Correspondence courses
Under certain circumstances, you can also use this for remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses. These benefits are payable for 10 years after you are released from honorable active duty service.
This benefit can be for up to 36 months based on the type of training you want, the length of your service, your category, any college fund eligibility, and whether you used the $600 Buy-Up Program.
The $600 Buy-Up Program
The $600 Buy-Up Program is where the service member can contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive an increase in monthly benefits. By contributing $600, you can receive $5,400 in additional benefits.
To be eligible, you must have your high school degree or GED. You must have an honorable discharge if you are no longer on active duty. You also must qualify in one of four categories outlined by the VA, informed by when you joined the service, how long you served, and how much you have contributed to the buy-up program.
You can not combine the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You have to pick one, and you may not change your mind later.
Can I Use the Montgomery GI Bill Once My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Are Gone?
No. You must choose either the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you cannot use the Montgomery GI Bill after using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
The MGIB-SR is for eligible members of the Selected Reserve, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard Reserves, and the Army and Air National Guard.
You should be able to use these benefits for everything that you can for the MGIB-AD, as well as co-op training.
- To qualify, you must have had a 6-year commitment in the Selected Reserve after June 30th, 1985. Officers must commit to 6 years in addition to their original commissions.
- For some types of training, there must be a 6-year commitment after September 30th, 1990.
- Must be in good standing in an active Selected Reserve unit.
- If you were discharged from the Selected Reserve because of a disability not caused by misconduct, you can retain your MGIB-SR eligibility.
- The eligibility period may be extended if you are ordered to go on active duty.
- Your eligibility normally ends on the day that you leave Selected Reserve.
Can I Use the Montgomery GI Bill-SR Once My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Are Gone?
No. You must choose either the Montgomery GI Bill-SR or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you cannot use the Montgomery GI Bill-SR after using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. Participating schools help fund tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap for a private school or the resident tuition at a public school.
- Participating colleges or universities may contribute up to 50% of the expenses, and the VA would provide matching funds.
- The schools must agree to certain standards to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- There may be limited availability. Apply for the benefit early; it is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
- You are not guaranteed to receive the benefit every year you are in school.
- Schools will be able to specify the amount you will receive.
- The benefit covers mandatory fees for students but not room and board.
- Use your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program, and you will need to give it to your school.
Can I use the Yellow Ribbon Program Once My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits are Gone?
No. The Yellow Ribbon Program is used in conjunction with the GI Bill, not as an alternative to it.
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
- This benefit provided educational assistance to members of the reserve components.
- The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended this program in 2015.
- You may remain eligible through November 25, 2019, if you were attending school on November 24, 2015, or during the last semester, quarter, or term ending before that date.
Can I Use REAP After I Have Used my Post 9-11 GI Bill
No. The REAP Program is no longer active.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
This program is available for you if you elect to contribute from your military pay to participate in this program. The government will match the amount that you contributed on a 2-for-1 basis.
You can use the money for the same types of schools and programs in the MGIB-AD program.
In addition, applicants must:
- Receive this benefit from 1 to 36 months, depending on how much you contributed
- Use the benefit within 10 years of discharge
- Have entered service from January 1, 1977, to June 30th, 1985, and opened a contribution account before April 1st, 1987
- Have contributed between $25-2,700 to your account.
Can I Use VEAP After My GI Bill Benefits Are Gone?
Those who qualify (you enlisted on or after January 1, 1977, to June 30th, 1985, and opened a contribution account before April 1st, 1987) may be allowed to use VEAP benefits to pay for school regardless of their access to the GI Bill.
National Testing Program
- Students may be reimbursed for all required fees associated with national admission tests and national tests for college credit.
- The SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, AP, CLEP, ACT, DAT, MAT, MCAT, OAT, PCAT, TOEFL, DSST, ECE, PLA, and TECEP are all approved tests.
- Fees for extras such as pre-tests or to receive your scores faster are not covered.
- You must complete a form for the testing reimbursement after you apply for your GI Bill benefits.
Can I Use the National Testing Program After My GI Bill Benefits Are Gone?
No. This program uses the GI Bill to reimburse qualifying students for test fees USING the GI Bill rather than an alternative to it.
National Call-To-Service Program
This is a true alternative to the GI Bill. This program is offered to:
Troops who completed basic training and served on active duty for 15 months without a break in service, entered the Selected Reserve. Without a break in military service, you must have served:
- On active duty, or
- In the Selected Reserve, or
- In the Individual Ready Reserve, or
- In AmeriCorps or other domestic national service programs
In addition, you must have selected one of the following benefits:
- A cash bonus of $5,000, or
- Repayment of a qualifying student loan (no more than $18,000) or
- Educational assistance equal to the monthly MGIB-AD rate for 12 months, or
- Educational assistance equal to 50% of the less-than-3-year monthly MGIB-AD rate for 36 months
You can apply for this benefit by completing an Application for VA Education Benefits Under the National Call to Service, also known as VA Form 22-1990n.
Can I Use This Benefit After Using Up My GI Bill?
This benefit is offered as an alternative to the GI Bill rather than an enhancement of it.
Veteran Employment Through Technology (VET TEC)
VET TEC is a VA program designed to enhance the GI Bill. It’s open to those who want training in high-technology industries. VET TEC is a program that matches vets with training providers. To qualify:
You must be eligible for the GI Bill and have at least one day of GI Bill entitlement remaining and meet the following:
- You aren’t on active duty, or you are within 180 days of leaving active duty, and
- You qualify for the GI Bill, and
- You have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill entitlement, and
- Your program is offered by a VA-approved training provider
Can I Use VET TEC After My GI Bill Benefits Are Gone?
VET TEC benefits do not count against your GI Bill entitlement. You must have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits to be approved for this program.
The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship
The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship is for qualifying veterans (and those who qualify for a Fry Scholarship) using the Post-9/11 GI Bill or a Fry Scholarship. This benefit is meant to enhance the Post 9/11 GI Bill, offering up to 9 months (or $30,000) of benefits for training in qualifying STEM fields.
In general, to qualify, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Must be enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program or qualifying dual-degree program, or
- Must have earned a post-secondary degree or a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program, or;
- Must have earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM degree field and are working toward teaching certification.
Further requirements will apply depending on the circumstances.
Can I use the Rogers STEM Scholarship After my GI Bill Benefits are Gone?
This benefit enhances the Post 9-11 GI Bill, and you may qualify for it if you have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left. It is not meant as a replacement or alternative to the GI Bill.
State Veteran Education Benefits
The states provide other veterans’ education benefits. These programs typically don’t require you to have or use the GI Bill, though some may be designated as the “last payer” for benefits. Some state-level benefit programs only begin once all other avenues of financial aid are exhausted. That’s one reason why so many of these programs require you to fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) when applying for those programs.
Here’s a list by state, including US Territories.
Related: States Offering Free College Tuition for Veterans & Dependents
Scholarships for Veterans
Many may not realize that several agencies are in place to help veterans with their journey to college. Many colleges and universities have a scholarship programs for veterans and active military members; there are also federal and state programs and private scholarships that can help you pay for your education.
Active Duty Education Programs
- Army Education Programs
- Marine Corps Education Programs
- Navy Education Programs
- Air Force Education Programs
- Coast Guard Education Programs
- Tuition Assistance
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Transferring Your GI Bill to Spouse and Dependents
- Biggest Mistake GI Bill Users Make
- GI Bill BAH Rates
- Colleges with the Highest GI Bill BAH Rates
- GI Bill Payment Dates and Rates